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Miguel A Torres, stalwart of the Spanish wine industry and an iconic figure on the international wine stage, whom I’m honoured to call an old friend, was in town for a brief visit after many years.

Sumit Sehgal of Prestige Wines & Spirits organised a very successful Masterclass of Mas La Plana wines led by Mr Torres himself, followed by a walk-around tasting of a range of other Torres white and red wines at Le Cirque at the Leela Palace hotel in Delhi.

The wine Mr Torres presented to members of the wine and hospitality trade, and journalists was Mas La Plana. An outstanding wine, that beat top international wines and Bordeaux greats (Ch Latour came 2nd) in a blind tasting organised by the French magazine, Gault-Millau at the 1979 Paris Wine Olympiad.

Known as the Legend in Black, Mas La Plana is Torres’s most famous wine. Over the years this single vineyard (just 29 hectares) wine has received 100 awards.

The best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are carefully selected and vinified to produce this prestigious label, sought after by connoisseurs around the world. We are fortunate that Prestige Wines gets it on allocation for India.

The vintages we tasted were 2006, 2010 & 2012. My favourite? Mas La Plana 2010, the vintage which was also its 40th year.

Built to last, with soft tannins and subtle flavours true to terroir, it’s good for another 10 to 12 years or more, if properly stored. Best drunk with food (serve at 17 to 18 degrees C) but it’s also great as an aperitif.

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Burgundy, both in quality and demand, is on a roll, writes Steven Spurrier. However, due to the severely reduced overall production in 2016, many of the top wines are now priced out of the hands of all but the wealthy and committed collectors, even if they can get an allocation. To quote Laura Seal Decanter magazine’s Market Watch in March 2017, “Experts believe the ‘relentless’ rise of Burgundy shows no signs of abating, but lower yields in 2016 could make it even harder for investors to acquire the most renowned names.”

The key word here is ‘investor’, limited in the past to the top wines of Bordeaux, a select number of ‘collectable’ Grands Crus from Burgundy and the northern Rhône, but such has Burgundy’s quality been since the turn of the century that the wines have now become a must in every wine lover’s cellar. The bad news is the rise in price across all but the lesser appellations; the good news is the quality, whose ‘trickle down’ effect has made these lesser appellations very interesting indeed.

Over the second week in January, the London merchants give extended tastings to the trade during the day and often to their private customers in the evening. The usual soft approach from merchants, that a good vintage will always sell itself, was in most cases replaced by an element of urgency, typified by the, “Get your skates on!” heading to the Justerini and Brooks offer by their Burgundy buyer Giles Burke-Gaffney, stating that in “a year of unprecedented low yields and great quality, this is a vintage well worth snapping up quickly.”

It was the night of April 26 and 27, 2017 that changed the Côte d’Or from looking forward to a generous crop to scenes of complete devastation. Decanter’s Burgundy consultant, William Kelly writes: “Burgundy is no
stranger to frost, but the night of April 26 and the following morning (when the rising sun’s rays were magnified through the frozen buds and burned them) were unique, striking not just the low-lying regional and
village appellations, but many celebrated brands and premiers crus upslope. reflected Emmanuel Rouget, “my uncle Henri Jayer said that even Richebourg froze in the winter of 1947, but never Echezeaux.”

Le Moulin a Vent , Located at the southernmost tip of Burgundy.

The villages hardest hit – from north to south – were Marsannay, Flagey-Echezeaux, Vougeot, Chambolle-Musigny, Nuits-St- Georges, Pernand-Vergelesses, Savigny-les- Beaune, Beaune, Meursault and Chassagne-
Montrachet. Santenay and Morey-St-Denis were almost entirely spared, while Puligny- Montrachet, Volnay, Pommard, Aloxe-Corton,Gevrey-Chambertin and Fixin were damaged in places and untouched in others. Based in Meursault with 22 hectares across 30 different appellations, Domaine Genot-Boulanger’s Puligny-Montrachet Les Nosroyes cropped a high 55 hl/ha, while their Meursault Meix Chavaux produced just eight.

