Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 31 October 2014

#dwcc14: Montreux – photos from this morning's intro and am session

Swiss Wines are our hosts this year

Delegates filing in for the first session

 Ryan Opaz iPhoning the screen  

Robert - Opaz
(above and below)

Ryan Opaz

Robert McIntosh
(above and below)

 Rosemary George MW

 Christopher Cannan

 Magnus Reuterdahl expecting to feel better later in the day 

José – 'the special one'
Angelika Deutsch

Ewan Murray@the Digital Water Communications Conference

Greg Lambrecht inventor and founder of Coravin
the first keynote speaker
(above and below)

Dr Maurizio Ugliano

Ricardo Bernardo – the official photographer
(above and below)

 Damien Wilson

 Another keynote speaker

#dwcc14 to and in Montreux

Thursday, 30 October 2014

1855 – jaw dropping arnaque!

The celebrated fraudster Charles Ponzi 
would be proud of these boys!

On 21st October le Tribunal de Commerce de Paris considered the proposals made by (now called Héraclès) and châ (now called Arés), to sort out their businesses. These plans had been submitted the month before. At the end of the hearing the Tribunal put back making a decision until the end of November. The 1855 group of companies went into administration in October 2013. 

The details of the 1855 business proposals are not really relevant as, on past performance, Fabien Hyon and Emeric Sauty de Chalon, will fail to keep any promises they make. Who can blame them when the French authorities allow the arnaque, which may well owe 42€ million to 11,000 creditors to continue unabated?

The business plan submitted by includes a proposal to repay money owed to creditors (mainly people who had ordered wines en primeur) over a period of eight years. Another proposal is to offer to some creditors a Bordeaux Superieur that can be bought in a supermarket for 5.5€ in exchange for the en primeurs they ordered but never received.  See fuller details here.  

It is difficult to understand how the long-running 1855 saga is allowed to continue unless Fabien Hyon and Emeric Sauty de Chalon still enjoy protection at a very high level.  

The 1855 scandal continues to reflect badly on the rest of the French on-line retail wine sector.     

2015 Salon des Vins de Loire: aiming for coherence but too late?

Arnaud Bourgeois (Domaine Henri Bourgeois)@2014 Salon 
Arnaud and Domaine Henri Bourgeois won't be at 2015 edition

There will be some significant changes at the 2015 Salon des Vins de Loire (Monday 2nd – Wednesday 4th February) but will these be enough to arrest the fair's recent decline? 

Here are the changes:

'Le Salon des Vins de Loire 2015 évolue et élargira sa gamme d’offre, pour mieux répondre aux besoins des visiteurs. Cinq grandes nouveautés seront au programme de l’édition 2015 : 

Les « Off Bio » au Parc des Expositions

Le groupement de vignerons « La levée de la Loire« , qui proposait un salon « Off » jusqu’en 2014, intègre le Parc des Expositions d’Angers du 2 au 4 février. L’occasion de découvrir une offre bio du Val de Loire plus complète, à travers la présence de plus d’une centaine d’exposants.'

For the last two editions of the Salon there has been a couple of competing fairs on the Monday – La Levée de la Loire (organic producers) at the Greniers de St Jean in Angers and La Dive Bouteille around Saumur.

This year Angers Park Expo have agreed to run La levée de la Loire in a separate building on the Expo site. I understand that the set up will be similar to that at MillesiméBio with every exhibitor having the same sized table and the cost to show your wines there will be a fraction of the cost in the salon itself. Ludo Ragot of Café de la Promenade (Bourgueil) is in charge of the food at La Levée. It will all be organic.    

The Renaissance tasting will be on the Saturday 31st January and Sunday 1st and La Dive Bouteille on Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd. 

Although in the past producers could have exhibited at all three of these 'off' they had wanted, I understand that vignerons will have to make a choice between three 'off' salons and only be able to attend one.

'Un pôle « Jeunes Vignerons »
La 29e édition du Salon des Vins de Loire favorise la venue des producteurs ligériens installés depuis moins de 4 ans, avec le Pôle « Jeunes Vignerons » qui permet à ces jeunes professionnels, de présenter leurs vins sur un espace dédié et faciliter l’entre au Salon avec un tarif adapté et proposer une offre élargie aux visiteurs.'

There will be an area dedicated to Loire producers, who have recently started up – less than four years ago.  

'Des Workshops au Salon des Vins de Loire
Cet espace de prospection, au coeur du Salon, proposera des interventions courtes et interactives sur 3 thèmes principaux : Consommation/Marché, Points de ventes, Vin 2.0. Ces workshops ont pour objectif de proposer un lieu central d’information, de discussion, de débat et d’échanges.

Une Journée « Grande Distribution »
Cette journée, destinée aux directeurs, chefs de départements et de rayons de la Grande Distribution se déroulera le mercredi 4 février 2015, avec conférences « Bonnes pratiques du rayon vins », l’aménagement de linéaires, exposition, etc.'

That's the good news. The bad news is that some major long-time supporters of the Salon over many years will not be there in 2015. The biggest absentee that I know of so far is Domaine Henri Bourgeois. It was noticeable this year in February that the Bourgeois had downsized their stand.

Jean-Marie Bourgeois told me on Monday that they would not be going. He said he was tired of making suggestions for how to improve the Salon only to find that each year these were ignored. Jean-Marie is in favour of a bi-annual Salon, although given that the market tends to want the youngest vintage possible of many Loire wines I'm not convinced that this is the best formula for a Loire Salon.

Later on Monday afternoon I saw Benoît Roumet, director of Les Vins du Centre, who talked about the greatly increased competition from other professional wine fairs that the Salon des Vins de Loire is now facing – far more than when the Salon was established in 1987. Benoît said that the 2014 edition of the salon des Vins de Loire was so quiet that he found Jean-Marie doing his emails on the Tuesday morning when in past years the Bourgeois stand was continuously buzzing. 

On the other hand Jean-Dominique Vacheron (Domaine Vacheron) said that they would be at the Salon as normal and that the Salon had done much to put the Loire on the map.

Hopefully the Salon des Vins de Loire can find a formula that works as it would be a great shame for the Loire to lose this opportunity to show wines from its entire viticultural length from the Côtes de Forez to the Pays Nantais.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Heading to #dwcc14: Nyon 29.10.14

The small marina@Nyon at dusk

After our drive up into the Juras we headed to Nyon in time to catch the last hour of sunshine. This evening the fading light was superb on Lac Léman and across to the French Alps. 

Tower of the Château de Nyon

 Château de Nyon (above and below)

Château – through to the Lac

Château de Nyon
The Lac and mountains on the French side

Towards Montreux

Towards Geneva

Vaud: no diving


Hotel Beau Rivage down to a private jetty