Richard Siddle, editor and chief, of Harpers Wine & Spirit

Richard Siddle: Why we just can't get enough of online shopping

05 Dec 2014 | By Richard Siddle

The time it will take you to read this first paragraph is all it now takes to buy a loved one a special present for Christmas. The speed, reliability and ultimately convenience of shopping online now means it is quite acceptable to give even your nearest and dearest a gift that comes wrapped in cardboard through the post.

  • Richard Siddle, editor and chief, of Harpers Wine & Spirit

    Richard Siddle: Why we just can't get enough of online shopping

    The time it will take you to read this first paragraph is all it now takes to buy a loved one a special present for Christmas. The speed, reliability and ultimately convenience of shopping online now means it is quite acceptable to give even your nearest and dearest a gift that comes wrapped in cardboard through the post.

  • Tim Atkin

    Tim Atkin MW: Why we must all share the blame for cheap wine

    Mad Frankie Fraser, the notorious gangster who died last week, was famous for using pliers to extract his victims’ teeth under torture. One hesitates to say that the wine trade could have used the skills of a man who worked for both the Kray twins and the Richardson gang, but there are times when persuading consumers to trade up can feel like pulling molars.

  • Guy Woodward @guyawoodward

    Guy Woodward: The wine industry could learn so much from friendly coffee baristas

    On the face of it, Waitrose’s commitment to making its beer, wine and spirits departments “destinations” in their own right is a no-brainer.

  • Tim Atkin MW

    Tim Atkin: why consumers could fall out of love with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

    Some milestones make you think. Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the founding of Cloudy Bay, one of the most successful wine brands ever, and a label that helped to launch an entire region.

  • Guy Woodward

    Guy Woodward: even Champagne has a lot to learn about consumers

    Comedian and writer David Mitchell is among the more perceptive columnists for the once great Observer, so it was with interest that I read his piece on how the taste of Champagne doesn’t matter. When it comes to serving sparkling wine, he claimed, so long as it has bubbles, and says Champagne and not Cava on the label, any further qualities are immaterial.

  • Richard Siddle, editor of Harpers Wine & Spirit

    Richard Siddle: what sort of community do you hang out in?

        They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep. Or the sort of people they like to hang out with. The thought crossed my mind at last weekend’s Digital Wine Communications Conference. An event which attracted well over 300 delegates and speakers who were quite happy to give up their weekend to travel to the shores of Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland.

  • Jerry Lockspeiser

    Jerry Lockspeiser on why we could all do our bit to help in fight against ebola

    The Millione wine brand is a social business started by myself, Cliff Roberson and Mike Paul.  All profits are used to build primary schools in Sierra Leone. Four schools have been running successfully and the fifth is half built.

  • Jason Wilson

    Jason Wilson joins the white wine appreciation society

    It’s easy enough for wine geeks to roll their eyes or poke fun at the Summer of Riesling, the popular annual campaign/movement here in the US that’s just ended – and will finally be retired – after a seven-summer run.

  • Richard Siddle

    Richard Siddle: time to put retailer and supplier relations on a fairer footing

    The fallout from Tesco hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons - and overstating its profits to the tune of some £250 million - could be felt by everyone in the grocery retail sector, never mind the suspended Tesco executives currently re-evaluating their careers.

  • Tim Atkin

    Tim Atkin on why modern winemaking is a breath of fresh air

    “To thine own self be true.” Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes in Hamlet is arguably easier to give than to follow. Most of us make regular compromises in our personal and professional lives. We don’t lie to ourselves exactly, but we fall short of the absolute standards to which we aspire.

  • The Three Wine Men are the closest thing wine has to the mass popularity of Top Gear

    Guy Woodward: Hegarty's right - we need to follow Top Gear to sell wine

    It didn’t come as a huge surprise when Sir John Hegarty used his WSTA conference key note speech to deliver a withering assessment of the wine trade’s relationship with its audience. One of the foremost marketing exponents of his generation, Hegarty knows a thing or two about generating headlines. ‘Appalling’, ...

  • Mike Paul

    Mike Paul's 7 steps to success with new product developement in wine

    One comment on my recent piece on the importance of branding  was that it is all very easy to argue that one should invest in branding but it would be rather more useful, at least  to those already ‘converted’, to provide some insights into how best this might be achieved.

  • Richard Siddle

    Richard Siddle: time to stand up and applaud Majestic and Oddbins

    For my sins I have spent the best part of the last 20 years writing about and reporting on the UK retail sector.  In that time I have come to respect, perhaps even love some of the country’s most well-known retail brands, some of which can rightly be described as amongst the best in the world.