Jason Haynes, founder and Burgundy buyer for Flint Wines, who presented the Genot-Boulanger wines, told me that all his domaines agreed that 2016 was the most challenging vintage ever, an emotional roller-coaster that drained both them and their teams. Opening his tasting, he stated that “the vintages of 2014-15-16 look set
to be heralded as the most exciting threesome since Charlie’s Angels. In the middle stands the most hyped vintage to date, 2015, whose red wines are lush, seductive and generally fantastic at all levels. Preceding that we have 2014, which is very much for the purists, being a vintage that is high class and will make for some great debates in the future over its relative merits alongside 2015. Finally, we have 2016, whose wines though greatly diminished in volume, are incredibly thrilling: to show such natural concentration yet such energy and drive at the same time is very, very rare indeed.”

Perhaps the last word can go to Giles Burke-Gaffney, buying director of Justerini & Brooks, “After the frosts, incessant rain followed until June, causing a further loss of crop through mildew … but then a glorious summer began to kick in, with dry and sunny weather lasting through to the end of a late harvest in early October,
punctuated only by some insignificant mid-September rain. The skins of the Pinot Noir were thick and needed gentle handling; thankfully growers are more inclined to ‘infuse’ rather than to extract these days, resulting in some truly captivating wines of classical Burgundian character.”

Winemaker Guillaume Guiton in the cellar at Domaine Jean Guition.

While the reports from the London merchants are positive and the red wines I tasted are almost all of purity, precision, depth and distinction, 2016 will be my smallest purchase “en primeur” by a long chalk. When I returned to a full-time base in the UK at the end of the 1980s, with the advantage of a cool cellar below our house in Dorset just waiting to be filled up, I began to buy Burgundies after their release. First, the superb 1990s, then a few of the underrated 1993s, more of the perhaps overrated 1996s, then the stunning 1999s, getting into my stride in volume terms with the 2002s and 2005s, the last vintage when I could afford Grands Crus.

At this point, my theory that Burgundy had a great vintage every three years was blasted by 2008, of which I do not have a single bottle, but I geared up again with the broad, summery 2009s, the firmer 2010s, the
charming 2011s, going to town on the beautifully balanced 2012s, only two reds from 2013 and no whites. But back in with both the following year, my cellar stocks caused me to slow down on the 2015s. In 2016 I have ordered just four wines, all from Jason Haynes at Flint – Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies and Volnay Les Petits Poisots from the very reasonably priced Domaine Jean Guiton, Mercurey 1er Cru Clos du Roy Domaine Chartron in the Côte-Chalonnais and Château du Moulin-a-Vent’s Le Champ de Cour in the Beaujolais. No whites, however good they were to taste, as they are quite rich and open, suitable more for the restaurant than for the cellar.

Vincent Charton, third generation Winemaker at Domaine Charton

So what advice could be given to the Indian market, where Burgundy prices are multiplied by import duties and other taxes? First, a simple statement that quality from Burgundy, from Chablis to the Maconnais, from the north of the Côte de Nuits to the south of the Beaujolais, red, white, rosé, has never been better. Whether it is the
‘rising tide that lifts all boats’ or the ‘trickle down effect’ of quality from the top, the Burgundian region is essentially still family-owned by people who are proud of and committed to producing the best wines they can.
Financially, they are obliged to follow the market, but they do not create it, as does La Place de Bordeaux. Most domaines have a private as well as a national and international clientele, whose regular purchases kept them
going through the rough years, and they don’t wish to lose such people completely. Almost every domaine will produce wines for their own tables, while they are opening their Grand Crus for privileged clients, and these will be made with the same care and attention as the others. There is a pyramid of quality in the Côte d’Or which goes from Grand Cru at the peak, to Premier Cru, to Village, down to simple generic Bourgogne, the price halving as it descends. Then, of course, there are the negociants, who own vineyards but rely on purchasing grapes at harvest time or bulk wine soon after, to fill out their portfolios. Such merchants prefer regular clients to investors. With just the Chardonnay for whites and Pinot Noir for reds, not forgetting Gamay for the Beaujolais, there are Burgundies for every palate and every pocket.

