Handford Wines: Wine Market Seminar
Following a similar format to last year, we hosted the London Wine Market Seminar with Greg Sherwood MW, the Chief Wine Buyer of the London wine speciality store, Handford Wines and tasted 9 different wines. The 9 wines we tasted were already in the UK market, and these wines share some similarities with Koshu in terms of market price, wine style, target market, new variety, and contemporary style. We discussed their quality, style, packaging, marketing, and promotion. This was run on the last day of the London Promotional Week as an educational seminar..
KOJ Annual Trade Tasting 2011
As in 2010 we hosted our annual Koshu trade tasting event at the Imagination Gallery in London, sending out personalized invitations to selected members of the wine trade. A total of 133 members including importers, food and beverage personnel, retailers, as well as journalists and sommeliers tasted Koshu produced according to EU regulations from each winery. Many opinions were shared regarding Koshu's attributes of delicate fruit aromatics, balanced acidity and also its low-alcohol content, making it ideal with today's food preference.
After this event, some of the wineries were approached by importers keen to start selling Koshu in the UK market..
Koshu Seminar by Jancis Robinson MW
As a part of the Annual Trade Tasting, we hosted the Koshu Master Seminar with Jancis Robinson MW, OBE, internationally recognized wine journalist and contributor to the Financial Times. With a limited number of 50 seats available for this trade seminar, over 100 people registered for this event. We tasted 9 different Koshu while listening to the discussion of vintage differences between 2009 and 2010, vinification techniques of sparkling, nouveau, sur lie, and barrel fermentation. Viticultural aspects such as trellising, vine training systems of pergola and vertical shoot positioning also formed part of a lively discussion as Jancis shared her experience of getting to know Koshu as a grape variety in the wine region of Yamanashi in Japan. Despite many of the participants being unfamiliar with the region and the grape variety, there was great interest and enthusiasm for the potential of Koshu in this market.
Japan Society Party
Following the annual trade event at the Imagination Gallery during the day, the tasting room was creatively converted into a more social atmosphere for the evening event, which illustrated food and wine pairing. We hosted the Koshu Wine Party for 110 members of the Japan Society, which consists of Japan aficionados, Japanese people living in England, but also UK citizens with a love of all things Japanese.. After a seminar led by the KOJ Consultant Lynne Sherriff MW, the Japanese Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi gave us a speech and made a toast. Attendees enjoyed talking to the producers while tasting Koshu made by them. It was a remarkable evening bringing an end to a very successful promotional week.
Wine of Australia Annual trade Tasting 2011
We participated at the Wines of Australia Annual Trade Tasting, which takes place once a year in London. The venue was the Saatchi Gallery, which is one of the most fashionable places in town. There was much to learn here, not only about the quality and variety of the wines on offer for tasting, which demonstrated the broad spectrum of grape varieties and styles. We were also able to observe differences and innovation in labelling, packaging and trade materials such as catalogues and brochures produced by the trend-savvy Australian wine industry.
SADOYA Winemaker's Dinner
On the same day, the Sadoya Winery hosted a winemaker's dinner called "Sadoya Night" at Saki, a Japanese restaurant located in London. Saki is very popular amongst Japanese people living in London as well as the locals. The owner of the restaurant is also known to have an extensive knowledge of wine and sake. 50 guests who attended the event enjoyed the paring of Koshu with Saki's refined Japanese cuisine.
Top Journalists Wine Tasting
At the new and innovative Japanese restaurant "Yashin", we hosted a Koshu and Japanese cuisine pairing event. Attendees included top wine journalists, Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson MW, OBE, Michael Broadbent MW, Anthony Rose and Jamie Goode, as well as top sommeliers, Joelle Marti and Gerard Bassett, totaling 20 people. Many of the guests expressed a strong interest in Koshu's delicate and unique personality, and also commented on its harmonious quality with Japanese cuisine.
Update of the articles to be followed.