  • Guy Woodward

    Guy Woodward admires how Napa Valley took the Californian earthquake in its stride

    It was 3.20am on a Sunday morning when the earthquake struck. If there can ever be a good time for the almighty’s mysterious ways to take their course, this was surely it. Wineries were empty, the harvest not yet brought in, vats largely unused. One can only imagine the carnage had the 6.0 tremor struck 10 days later, during working hours, as the mass of hired hands were stacking up pallet upon pallet of grapes inside Napa cellars.

  • Mike Paul

    Mike Paul: why wine producers that see themselves as brands hold all the power

    A recurring theme of most marketing orientated articles in Harpers is the need for wine producers to develop, and then promote effectively, their individuality: to communicate to  the trade and the consumer, hopefully in an inspiring way, what makes them special and  separates them from their competition.

  • Tim Atkin

    Tim Atkin: why the Chinese wine market is so hard to predict

    First time visitors to Beijing are often struck by the pollution that seems to blanket the city on a daily basis, reducing visibility and filling lungs with undesirable gunk. It’s a symbol of China’s rush towards industrialisation, as well as the lack of environmental checks and controls. But it’s tempting to see it as a metaphor, too, not least for the wine industry. Trying to understand what is going on in China can feel like staring into a Stygian fug at times.  

  • Guy Woodward

    Guy Woodward: it's the people we remember not their wine

    In wine as in life, one of the most common mistakes people make is to assume other people know what they’re talking about. Enthusiasts, in particular, are wont to believe that everyone else is as interested in a subject as they are. In most cases, I’m afraid to say, they’re not.

  • Richard Siddle

    Richard Siddle: only by looking at wine through consumers' eyes can we communicate with them

    Why is it the best ideas are often the most glaringly obvious thing to do – it is just that no-one has thought to do so before.

  • Tim Atkin

    Tim Atkin MW on the hail crisis in Burgundy and what producers could learn from Argentina

    “Would you like to go up in one of our planes?” asked Eduardo Martín, director of the Argentinean Ministry of Agriculture’s anti-hail squad. It was an offer that was all too easy to refuse. In Mendoza, the 24 pilots who are employed by the Ministry to combat hail are paid danger money and deserve every peso. Since 1998, when planes seeding clouds with silver iodide replaced rockets as a way of combating the biggest risk to vineyards, the pilots have been doing what must rank as one ...

  • Guy Woodward

    Guy Woodward: no more ivory tower posturing, let's get personal with consumers

    Harpers is pleased to announce it has signed up Guy Woodward, former editor of Decanter, as a regular columnist and contributor.This month he tips his cap to the creative minds at Naked Wines and other innovative retail sites that are genuinely communicating to consumers in a way they can understand and says there are so many lessons to be learnt from the old school wine trade still stuck in its ivory tower. 

Victorian torture device

Stephen Forward: are zero-hour contracts an employment tool or Victorian torture?

08 Dec 2014 | By Stephen Forward, Stephen Forward

There’s been a lot of bad press lately on the subject of zero-hours contracts. The Labour party have pledged to abolish them if they win the next election. So what are zero-hours contracts exactly, why do employers use them, and how do they work in practice?

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Joe Wadsack

Chief of the Week: Joe Wadsack, the BBC's Mr Booze

19 Dec 2014 | By Claret Pimpernel

Hold on to your Santa hats, lock up your drinks cabinet and gird your loins for our Chief of the Week: Mr Joe Wadsack.

Felis Solis's Richard Cochrane with Simon Jerrome of Matthew Clark and Majestic's Matthew Pym

Felix Solis inadvertently shows it is a "class" act at British Comedy Awards Video

18 Dec 2014 | By Claret Pimpernel

Not sure if our friends at Felix Solis saw the comic element to the picture they sent through this week to mark their sponsorship of the British Comedy Awards.

Skin Contact

Chiefs of the Week: Plucky members of Skin Côntact - live March 9, Vinopolis, London Video

12 Dec 2014 | By Claret Pimpernel

    We don’t just have one “Chief” this week, but we are banging the drum for all those plucky wine trade folk that are willing to put their reputations on the line by forming their own band and performing live to raise money for Comic Relief.

Just what are these snowmen saying to each other?

Think of a winning caption for this cartoon and the original could be yours...

10 Dec 2014 | By Claret Pimpernel

Here’s the chance to win a very special Christmas present that you have helped create. Yes, simply think up a funny caption to go along with this cartoon and the winner will receive the original cartoon, with your caption.  

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