For whites, my personal attention has long focused on Chablis, the Premiers Crus being the best value for quality and perfect at four to eight years old. The 2016s were good, if a little rich and pricey, so I will wait for the full
harvest of the 2017s. On the other hand, the Maconnais whites – Macon-Villages, St-Veran and the high quality but not over-priced Pouilly- Fuisses, were excellent, probably the best value Chardonnays in the world. From the Côte- Chalonnais, Montagny is always reliable and Rully even better. From the Côte de Beaune, Auxey-Duresses and St-Romain are replacing the Meursaults in Pulignys in my cellar.

For reds, the great game change has been in the Beaujolais. Heavy investment from Burgundy merchants and growers has upped the quality here, while the established domaines have gained more confidence. Forget Beaujolais itself, except when in the region, but go for the Crus – Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Morgon, Julienas, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly. Such wines will repay keeping for five years or more. Further north, the Côte-Chalonnaise is a good hunting ground, especially for Mercurey, its largest appellation. Once into the Côte d’Or, bargains can be found in the slightly earthy Santenay, the elegant Savignyles- Beaune and Beaune itself, which offers the best value Premier Crus. North of Beaune, Ladoix and Aloxe-Corton are still under-valued and to
the very north, so are Marsannay and Fixin.

It used to be said that buying Burgundy resembled the board game, ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. There is little truth in this today, for the whole region, frost, hail and mildew notwithstanding, is offering the consumer better wines than ever before.

This article appeared first in the print edition of Sommelier India

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Kapil Sekhri, co-founder of Fratelli wines, with Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Boisset Collection at the release of J’Noon in New Delhi

Known for its broad portfolio of California and French wineries, the Boisset Collection has enjoyed steady progress at the high-end of the wine market lately, according to Shanken News Daily. Last year, the group grew its US volume by 4% to 875,000 cases, led by California-based DeLoach Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards, and Buena Vista Winery. This year, the Boisset Collection is unleashing a new product blitz, including a host of new wine and spirits offerings, notes the news release.

“Where we’re seeing the most success is in the $30 to $50 and above range, as well as with sparkling wines that are $20 and up,” Boisset Collection vintner and proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset told Shanken News Daily (SND). “We’re really looking to make wine for the next generation, which means we’re focusing on more elegant, lower-alcohol styles. We’re also very bullish on California and on organic wines.”

Boisset Collection’s Buena Vista, headquartered in Sonoma, recently debuted a new rosé sparkler ($60 a 750-ml.) and a reformulated and repackaged version of its popular red blend The Count ($20). Raymond Vineyards – a certified organic estate with vineyards across Rutherford, St. Helena, and Jameson Canyon – has similarly expanded its stable adding to its Velvet Label range in March with a Merlot ($30), which joins Raymond’s original Velvet Label Cabernet Sauvignon ($40). The winery is also building on its LVE Wines venture, adding a limited edition rosé from Provence ($25) in June. Created in collaboration with singer-songwriter John Legend, the LVE brand also features a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the red blend ($45-$80)

Under its JCB label, the Boisset Collection recently released French Kiss ($22), a red sparkler made with 100% Gamay from Beaujolais, while extending the availability of its Passion by JCB red blend to the on-premise. Around 1,000 cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon-based Napa Valley blend are launching in the restaurant channel, positioned at around $96 a bottle and $26 a glass.

Boisset Collections unveiled J’Noon a partnership with Kapil Sekhri co-founder of Fratelli Wines.

Earlier this spring, the company also unveiled J’Noon, a partnership with Kapil Sekhri, co-founder of Indian winery Fratelli Wines. The range, launching stateside this summer, will feature three limited edition wines from India: JCB No. 47 Brut Akluj ($50), a 100% Chardonnay sparkler, White Akluj ($40), and Red Akluj ($60).

Meanwhile, the Boisset Collection made its foray into the spirits segment this spring. The JCB Spirits range comprises three upscale vodkas—Classic, Caviar-infused, and Truffle-infused ($125-$150) – and a gin ($125) made with juniper, roses, and coriander. The spirits, which are all distilled from a wine base of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced from the Côte d’Or in Burgundy, are currently rolling out across 16 US markets. “We’ve approached these spirits like we would an estate wine – it’s very small production, around 5,000 bottles of each label,” said Boisset, adding that each offering is designed to be enjoyed neat, but can also be paired with food.