The promotion of Koshu this year occurred in London from the 17th to 21st January, 2011. Our activities such as the Top Wine Journalist Wine Tasting and the Annual Trade Tasting, were complemented by educational activities including a visit to an English winery and a Wine Market Seminar by a local wine buyer in order to prepare Koshu to be competitive in an international market. These activities were organized and co-ordinated by Lynne Sherriff MW, Consultant to KOJ.
English Winery Tour
We visited the Chapel Down Winery, located to the southeast of London near Dover in the picturesque county of Kent. There are 350 vine-growers and 35 wineries in England and the Chapel Down Winery is one of the most famous, especially for its sparkling wine. Due to their main focus being sparkling wine, the property's facility is impressively well equipped. There is also a considerable understanding of the market. For example, they have reduced the amount of Bacchus they produced as they recognised that there was a strong demand for Chardonnay. They were also quick to increase their production of sparkling rose and unoaked Chardonnay, very much in line with market trends and demands. The slogan which they have made their own and placed on their back labels is quite unforgettable - "England in a glass"
Grace Wine Winemaker's Dinner
Following the visit to an English winery, Grace Wine's importer, NOVUM hosted a winemaker's dinner at London's popular and fashionable Japanese restaurant, ZUMA. Attendees included one of the best-known and popular television journalists, Olly Smith, as well as the wine buyer from Selfridges and sommeliers, totaling 14 people. We showcased a total of 4 wines including 2 Koshu and received excellent comments especially for Koshu.
The first annual Koshu generic tasting was held in the imagination Gallery. This Gallery is a design studio in central London, which makes use of carefully designed light and space to create an ideal venue for a wine tasting event. Over 120 trade visiters, wine journalists, UK wine agents and sommeliers participated in the tasting, held from 10h30 to 16h30.
Following the theme of food and wine matching of the entire Japan week, Nick the Imagination Gallery's head chef, created individual and unusual canapes. Creations such as soft chiked with daikon and green tea jelly and fregrant langoustine tempura with urchin mayonnaise, enticed tasters to pair Koshu with the inventive canapes. The winemakers each manned their own tables to present their wines and used the opportunity to ask questions and impressions of major trade buyers.
A very tired but very satisfied KOJ team concluded the week with a traditional English meal at a restaurant overlooking the River Thames, before departing for the airport and the long flight home on Saturday.
Wednesday the 13th January saw the official global press launch of KOJ held at the prestigious one-star Michelin restaurant in Mayfair. UMU is a unique Kyoto style restaurant in London, using only the freshest ingredients sourced from Japan to creat a 'Kaiseki' Japanese menu. Each of the 7 courses was accompanied by 2-3 Koshu wines.
This event was attended by the "cream" of UK journalists and wine personalities, such as Jancis Robinson, Nick Lander, Steven Spurrier, Anthony Rose, Charles Metcalfe and Michael Broadbent to name but a few!
The praise for the style and quality of the wines was unanimous and since this event many journalists have written in praise of the wines. True to form with a group of journalists as diverse as this, there was much discussion as to which wines suited the exquisites Kaiseki food best. Global wine elder statesman Michael Broadbent's short speech in praise of the food and wines was a sourse of inspiration to the KOJ team and all the winemakers and a motivation to continue this initiative.
On 12th January, the premiere event of the first ever Koshu of Japan week in the United Kingdom (KOJ) was held at the Japanese Embassy, co-hosted by His Excellency, the Ambassador of Japan and the Japan Society. This event had been eagerly awaited and was attended by more than 200 people. The sumptuous and elegant surroundings of the ballroom in the Embassy provided a fitting ambience for KOJ winemakers to present their wines. Elegantly plated canapes served by Sake no Hana allowed the winemakers to demonstrate the perfect combination of Koshu with finr Japanese cuisine. Welcoming speeches preceded a presentation on Koshu by Lynne Sherriff MW, consultant to KOJ. The enthusiasm experienced in the room on the evening in support of this new wine confirmed the belief of KOJ to perform on the global wine stage.