Time for London & Lord’s

Key destinations for a marketing recce while you’re in Old Blighty

Talking to Phil Reedman MW last week, and he reminded me that the annual London New Zealand Trade Tasting is just around the corner (Tuesday, 24 January, at Lord’s Cricket Ground, to be exact).

With more than 600 wines on 60 tables, the event promises a superlative tasting opportunity, with four themed self-pour tables plus master classes on the development of Kiwi Grüner Veltliner and regionality in our Pinot Noir.

So, for some of us, London beckons, and in addition to long hours manning the stands, it’s time to meet the media, your importer and your trade customers. But, as Phil point outs, there’s more to a London whistle-stop than that – it’s also time for a spot of retail therapy and marketing reconnaissance.

Phil Reedman’s guide to wine retailers in NW8

Within a mile radius of the Lord’s Cricket Ground, London NW8 (you’ll need that later so keep it in mind), are more than a dozen branches of the UK’s leading wine retailers: the supermarkets.  Most of them are the smaller, convenience-sized stores rather than the full-blown, Tesco Extra hypermarket-style event, but they still merit a visit. Cast your net a little wider and the area covers just about every store format known to consumerkind. A half-day spent visiting some of these stores, purchasing wines and evaluating them at your leisure is as good a way to spend a miserable late January day as any I can think of.

But what to buy, I hear you ask.  Well, here’s my shopping list:

  1. In the Chilean section, look for anything labelled Limari, Choapa, Leyda, San Antonio and Bio Bio. These are likely to be Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, maybe a few aromatics, and they should remind you that the Chileans are parking their tanks on your lawn.  In many cases, you’ll get change from a tenner. Oh, and don’t overlook the own-label offerings.
  2. In the New Zealand section, look out for brand names you’re less familiar with, labels that you don’t see on the shelves at Blenheim’s New World. It’s always instructive to see what’s out there.
  3. Lastly, and this will take a bit of poking around but you should find one or two choices in larger stores: English sparkling wine. No, I’m serious. And so are the wines. It’s one thing having Brits importing wines from elsewhere, but now they’re making it themselves! Where will this end?

Links to store locators for the major multiple grocers follow below:

I have one more item to add to Phil’s list: do keep an eye out for Phil himself – he’ll be making the rounds at Lord’s.

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One Comment

  1. Phil Reedman
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed over the weekend a bottle of Chapel Down NV Reserve Brut, bought from Waitrose on promotion at GBS13.49. Smart wine and well worth a buy. Get in quick the promotion finishes on 24th January.

    Wrap up warm for your London trip; it’s cold over here