In addition to wine and spirits, the Boisset Collection has successfully spun off its brand into several other categories, releasing a coffee range called First Growth and laying plans to launch a perfume line in June. Boisset also recently released a new book, Passion for Wine: The French Ideal and the American Dream.

— Christina Jelski

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Benchmark Wines from a Private European Cellar

This spring, Sotheby’s will present The Masterpiece Collection, a remarkable wine collection created by a
collector sensitive to the delights of both wine and art. The intrinsic quality of the wines is married, in many
cases, to the rarity element, with many treasures at varying stages of maturity, but all of them broachable now.
Bordeaux classics from four decades form the core and benchmark 1982s feature strongly. Large formats are a
standout throughout, especially for collectors who prize magnums. A final flourish comes courtesy of a glimpse
of top White Burgundy and Red Rhône, plus a cache of Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs.
Comprising 194 lots with a combined pre-sale estimate in the region of £1.3 million, this exceptional collection
will be offered at Sotheby’s London on 16 May in a dedicated morning auction, to be followed by a various owner
sale in the afternoon.

Serena Sutcliffe M.W., Sotheby’s Honorary Chairman of Wine, said: “These truly ‘bankable’ wines that made
the formidable reputation of Bordeaux provide some of the greatest tastes we can ever experience. It is taxing,
to say the least, to pick out glittering favourites amongst ‘The Battle of the First Growths’ and their equivalents
on the Right Bank. The serious side of this great collection was in its acquisition and care, as provenance and
storage are a given. Now is the moment for these landmark wines to be enjoyed to the full.”

Sotheby’s Wine auctions in 2017 brought a worldwide total of $64 million. Sotheby’s overall total of $88.27
million for global wine auctions in 2010 is the highest in the company’s forty-seven years of wine auctions.

The Lafite Ex Cellars sale held by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong in October 2010 set a new record for a single standard sized bottle at auction when a bottle of Château Lafite 1869 sold for $232,692. This means that Sotheby’s now holds the world records for a standard bottle, a bottle in any format – the Jeroboam of Château Mouton Rothschild 1945 which fetched $310,700 in February 2007 in New York – and any wine lot at auction – the Romanée-Conti Superlot (114 bottles) which sold for HK$12,556,250 (US$1,609,776) at Sotheby’s Hong Kong in October 2014.

Sotheby’s holds the record for a wine collection sold at auction. Wines from the Cellar of William I. Koch (New
York, 19-21 May 2016) brought a total of $21.9 million, with 100% lots sold.

Sotheby’s set a world record for any wine sales series when a two-day series of auctions in Hong Kong on 30-31
March 2018 brought a combined total of HK$228.3 million (US$29.1 million). Comprising 1,758 lots, The
Philanthropist’s Cellar, The Cellar from the Estate of Jerry Perenchio, and Finest & Rarest Wines were 100%
sold.

Between 2009 and October 2011 Sotheby’s Hong Kong maintained 16 consecutive 100%-sold wine auctions in
Asia – the only major auction house with this record.

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Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, high altitude hunter, gentleman farmer and owner of Col d’ Orcia in Montalchino

Michèle Shah meets Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, gentleman farmer and high-altitude hunter, who also happens to make great wine. Col d’Orcia literally means the hill overlooking the Orcia River, which marks the southwest border of the Brunello di Montalcino territory, linking the name of the farm intrinsically to the physical location where the vineyards are planted. The Val d’Orcia is a unique territory that was declared part of the Patrimony of Humanity in the year 2004. Purchased by the Marone Cinzano family in 1973, it is one of Montalcino’s historic estates situated in Sant’Angelo in Colle.

