Fine wine news roundup: 18-24 July


All change at Chateau Lafite

Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR), owner of First Growth Lafite, has made a number of notable role changes among its Bordeaux estates. The long-serving Eric Kohler – previously technical director for all of the group’s properties – will now focus exclusively on Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Duhart-Milon in Pauillac.

In a statement, the group said: “As both properties continue their transition to organic operations, it is more important than ever that their technical leadership is able to dedicate a greater attention to detail and meticulous management daily.”

Meanwhile, the group has appointed a new technical director at Chateau L'Evangile in Pomerol. Olivier Tregoat – who has spent several years as technical director for DBR estates outside of Bordeaux – will also be responsible for technical management at Chateau Rieussec in Sauternes and at Chateau Paradis Casseuil in Entre-Deux-Mers. He will continue to oversee winemaking at DBR estates in China, Chile and Argentina.

The reshuffle follows the recent appointment of former Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise as DBR’s international director.


Taittinger’s Domaine Evremond gets approval for Kent winery

Five years after acquiring the 224-acre former fruit farm in Chilham, Kent, Champagne house Taittinger has been given the go ahead to build a winery and visitor centre on the grounds of Domaine Evremond.

Plans for the two-floor, 1,390 square-metre building (as illustrated above) include dedicated areas for wine storage and different winemaking processes, as well as bottling, labelling and packaging. Two-thirds of the building will be underground, with the facility featuring a chalk grassland roof to blend into its surroundings.

The development is expected to take around 16 months to complete, and will eventually be capable of producing 400,000 bottles of sparkling wine a year. No start date has yet been given for the building work.

Taittinger – which was the first Champagne house to plant vines in the UK – planted its initial vines on the Domaine Evremond site in May 2017, consisting of 20 hectares of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, from which they will make wines similar to Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs and Comtes de Champagne Rose . A further 8.5 hectares were planted last year, taking the total area under vine to 28.5 hectares.


Porto’s €105m ‘World of Wine’ set to open this summer

After more than five years in the making, Portugal’s newest visitor attraction and cultural centre ‘World of Wine’ is getting ready to open its doors in the city of Porto.

The centre – which covers 55,000 square metres of regenerated wine cellars – includes a ‘Porto across the ages’ exhibition, a wine school offering courses accredited by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, restaurants, wine bars and ‘the planet cork’, which includes a replica of a giant cork tree, paying tribute to Portugal’s significant role in the cork trade.

The project – which has received more than €105m of investment – was the brainchild of CEO Adrian Bridge. “Our goal at WOW is to help define Porto as a cultural destination, telling the story not only of wine for which the city is world famous, but also of the city, its people and their adventures across the ages,” he said in a statement.

The centre is due to open on 31st July.


Moderate drinking may reduce risk of cognitive decline

The potential health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have been well documented, with studies demonstrating it could be behind everything from longer expectancies to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. Now, it looks like improved overall cognitive function can be added to the list.

A team from the University of Georgia College of Public Health tracked nearly 20,000 older Americans for two decades, and found that low to moderate drinking – defined as less than eight drinks per week for women and less than 15 per week for men – is associated with higher total cognitive function and slower rates of cognitive decline. The average age of participants was 62.

Those taking part in the study were given an overall cognition score based on three areas: word recall, mental status and vocabulary. They were then repeatedly assessed over the study’s duration to see how memory, intelligence and overall knowledge capabilities had changed. Low to moderate drinkers had a consistently higher cognitive function trajectory in all three areas compared to non-drinkers.

Unfortunately, the study doesn’t offer enough data to make solid conclusions about exactly why this may be, but it does demonstrate yet another reason why that evening glass of wine is good for both your body and your brain.

CW Homepage an investment like no other

Join our wine newsletter

Wine investment insights delivered straight into your inbox