High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace

High Tea at The Orangery Restaurant – Kensington Palace – Liz Palmer

This traditional afternoon tea is surrounded by over 300 years of royal history.

A few weeks ago, I spent the afternoon with my daughter and daughter-in-law devouring a lovely selection of finger sandwiches, tea cakes, scones, jam and clotted cream.  We chose the ever-popular Earl Grey Blue Flower tea and a flute of champagne to sip while overlooking the manicured gardens at Kensington Palace.

We all had a taste of what it’s like to be a royal!  Great experience and highly recommend it.

The History of Afternoon Tea

Prior to the introduction of high tea into Britain, the English had two main meals: breakfast and dinner. By the middle of the 18th century, dinner for the upper and middle classes had shifted from noon to an evening meal served at a fashionably late hour. This did not suit the Duchess of Bedford, Anna Maria Stanhope (1783-1857). She seemed to suffer from ‘a sinking feeling’ at about four o’clock in the afternoon. At first, the Duchess had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and a few bread stuffs but then began inviting friends to join her at five o’clock in her rooms at Belvoir Castle. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, assorted sweets and, of course, tea. The summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London and high tea was quickly picked up by other social hostesses.

Wine Origins Alliance Welcomes Missouri Wine & Grape Board (US) and Yamanashi Wineries Association (Japan)

The Wine Origins Alliance announced March 17th that the Missouri Wine & Grape Board (United States) and Yamanashi Wineries Association (Japan) joined their global efforts to protect wine place names. The Alliance now includes 25 members representing wine regions in 10 countries spanning North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. It welcomed its newest members at a meeting during the ProWein trade fair, where members discussed ways to continue to push governments to recognize the distinctiveness and value of wine regions to the global economy and the need to legally protect the names of these regions.

“As the home of the oldest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the United States, Missouri has long known that unique places produce unique wines,” said Jim Anderson, executive director of the Missouri Wine & Grape Board. “We are proud to join alongside our colleagues from around the United States and indeed the world in the important fight to ensure that all wine region names are protected and not abused. We look forward to championing our efforts with our Missouri representatives and those in Washington.”

In early 2018, the Wine Origins Alliance released a consumer survey that found that 94 percent of American wine drinkers support laws that would protect consumers from misleading wine labels. The survey, conducted by GBA Strategies from February 6-13, 2018, interviewed 800 American wine drinkers. The group also released a short film featuring winemakers explaining how the complete environment of a wine region’s location makes their wines unique.

“Yamanashi is the first recognized geographical indication by the Japanese government. Since 1874, we have produced great wines that cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world,” said Shigekazu Misawa, Vice Chairman of the Yamanashi Wineries Association. “Yamanashi stands with its global partners to send a clear message that when it comes to wine, location matters. We look forward to telling our story beyond the Japanese borders and to governments across the globe.”

Since 2005, the Wine Origins Alliance efforts have led to increased attention around the protection of wine place names. Last year, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution, S. Res. 649, acknowledging the distinctiveness of American wine regions and AVA’s and the contributions they provide to the U.S. and global economy. In 2019, the Alliance will work to get a similar resolution passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Wine Origins Alliance, previously known as the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin, works to ensure wine region names are protected and not abused or miscommunicated to consumers worldwide. Members represent regions in Barossa, Bordeaux, Bourgogne/Chablis, British Columbia, Champagne, Chianti Classico, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Long Island, McLaren Vale, Missouri, Napa Valley, Oregon, Paso Robles, Porto, Rioja, Santa Barbara County, Sonoma County, Texas, Tokaj, Victoria, Walla Walla Valley, Washington state, Willamette Valley, Western Australia and Yamanashi. For more information, visit origins.wine or follow the Alliance on Twitter and Facebook.

The 5th International Rose Symposium – Marseille, France January 22, 2019

I’m very excited to be invited to the 5th International Rosé Symposium / Rencontres Internationales du Rosé.

The Symposium is hosted by the Provence Wine Council (CIVP), and the Rosé Research and Experimentation Centre, which takes place in the magnificent setting of the Mucem in Marseille on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

The Symposium, this year, is focusing specifically on research and insights related to rosé wine.

The international speakers are members of the scientific, technical and wine-growing community, and will share their research and studies related to rosé wine.

The 2019 themes will focus on the future of rosé wines, revolving around three major challenges for the industry:

• Adapting to climate change
• Ecological transition
• Changing consumer patterns

The morning will be held as a plenary session, which will include the three major challenges. The lunch cocktail lunch designed by Gérald Passedat.

The afternoon sessions include technical or think-tank workshops, and the presentation of several innovations from fundamental or applied research.

Watch for my followup report.

Website: https://www.rencontres-internationales-rose.com/home.html

Champagne’s Trade Shares Continue to Rise

Champagne’s trade share has risen from 1% to 8% by value in the past eight years,

Champagne’s trade share has risen from 1% to 8% by value in the past eight years, with the number of unique Champagnes trading having multiplied in the same time frame, according to a recent report.