Count Francesco Marone Cinzano took over the running of the estate in 1991, converting it in 2010 to become  Tuscany’s largest organic winery with a total of 142 hectares of vineyards, of which 102 hectares are exclusively planted to Brunello di Montalcino producing 250,000 bottles of Brunello and the same number of Rosso di Montalcino, the “younger brother” to Brunello. Col d’Orcia is also considered one of Montalcino’s largest wineries. Its 520 hectares of land offers great bio-diversity, allowing for animal husbandry and the farming of ancient grains, olive groves, honey, truffles, as well as tobacco, a commodity that until 1952 was valued more highly than Brunello vines.

“This is how I interpret the meaning of ‘luxury’ today,” says Count Francesco. “Being able to live the life of a land-owner in a clean environment, devoting attention to the produce of one’s land, knowing how the animals are bred and how the agriculture and viticulture are carried out.”

Old vintages of Brunello di Montalcino collected over the years and carefully preserved in the cellar

The Cinzano family originated from Piemonte. Count Francesco’s passion for wine comes from his family heritage and family name, Cinzano, which since the 15th century was involved in producing liqueurs, moving into Vermouth in the 18th century. They were first to put Asti Spumante – a sweet sparkling wine made from Muscat grapes from Piemonte – on the national and global map in the 19th century. Cinzano became a global enterprise thanks to the large following of Italian emigrants who settled worldwide.

Before becoming a “gentleman” farmer Count Francesco was responsible for the commercial part of the Cinzano business, which was sold in the early 90s to the giants Diageo, the proceeds going into the purchase of two Montalcino estates, Argiano, which went to Francesco’s sister, and Col d’Orcia. However, Count Francesco’s passion for wine did not stop with Montalcino. He was one of the first investors – together with the Torres and Rothschild families – to open up new horizons in Chile, where he purchased land in the region of Maule and created the Erasmo estate, which today produces some 100,000 bottles of premium Chilean wines, and where he spends part of his time.

The Col d’ Orcia Estate in Montalcino, Tuscany’s largest organic winery

When not busy farming or travelling between two continents, Count Francesco enjoys sailing in summer and skiing in winter. However, his passion for hunting is well known and has been passed down from his grandfather who obtained the shooting rights on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. “My father maintained the tradition and so have I. The mountain, which belongs to the state, is the most beautiful mountain shoot in Europe and I am the only one allowed to shoot there,” says Count Francesco who has invited some of the greatest guns, including the brother of the erstwhile Shah of Iran, the King of Spain and the author of Hunting magazine to shoot there. “Mountain goats are considered the most difficult prey for hunters,” says  Count Francesco, adding with a wicked grin, “The more they boast, the more they miss.”

His future plans include turning the entire farm produce from organic to biodynamic and become even more sustainable by using solar energy. He has plans to open the estate, which by tradition has always welcomed visitors, more to tourism by creating a five-room suite for visitors to stay overnight and a catering facility for dinners and parties.

Col d’Orcia exports to over 70 countries, and in 2008 was one of the first to export Brunello di Montalcino to India. The wines stand out both for their classic elegance and their ability to age well. Count Francesco loves India and has travelled extensively in the country – in Chennai and Hyderabad – not only to open new markets but also for pleasure. He endorses the He endorses the India tourism tagline, “Incredible India”, and sees India as a growing market with a healthy curiosity about wine.

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The village of Mercurey is situated in Côte Chalonnaise, one of Burgundy’s four wine growing regions

In a new, path-breaking development, Burgundy looks beyond the shores of France to form a collaboration with an Indian winery. Unlike Bordeaux which is located near the sea, landlocked Burgundy has traditionally seen very little distribution of its wines beyond the shores of France, which were mainly appreciated and consumed by a smaller, but finer, niche group.

Protheau, a local family of winemakers in Mercurey, a town in Côte Chalonnaise, the smallest of Burgundy’s four wine regions, has been making wine for 300 years, producing exquisite reds and whites. Since 1720, the domain has remained in the same family, never changing hands, with the wines distributed mainly through domestic channels – until now. With Burgundy looking outwards, this is about to change!

In March 2018, the Côte Chalonnaise domain, with its19th-century winemaker’s mansion, Château d’Etroyes and 49 hectares of vineyards, was acquired by a group of French investors who also happen to be the biggest shareholders of Grover Zampa Vineyards (GZV). The key figure behind both GZV and “Château d’Etroyes” – the name of a new French company created to run the former Protheau domain in Mercurey – is India-born and France-raised, Ravi Viswanathan.

