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Chris Losh

Focus - Any Port in a storm for Portuguese wine

13 October 2009 | Chris Losh

Those who have visited the Douro valley in Portugal will agree that it is a unique place. But scratch beneath the surface of this beautiful region and that uniqueness runs deep. So deep, indeed, that the laws of market forces appear not to apply. Chris Losh takes a look at the beneficio system, and the hornets nest it has stirred up in the Douro.... read more

Focus - Time for wine on the internet?

7 July 2009 | Chris Losh

Late last month, just-drinks reported that, according to the head of Vinexpo, the internet would never become an alternative to traditional sales circuits for wine. Try telling that to the e-commerce sector. Chris Losh considers the potential offered from e-tailing, going forward.... read more

Focus - Trouble at the top but not a meltdown

9 June 2009 | Chris Losh

The drinks sector boasts some big-ticket, luxury products, like very old single malts and the most exclusive Bordeaux wines, and some very wealthy, high end consumers to go with them. Chris Losh looks at how this end of the market is faring during the downturn, and to what degree the big spenders are cutting back.... read more

Focus - Champagne looks beyond recession to long-term growth

14 May 2009 | Chris Losh

The downturn has not surprisingly caused a dramatic slide in Champagne sales but the Champenois are less perturbed than some might expect, continuing to plan for long-term growth through the expansion of the vineyard area. But Chris Losh wonders whether extending the appellation is really the best way forward.... read more

The Losh Cause – Fire damage

12 March 2009 | Chris Losh

In addition to exacting a terrible human cost, the recent bushfires in Australia caused significant damage to the vineyards of the Yarra Valley in Victoria. And Chris Losh wonders whether the fires may represent the final straw for some of the region’s beleaguered wine producers.... read more

Focus - China growth cannot hide US meltdown

26 February 2009 | Chris Losh

Both China and the US have in different ways been exciting growth markets for the drinks sector in recent years but for obvious reasons neither is quite what they were. Chris Losh looks at how both markets are faring in the downturn and assesses what we can expect from each in the year ahead.... read more

The Losh Cause - Australian wine

27 January 2009 | Chris Losh

The best laid plans, as they say, can go awry. However, for Chris Losh, the Australian wine industry’s Direction to 2025 plan has not only been overtaken by events in the country’s main markets but was overly optimistic and ill-conceived to begin with.... read more

Focus - Global warming: Wine producers face new world order

13 January 2009 | Chris Losh

The doom and gloom of the economic downturn has for many eclipsed the long-term global problem of climate change, at least temporarily. But, writes Chris Losh, wine producers could be facing far greater turmoil for many years to come, after this and future recessions have come and gone, as a result of global warming.... read more

The Losh Cause - Christmas madness

19 December 2008 | Chris Losh

Christmas is naturally a time when alcohol retailers, pubs and restaurants do well but it is also a time of aggressive price promotion among retailers. Chris Losh bemoans the damage being done to the wine trade by aggressive discounting in the off-trade and asks why price promotion becomes even more frenzied at Christmas when even in a downturn the market will be relatively buoyant.... read more

Focus - Armagnac’s turn to put Cognac in the shade

11 December 2008 | Chris Losh

Neither economic gloom nor the presence of an illustrious neighbour appear to be overshadowing Armagnac, France’s less well known brandy denomination. Chris Losh found the region’s producers to be in an upbeat mood.... read more

The Losh Cause - Downturn casts shadow over Chilean wine industry

11 November 2008 | Chris Losh

A deteriorating global economy means those who have invested heavily in developing Chile’s wine industry face an uncertain future, writes Chris Losh.... read more

The Losh Cause: Wine firms may rue chasing volume

28 October 2008 | Chris Losh

The downturn enveloping national economies may not be as cataclysmic as some fear, but the core wine market should expect to be hit hard, argues Chris Losh.... read more

