Issue 11: the latest news from the world of art, jazz, and cakes

The sun is shining, the clouds are clearing, and the temperature is above freezing. Yes, it must be summer. Enjoy it while you can – before you know it, we’ll be in June, the official beginning of the rainy season, and you’ll look back on these balmy days with affection and perhaps a little regret.

Wine Merchant issue 11 front pageDid you realise that issue 11 of The Wine Merchant has now been published? The digital edition is free, to all ages, races and creeds. This month we’re off to Tenterden to explore the wonderful Liquid Pleasure store run by Ian Florey; we report on new independents in Northampton (yes, honestly) and St Andrews (yes, another one); we review the pick of this month’s wines; and discuss a new wine preservation system which could save retailers a lot of money.

David Williams ponders what would happen if a well-known wine merchant sold out to Tesco, while Jonathan Richards of Best Cellars in Ashburton makes a heartfelt plea for an overhaul of the licensing system. We preview all the upcoming tasting events, have a few words with Emporia boss James Rackham, and ask Symposium Wines boss Henry Breeze about the things that get him excited.

On top of that, Reserve Wines owner Kate Goodman, the new presenter of Food & Drink, tells us why she has no intention of trying to be the new Jilly Goolden.

There are also a few responses to last month’s criticism of the WSET Diploma, including two thoughtful pages from David Wrigley MW of that august organisation.

And we really do have news from the world of art, jazz and cakes. We don’t joke about such things.

Graham Holter

Vice President, Northern Hemisphere

The world’s largest Champagne tasting

Sometimes we don’t realise how lucky we are. We’ve got the world’s most important sparkling wine region right on our doorstep, and every year London plays host to the largest Champagne tasting. In the world.

This year’s event takes place at The Banqueting House in Whitehall. It’s where Charles I lost his head in 1649, but the Champagnes poured on March 13 will scarcely have time to do the same.

Here’s a short video of last year’s tasting and how it all came together. If you can spot yourself, award yourself three points and shout “hooray!” twice. If you want to register, you can use this link.

Reader Survey

wine merchant and negociants logo



The Wine Merchant is approaching its first anniversary. We’re celebrating by teaming up with Negociants UK in what we believe will be the most comprehensive survey of independent wine specialists.

We know our readers are busy people and so we’ve kept the survey short and sweet: just 15 questions in total, which should take 10 minutes at most to complete.

Three respondents will be selected at random and sent a mixed case of fine Australian wines as a thank-you for taking part.

You do need to be an independent wine merchant, with a shop, to join in. Sadly that excludes our online-only friends but we’ll be focusing on you good people another time, very soon.

Click here to take the survey now.