Winery of the former Protheau domain in Burgundy, acquired by a group of French businessmen who are also the largest investors in the Grover Zampa Vineyards in India

Speaking about the acquisition, Viswanathan told Sommelier India, “We are looking to bring together the best of both worlds: Burgundy’s millennia-old traditions of winemaking and India’s much less restricted approach to the process, which is typical of the New World in general.”

GZV owns wineries and vineyards in the Nandi Hills in Karnataka and in the Nashik Valley in Maharashtra and is the largest wine exporter from India to over 30 countries. The company is also the most awarded wine producer in India and has won 111 international medals since 2013.

An exchange programme is in the pipeline between Grover Zampa Vineyards and Château d’Etroyes. The aim of this cooperation is to create a special cuvée, tentatively named La Reserve de Bourgogne, to introduce Indian consumers to the elegance and sophistication of burgundies, while Château d’Etroyes, in turn, will supply its wines to Indian restaurants in the 30 countries where GZV already has a presence.

Read more about this exciting new venture in the July edition of Sommelier India – The Wine Magazine

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All Things Nice hosted the 6th edition of ‘Celebrating India’s Finest’, an evening recognizing winners of the “Indian Wine Consumer Choice Awards’ held in January 2018, presented by HT 48 hours, Hafele and Living Foodz in association with Lucaris Crystal Glassware and Cathay Pacific Airlines. It was hosted at the Hafele Design Centre SOBO on Friday, the 13th of April 2018.

Award-winning wines by All Things Nice

Wineries showcased their winning wines along with their entire portfolio and there was a free flow of all styles of wine produced in India, from full-bodied reds to fruity whites and dessert wines.

Nikhil Agarwal, All Things NIce and Juergen Wolf, Hafele India Private Ltd 

Sommelier & CEO Nikhil Agarwal, All Things Nice said, “The 6th edition of Celebrating India’s Finest was a tremendous success. The setting was perfect; we had over 200 guests, all of whom were wine enthusiasts making the energy at the event fantastic. I am glad that we were able to give attention to the winners as well as Indian wine on the whole as well as raise some money for Atma”.

Delectable hors d’oeuvres carefully curated by Eat Drink Design completed the indulgent experience. Guests also enjoyed a fine selection of Pascati Chocolates with the wine. Part of the revenue generated through ticket sales was donated to ATMA, the charity partner for the evening.

Cathay Pacific offered a complimentary ticket for a lucky draw as part of its initiative to raise money for ATMA. All in all, it was truly a night to celebrate the history and quality of Indian wine.

The event was attended and reported by Suneeta Sodhi Kanga 

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High winds threaten progress against Sonoma County wildfires

Following the devasting fires that raged through northern California wine country, the wineries are up and running, and open to visitors, writes Bob Ecker

On the night of Sunday, October 8th, 2017, Northern California Wine Country was hit with a dangerous “perfect storm” of atmospheric conditions combining warm temperatures, extremely low humidity, bone-dry fields and forests, and very strong winds. Beginning at 9:52 pm, 17 wildfires swept throughout the vineyards of Napa,
Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino Counties. These fires were big and fast moving and among the worst in California’s history. The result was a tragic toll on some communities, notably in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County. Some people lost their lives, many were evacuated and some people are still displaced. Approximately 1,200 of California’s 4,600 wineries are situated in Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma counties.

Location of Northern California wildfires.

Yet it could have been much worse. Firefighters mobilized quickly and crews from around California and beyond poured into battle the Atlas, Nuns, Tubbs and Redwood Valley fires among others. As heavy smoke shrouded much of Wine Country, teams of first responders made headway against the blazes, and  almost all of these fires were extinguished. Volunteers helped out and nearby unaffected communities rallied to assist.