Focus - Positive outlook for US in face of economic turmoil

14 October 2008 | Chris Losh

The strong growth in the US market for wines and spirits is certain to be checked by the financial crisis. But Chris Losh found wines and spirits companies to be relatively sanguine about the US in spite of the current turmoil, anticipating that the switch to at-home entertaining and a need for affordable indulgence will bolster sales during difficult times.... read more

The Losh Cause – Vodka must shift out of neutral

28 August 2008 | Chris Losh

Vodka is soon to take over from Scotch whisky as the most consumed spirit in the UK. But Chris Losh sees its success as a triumph of marketing over substance, and wonders whether consumer interest can be sustained if drinkers, like bartenders, begin looking to spirits with more flavour, product heritage and variety to offer, like gin and rum.... read more

The Losh Cause – Fair question

7 May 2008 | Chris Losh

In anticipation of the London International Wine Fair, Chris Losh has put together a few questions, touching on some of the imponderable puzzlements of the drinks industry, for visitors to mull over, or perhaps fume over, on their way to the show. True to form, Chris has his own answers, which are likely to be as thought-provoking as the questions.... read more

Focus - Argentina on crest of a wave

3 April 2008 | Chris Losh

Having seen Chile blaze a trail in export markets, Argentina is now asserting itself in the international wine market. Moreover, writes Chris Losh, while Argentina boasts many of the same positive attributes that have benefited Chile, such as a fantastic climate and plenty of investment, it has the scale to exceed even Chile’s formidable performance.... read more

Spotlight - Cognac at pains to avoid boom and bust

25 March 2008 | Chris Losh

The Cognac market – or at least the VSOP-and-above part of it – is riding the crest of a wave and will be finding it increasingly difficult to meet demand. But having seen booms and busts before, Chris Losh writes, the Cognac industry is reluctant to expand its vineyard area, and will instead look to cool demand for younger Cognacs in order to allow more spirit to be aged for superior qualities.... read more

Spotlight - Aussie on-trade campaign heralds age of region

26 February 2008 | Chris Losh

A new generic campaign from Wine Australia in the UK is looking to promote regionality and take consumers beyond the ‘brand Australia’ concept. While the move offers a chance to trade consumers up, writes Chris Losh, some in the trade remain sceptical, fearing it could undermine the accessibility which has been a cornerstone of Australia’s success in the UK.... read more

Drinks industry prepares to weather economic storm

25 January 2008 | Chris Losh

Warnings of a looming economic crisis are causing jitters in many consumer markets, and the drinks industry is no exception. Chris Losh assesses the mood among key players in the US, the UK and elsewhere.... read more

The Losh Cause – Predictive text for 2008

10 January 2008 | Chris Losh

just-drinks wine pundit Chris Losh turns clairvoyant to predict the big stories of 2008. Will our Nostradamus of the Spittoon be proved right? There is only one way to find out. Keep reading just-drinks!... read more

Analysis - Fortune strengthens Constellation's hand in wine market

29 November 2007 | Chris Losh

Constellation's US$885m purchase of Fortune Brands' wine portfolio further adds to the acquisitive US company's impressive line-up. Chris Losh believes the deal makes perfect sense for Constellation, and for Fortune Brands could be part of the company's preparation to enter the auction for Absolut vodka.... read more

Analysis: Constellation's high hopes for South Africa

9 October 2007 | Chris Losh

Following Constellation Brands’ announcement yesterday (8 October) that it plans to acquire the South African winery Flagstone, Chris Losh fears that Flagstone’s distinctive personality may be dulled by corporate homogenisation. But if it is allowed to retain its unconventional character, the move could be positive for both parties, and bringing Flagstone’s charismatic owner Bruce Jack into the fold could be a significant boon for Constellation’s Kumala brand.... read more

SPOTLIGHT: A Port is not just for Christmas

25 September 2007 | Chris Losh

The Port industry has managed to maintain volumes through a period of significant transition but growth remains hard to come by. Key to driving up sales, writes Chris Losh, will be establishing new consumption occasions and drinking styles for the Portuguese fortified wine, and convincing consumers that it can be enjoyed at any time of year, rather than simply at Christmas.... read more

