The Delamain Cognac Prize – WSET Awards & Graduation 2020
Tuesday 21st January saw wine and spirit professionals from around the globe gather at the City of London’s historic Guildhall to celebrate the annual Wine & Spirit Education Trust Awards & Graduation Ceremony. It was another record breaking year with the number of Diploma candidates graduating from the class of 2020 at 665 from over 18 countries.
Kaitlin Wilkes received the Delamain Cognac Prize for WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits seen below with Justin Liddle (Mentzendorff Sales Director) along with Honorary President, Steven Spurrier.
This prize is awarded to a student from the UK wine & spirit trade who achieved outstanding results and Kaitlin will visit Delamain in Jarnac sometime in the coming year to study the art of Cognac.
Giro di Toscana Wins The Vintners’ Benevolent Award
Friday 10 January saw members of the trade gather at Vintners’ Hall, the ‘spiritual home’ of the wine trade in the City of London, for the Worshipful Company of Vintner’s Wine Trade Lunch in aid of The Benevolent. The event saw guests enjoy a superb three course lunch accompanied by wines from the Vintners’ cellars, while helping to raise valuable funds for The Benevolent to offer support to anyone who works or has worked in the UK drinks industry and their families as well as networking with fellow members of the trade.
The event also saw the presentation of The Vintners’ Benevolent Award for Fundraising event of the year, which went to Mentzendorff’s Managing Director Andrew Hawes, pictured above with Ross Carter, CEO of The Benevolent and Michael Saunders, Chairman of the Wine & Spirits Trade Association.
Andrew, together with a group of colleagues, members of the trade and representatives from the supporting Italian wineries Tenuta Fertuna & Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, completed the Giro di Toscana, a 350km bike ride raising £35,000 for The Benevolent.
The Giro di Toscana was the tenth challenge of its type organised by Andrew Hawes and it exceeded its fundraising target of £20,000, by quite some margin, to make a new record total of £35,000. The riders had to battle the hills and the gravel roads – called Strade Bianche – of Tuscany in the extreme temperatures experienced in June 2019 with daily highs surpassing 40 degrees Celsius!
Domaine Chanson and Bourgogne Week 2020
Domaine Chanson is taking centre stage this month as we arrive at Bourgogne Week which runs from 7th to 16th January. For Domaine Chanson the 2018 En Primeur campaign kicked-off at the end of November 2019 in The Library Room of The Travellers Club with a tasting hosted by Chanson Managing Director, Vincent Avenel.
The 2018 wines show great concentration & power – the reds are deeply coloured and dense with complex aromas of fully ripe blackberries. On the palate they have a voluptuous and velvety texture with great tannic structure. The white wines are well-balanced with notes of exotic and white-flesh fruit. They have fantastic tension and freshness, thanks to the moderate use of new oak at Chanson.
Vincent concluded that “the 2018 vintage has produced concentrated, rich and opulent wines, with great aromatics and texture on the palate, reminiscent of the 2009 vintage.”
Co-op & Taylor’s Port Reforestation Project
Taylor’s Port has made a commitment to help reverse the loss of native woodland by embarking on a reforestation programme in the Cima Corgo area of the Douro Valley. Co-op is the first UK retailer to pledge to go further in its commitment to the Porto Protocol to make a real change in the region. Nearly four football pitches worth of trees are expected to be funded through sales of Taylor’s Select Reserve port, providing a welcome boost of the Douro Valley and Northern Portugal which has been severely impacted by forest fires in recent years.
At the end of November 2019 the work began on clearing the land. A small number of trees had survived the fire that had swept across this area and every effort was made to save them. Work then started clearing the thick undergrowth with the help of tractors. The wood from the trees that could not be saved was turned into either logs for burning, wood chips or sawdust, ensuring that nothing was wasted. The new woodland will be made up of two native oak species, Quercus pyrinaica (Pyrenean oak) and Quercus faginea (Portuguese oak).
Taylor’s Managing Director, Adrian Bridge, stated, “We are delighted to have Coop’s support for this important project. By allowing us to plant more trees, Coop’s investment will significantly increase the positive impact of the reforestation. As custodians of the unique environment and landscape of the Douro Valley, we understand the importance of extending our environmental initiatives beyond the vineyard itself. Our sustainable vineyard model recognises the importance of interspersing areas of vine with natural vegetation and woodland to protect natural diversity and resilience.”