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22nd October 2012 - Italy approves synthetic closures for DOC, DOCG

Nomacorc corks


by Chris Mercer
Italian authorities have approved the use of synthetic corks and screwcaps on higher quality DOC and DOCG wines for the first time.

The move opens a new front in the highly-charged wine industry debate on closures.

Synthetic cork producer Nomacorc is already plotting ways to dent the dominance of natural corks in DOC and DOCG wines.

'We've effectively been blocked from 30% of the market, so it's huge,' Nomacorc's CEO, Lars von Kantzow, told

'It's not like winemakers are waiting in line for the day they can buy Nomacorc. Although, in some cases, this is the case. Some will still use natural cork, but at least now we can go to them. Before, it wasn't worth our while.'

Caldirola, producer of Barbera D'Asti, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and Chianti among others, confirmed it is interested in taking advantage of the new rule.

Silvia Fiorentini, marketing manager for the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, said individual denominations still have the final say on closures.

'Certainly it will not be possible to use alternative corks or screwcaps without a formal change of our production code,' she said. 'The Consorzio is open to taking it into consideration,' she added.

Nomacorc is the word's second biggest wine closure producer, selling around 2.4bn synthetic corks annually, behind natural cork maker Amorim, which sells just over 3bn closures per year.



9th October 2012 - Barbaresco winemaker Angelo Rocca dies

by Kerin O'Keefe


Celebrated Barbaresco wine producer Angelo Rocca, of the family firm Albino Rocca, has died in a plane crash.

Rocca, 64, was piloting his own light plane not far from the Piedmont city of Alessandria when his plane crashed into a field just metres from the A21 Highway.

According to reports, there was dense fog yesterday in the area at the time of the crash, although the exact reasons for the accident are unknown. Rocca’s companion, Carmen Mazza, also perished in the accident.

Albino Rocca’s lauded Barbarescos, Ronchi, Ovello Vigna Loreto and Vigneto Brich Ronchi Riserva, are some of the most acclaimed in the denomination.

Angelo Rocca’s small plane had become a fixture in the skies above Barbaresco, and he was a passionate pilot who also loved fast cars. 'He lived life the fullest,' said Aldo Vacca, director of Produttori del Barbaresco. 'Most people in Barbaresco are closed and reserved, but Angelo was full of life, and was incredibly outgoing and generous. He was always willing to lend a hand to other producers. We’ll miss him.'

'Besides being a great winemaker, Angelo had an intense energy and was always on the go,' said fellow producer Bruno Rocca, no relation to Angelo. 'He had a very innovative spirit, and always wanted to try new things. His death is a great loss to Barbaresco.'

Angelo Rocca leaves behind three grown daughters, Daniela, Monica and Paola, who all work at the firm.

12th April 2012 - Amarone 2007 & 2008: Decanter panel tasting results

With eight Awards from such a small tasting, these approachable wines impressed - especially the classicos and 2007s. The judges praised the complexity and freshness in both vintages with a fine balance between fruit, acidity and tannins. See all 34 four and five-star wines here

10th April 2012 - Latest Il Mio Vino issues online

February 2012 - click here
March 2012 - click here

23rd March 2012 - Prosecco rise 'good for Champagne' says Lanson

By Christina Pickard

The continuing success of Prosecco is good for Champagne, Lanson managing director Paul Beavis has said.
Prosecco’s sales were up by nearly 50% in 2011, the Champagne Category Report for 2011, launched by Lanson International last week, found.
Such success was good for all sparkling wines, Paul Beavis, managing director of Lanson International, told ‘I think it proves its point as an introducer to the sparkling category. Prosecco’s done a good job in terms of value.’

The report, which used research from analysts Neilson and CGA Strategy, comes shortly after the news that Champagne’s 2011 exports were up by 5.1%, most of which increase came from countries like the US, China, Russia, and India, where sales were up a massive 58%, from 0.18m in 2010 to 0.29m in 2011.
The UK, Champagne’s largest export market, experienced a decline in volume of 2.7% to 34.5m bottles in 2011.
The second biggest export market is the US, which saw shipments of Champagne rise by 14% in 2011 to 19.4 million bottles.
However, despite this decline, Champagne has increased in value by 4.3%, due in part to last summer’s royal wedding driving up sales. The hope is that the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics will mean a similar increase.

In other sparkling categories, while Cava sales in 2011 stayed about the same, Prosecco soared to nearly £90m, a 47.9% growth rate.
Although Champagne sales in retail outlets like high street chains and supermarkets grew only minutely, the on-trade showed most growth.
Despite the closure of 2.6% of Britain’s on-trade outlets, most notably nightclubs and hotels, and a 14% decrease in volume, Champagne sales in this sector grew by 8% to £327m.
Lanson also announced the results of consumer research which found Champagne is now being purchased more frequently than just for special occasions, and that 69% of those surveyed admitted that brand combined with price deal was the most important factor in their buying choices.

On the state of the market in the UK, Beavis said, ‘Champagne has been remarkably resilient through the global downturn…the thirst for Champagne will always be there.’

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