Between 2008 and 2014, the champagne region’s overall trade share hovered between 1-3% by value. So far in 2018, it has contributed 8% of market activity, up from 6.2% last year, according to Lev-ex latest “Champagne Report.”

The number of unique labels trading has risen from fewer than 20 different Champagne labels traded on the market in 2008 to stand at 140 so far this year, with the market thus having grown in both depth and breadth, stated the report.

The report further indicates that Champagne, which has long been an on-trade favourite, had in recent years also established itself as a key player in the secondary market for fine wine.

“Champagne is a unique product among its fine wine peers. Its distribution network is unparalleled, the environments that it exists in are diverse – restaurants, nightclubs, royal weddings – and brand recognition is stronger than in any other part of the market.’

“Mentions of Dom Perignon will likely spark far more excitement than the top names of Burgundy and Bordeaux among non-wine experts. Champagne, therefore, touches drinkers not typically engaged with fine wine, and on a global scale.”

In addition, the report said the Champagne 50 Index had steadily risen almost every year for the past decade, with no sharp upward or downward movements, having only dipped in one year out of the past ten.

“Champagne has occupied its own niche in the fine wine market, undisturbed by some of the major events that unsettled Bordeaux, and not afforded the level of recent attention that has seen prices of Burgundy spike.”

Non-vintage Champagne accounts for the majority of the region’s production, but the vintage category dominates the secondary market.

“The fungibility and, hence, seemingly endless supply of non-vintage Champagne makes it an unwise investment choice, as supply will never diminish in the same way as for vintage wines. It is for this reason that vintage Champagne accounts for 95% of the region’s secondary market activity.”

In terms of price, all of the Champagne 50 sub-indices have increased over the past 10 years.

Salon, which has declared the fewest vintages, has considerably outperformed the broader index, with a gain of 163%, according to the report, with Philipponnat, Krug and Dom Pérignon having tracked, yet slightly underperformed the Champagne 50, gaining 63%, 60% and 61% respectively.

The Cristal index has risen by 40% in the last decade, with movement predominantly occurring in the past two years.

When it comes to Champagne vintages, age stands out as the most important price determinant. Prices tend to plateau for the first few years after release, then gradually appreciate.

Unlike Bordeaux, critic scores did not appear to impact the price significantly, except in examples of extreme quality. Bottle formats and the colour of the wine (white/rosé) also contributed to its price performance over time, stated the report.

The report also revealed that there was “no hard and fast rule” about how Champagnes in different bottle sizes perform in the secondary market.

At release, larger formats often commanded a 10-20% premium on standard bottles for the equivalent volume of wine. Currently, magnums from the Champagne 50 traded at an average of 50% above their 75cl siblings, rising to just over 100% for jeroboams, it said.

However, market conditions and consumer taste could lead to a “dramatic shift” in the relative value of big bottles.

“For instance, the premium for jeroboams has drifted significantly in the last ten years. In 2007, jeroboams of Cristal 1999 traded at a premium of 330%, falling to 148% in 2017.”

It was possible to reach two conclusions from this – first, ostentatious displays of wealth had moved on since the financial crisis; second, and “most importantly”, purchasing bigger bottles for investment purposes carried more of downside risk, it said.

Weather Hazards Threaten Northern Italy’s 2018 Harvest

Italy is in the grip weather hazards including hail, floods, tornados

Italy is in the grip weather hazards including hail, floods, tornados and strong winds, casting fears on the 2018 vintage in regions like Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romangna and Veneto.

Italy’s farmers’ association, Confederazione Nazionale Coltivatori Diretti (Coldiretti), has already warned that damages could cost the country’s agriculture industry €500 million.

According to Coldiretti, rainfall in June is 124% more compared with the historic average, and the country is experiencing its hottest summer since 1800.

This is the latest damage reported from a major wine country, following reports of fungal disease in Bordeaux threatening a 70% drop in crop, the ongoing wildfires in California and Germany’s earliest harvest on record due to unusual heatwave enveloping Europe.

“Climatic changes seem to have also impacted the Italian vineyards. It seems to be an abnormal Summer here in Italy, the most threatening weather conditions being floods due to excessive rain, hail and crazy wind called “tromba d’aria” in Italian,” Stevie Kim, managing director of Vinitaly International.

The adverse impact on the 2018 harvest in Northern Italy is early to assess but according to Kim, most producers remain cautiously optimistic and affected areas are mainly in parts of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Tuscany, Marche and Veneto.

“I know the affected areas include some parts of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Tuscany, Marche and Veneto. I’ve personally heard about damage to the corn fields, so far most producers that I’ve spoken to seem to be cautiously optimistic, however, in general most have concluded that their yield projection is lower. More importantly the Summer has not come to a close just as of yet,” she explained.

Last year, Italy’s grape yields dropped by 30% in some regions due to bizarre weather patterns, due to late spring frosts and drought.

Source Drinks Business