Fleur wines top student award!

I am really proud of Fleur Pushack, who works for me 2 days a week at The Hive, who has won ‘The Freixenet Bursary’ – A study visit to four Spanish wine regions as the guest of Freixenet and associated companies, which is awarded to a high achiever in Unit 3 Light Wines of the World in the WSET’s Diploma Exams.

This is a great result for Fleur, and no surprise to me, as her knowledge and determination are matched only by her enthusiasm and positivity. Well done Fleur!

March for the Independents – Get involved

Justin is pleased to be involved in the ‘March for the Independents’, a new one-day conference, held in London on Tuesday 3rd March, 2015. It’s focus is to champion the voice of the independent retailers.

Despite significant challenges, the future of the UK independent wine sector looks bright, it’s worth nearly £500 million and growing. Wine Intelligence research from November 2014 noted that the number of UK independent retailers has increased by 50% between 2007 and 2014 to more than 750.

Justin will be speaking on a panel, to discuss ‘How to make the most of online sales and make it a vital profitable part of your business’. To register for the event click here.

Independent wine shops small

Master of Winemaking at ProWein

If you are attending ProWein in March, please come along to the ‘Masters of Winemaking’ tasting, hosted by The Institute of Masters of Wine on Sunday 15th March, 6-8pm.

This is a unique tasting, where Master of Wine winemakers will serve their own wines.  Justin is delighted to be showing his ‘Domaine of the Bee‘ wines from Maury, alongside other MW winemakers from Germany, Austria, France, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and South Africa.

This event is free but you need to be registered here otherwise entrance will not be permitted.

JHS serving Bee at MW_1

Wine drinkers want ‘dinner party one liners” not education

Speaking at this year’s Digital Wine Communications Conference in Montreaux, Justin is quoted in Harpers talking about the importance of understanding your customers, having a clear and simple message, and talking to them in a language they can relate to.

Justin speaks of his experience with Laithwaite’s customers, “that they are ‘wine enjoyers’, and like buying and drinking wine, but were not interested in being immersed in it.”

Read the full story here.

Justin-Howard-Sneyd-MW DWCC 2014_1

Justin ponders on changing wine tastes in Decanter

Andrew Jefford, writing for Decanter.com recently asked Justin, and Professor Barry Smith, (of the Institute of Philosopy at London University’s School of Advanced Studies) to comment on an interesting theme about how one’s tastes in wine evolve over a lifetime for his article, “Jefford on Monday: Changing Tastes, Failing Powers“.

Justin discusses his soft spot for unreconstructed oak and tropical fruit explosions, alongside his appreciation for harder to define characteristics, that are sometimes termed ‘minerality’ and ‘salinity’.

Read more here.

Justin Howard-Sneyd

MOTs for your pallet (an edited version of this first appeared in Harpers)

Everyone who joins the trade should have a palate MOT
We know that our customers are all different. ‘I don’t know much, but I know what I like’ they say.
But do WE know what they like?
We know that loads of wine drinkers talk dry, but drink sweet. The industry tries to pretend that this isn’t really true. We try to disguise popular wines that are not bone dry by avoiding mention of sweetness, and focussing on ‘softness’ and ‘fruitiness’ instead. We know that lots of people do not like the bitterness of tannins, or the acidity of certain grapes or regions.
Are they wrong?