Watered down wine reforms are a step in the right direction

5 July 2007 | Chris Losh

The European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel has unveiled the detailed plans for reform of the European wine sector, following a year of consultation. As expected, there has been some watering down of the reforms but, writes Chris Losh, they still represent a significant change in the way the EU supports its wine industry.... read more

The Losh Cause – Cognac, an ageless art

21 June 2007 | Chris Losh

Rémy Martin has unveiled its new offering – Coeur de Cognac – with customary Cognaçais pomp. But for Chris Losh, the company’s announcement of the launch says as much about the art of Cognac PR as it does about the art of selection and blending.... read more

Spotlight - Overpricing threat to Bordeaux en primeur market

8 May 2007 | Chris Losh

As Bordeaux châteaux prepare to release their 2006 en primeur prices, there are concerns that, carried away by the success of the extraordinary 2005 vintage, the Bordelais will overprice the altogether more modest 2006 wines. Chris Losh reports.... read more

Analysis: Constellation takes industry by surprise with Punch move

26 April 2007 | Chris Losh

The decision by Constellation to sell half of its UK distribution company Matthew Clark to Punch Taverns and form a joint venture with the pub retailer has left many in the industry scratching their heads. Chris Losh searches for the rationale behind the deal.... read more

Market conditions ripe for organic growths

1 March 2007 | Chris Losh

In spite of intense and mounting consumer interest in environmental issues and sustainable agriculture, organic wine is a comparatively undeveloped area of the market. But, writes Chris Losh, the current consumer zeitgeist and the marketing value inherent in establishing a strong point of difference for your product could change all that.... read more

Wising up on wine in UK restaurants

16 January 2007 | Chris Losh

A seminar featuring a host of on-trade experts, held during the annual New Zealand wine tasting which is taking place in London this week, had some salutary lessons for UK restaurateurs regarding their approach to marketing wine. Chris Losh listened in.... read more

Harvest Report 2006 – Spain and Portugal

8 November 2006 | Chris Losh

Kicking off just-drinks’ 2006 harvest reports from northern hemisphere wine regions, Chris Losh takes a look at the contrasting fortunes experienced this year by Spanish and Portuguese wine producers.... read more

The Losh Cause – Trusting your instincts

27 October 2006 | Chris Losh

For all the facts and figures quoted by marketing strategists, Chris Losh believes that intuition can sometimes be a more powerful weapon than a spreadsheet.... read more

The Losh Cause – South Africa needs stronger brands

9 October 2006 | Chris Losh

As they gather in London for their annual tasting, Cape wine producers have two rather unpalatable facts to contemplate – falling sales in the UK and the country’s failure to build its presence in the GBP5-plus category. Chris Losh believes the absence of strong power brands lies at the root of both problems.... read more

The Losh Cause – Seeking inspiration

27 September 2006 | Chris Losh

Chris Losh believes that in comparison with many other consumer goods markets, inspired innovation is in short supply in the drinks industry, because of its emphasis on production and a failure to think “outside the box”.... read more

The Losh Cause – Havana Clubs

18 August 2006 | Chris Losh

With the battle between Pernod Ricard and Bacardi over the name Havana Club entering a new phase following Bacardi’s decision to launch its own rum of the same name in the US, Chris Losh asks whether Bacardi’s move is a legitimate step by a wronged company or a cynical attempt to cash in on another brand’s success.... read more

The Losh Cause – Bordeaux's long shadow

17 July 2006 | Chris Losh

Bordeaux not only has the most famous, most expensive wines in the world but casts a broad shadow, much to the chagrin of its competitors. Chris Losh sympathises with Bordeaux’s less famous rivals as they struggle for share of voice, thereby demonstrating Bordeaux’s uncanny ability to garner column inches.... read more