Happily, the smoke has long since blown away as Wine Country gets back to business. Most wineries, restaurants, hotels and related business are back open and undamaged. Another fortunate development was that when the fires hit, about 90% of the grapes in Wine Country had already been harvested. It turned out that the healthy vineyards proved to be a very effective firebreak – the Napa Valley floor carpeted with expensive vineyards was left unharmed.

Dr Anita Oberholster, cooperative extension specialist in Enology, University of California, Davis, said, “Although any loss is heartbreaking – we currently have confirmed reports of only 15 wineries that were totally destroyed or severely damaged by the fires – this is a very small percentage and we urge potential visitors to continue their planned visits and support the grape and wine industry in Northern California.”

This extract is taken from an article that appears in Issue 2, April-Jun 2018

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Former global CMO, Simon Marton

Treasury Wine Estates has promoted two of its key marketing leaders following the departure of global CMO, Simon Marton, after more than 20 years, states a company press release.

TWE, the ASX-listed wine producing giant, produces brands such as Penfolds, Yellowglen, Wolf Blass and Seppelt. It was formed after a demerger with Foster’s Group in 2011 splitting wine from the beer portfolio.

Marton started with the group well before its demerger from Foster’s Group, originally joining the marketing function of one of the acquired businesses, Mildara Blass, in its spirit division before switching to wine in 1999. He then rose to category marketing director’s positions before becoming the global CMO in 2013.

Marton has been consistently listed in the CMO50 list as one of Australia’s most innovative and effective marketers. He told CMO helping to transform TWE to become the number one wine company in the world with powerful global brands at the forefront was a major professional milestone. During his tenure as CMO, market capitalisation has grown from about $2.5 billion in 2014 to over $12bn in 2018.

Marton has also played a key role in leading Penfolds to become one of the world’s most famous wine and luxury brands, and in introducing the best-in-class brand, product and digital innovation driving substantial revenue growth for the business. “We’ve built a world-class marketing organisation with FMCG disciplines consistent across multiple geographies,” he said. And next steps? “After more than 20 years with TWE, I’m taking the time to explore new opportunities in Australia where I can transfer my skills and experience.”

Marton has been replaced in the global marketing leadership position by current Americas’ marketing chief, Michelle Terry, an Australian who has been operating out of the US for the past eight months and who has held a range of regional and global brand roles at TWE since joining in 2008. Her resume also includes stints with Ernst & Young and Ascension Strategic Consultants in the UK and Accenture in Australia. 

Michelle Terry appointed CMO of Treasury Wine Estates

Terry’s relocation is part of a wider business push to build TWE’s market reach in the US. CEO Michael Clarke has announced a series of changes to the route to market in the US. These include introducing direct and hybrid sales and distribution models and announcing fresh distribution partnerships as part of its most recent half-yearly financial report.

In addition, TWE has promoted Angus Lilley to deputy CMO, with a remit across A/NZ, South-East Asia, Middle East and Europe. He joined TWE in 2013 and previously held local and global brand and marketing positions across the Penfold’s brand. Lilley remains based in Australia.

Treasury Wine Estate Brands

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Anna Abbona, the fifth generation
owner of the iconic Italian wine
house Marchesi di Barolo, pictured
during her recent visit to India.

Barolo wine is named after the Marchesa di Barolo, a French noblewoman who married an Italian nobleman and was responsible for producing the first fine wines from Barolo in the 1850s. She left no heirs but her legacy has been carried forward by the Abbona Family, five generation owners of Marchesi di Barolo, who continue the Marchesa’s pioneering work with wines that are modern and yet steeped in tradition.

The two eponymous wines from the Barolo and Barbaresco zones in Piedmont produce very distinctive wines typically characterised by aromatic tar, rose, liquorice and truffle notes. Often described as an “intellectual” wine with a reputation for ageing well, a traditional Barolo is massive, with a rich, classic structure and powerful tannins while a Barbaresco is more elegant and approachable.

The wines Anna Abbona presented during her India visit, however, were in the modern style – softer, fruitier and easy to enjoy young, without sacrificing depth and complexity or age-worthiness.

Imported by Brindco, Marchesi di Barolo fine wines are available in retail at La Cave, Select City Walk, Saket,
New Delhi. T4654 4210.

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