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LIWF - day one - a quiet one

Published:  17 May, 2011

The first day of the LIWF seemed quieter than previous years.

The first day of the LIWF seemed quieter than previous years.


This year, the usual five-deep hoards weren't clambering from the platform on to the DLR toward Custom House with standing room only and faces squashed up against every window. At one point I even questioned whether I'd got the right connection as the journey was so peaceful. Of course that could be because London Transport had put on an extra services - but I think not because once inside Excel, this year, it was much quieter too.


My first stop was Hess Family Terroir Wines for a chat with general manager, Joe Roberts and the first taste of the fair, the newly released and refreshingly lively, Amalaya Torrontes, Argentina 2010 (rrp £8.99) and a few of its South African, Glen Carlou range with winemaker Arco Laarman. Business is well up on last year and with its new winery Bodega Amalya under its belt Roberts says it is seeing good growth.


It was the first time at the LIWF for Wines from Bulgaria, with all its wines new to the UK and there are some pretty good ones that will complement any wine list of retailer's shelves. The Rubaiyat Chardonnay, 2007, grabbed my attention, check out those flinty characters and good minerality - it will give any white Burgundy a good run for its money at a fraction of the cost.


On to less wine related issues, the industry briefing WRAP -Bottling wine and spirits in a changing climate shows that by shifting packaging to green glass instead of clear makes savings of half yearly CO2 target. Plus after extensive research showed it 95% of respondents didn't even notice the change in bottle colour. The whisky and vodka didn't perform as well as the brandy and wine. But 60% of Sainsbury's customers said that the impression they had of the supermarket improved and when they knew it was using a product that was more environmentally friendly.


The panel in the industry briefing on O2/Oxygen in Wines, dubbed "the dirty secret of the wine trade" and hosted by Jamie Goode also made some interesting points about what factors contribute to bottle variation. Mai Nygaard, global business development manager, NomaSense spoke about oxygen management and how a good O2 audit wouldn't go amiss for many producers, even the ones that own what they think is the right bottling equipment.


While David Mawer, managing director of Hillebrand told the audience some very eye-opening facts about transporting wines and just what goes on between wine leaving a country and hitting our shelves that could cause all manner of inconsistencies. In fact "sitting in ports" and being practically boiled to death in some instances doesn't help consistency levels, I'm sure.


Carol Emmas