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Chris Losh

The Losh Cause – Where the monopolies have got it right

2 December 2008 | Chris Losh

The discount culture in the UK and other European wine markets has resulted in reduced choice and hampered opportunities to trade consumers up to better wines. In contrast, writes Chris Losh, the retail monopoly system in Nordic countries fosters greater discernment among consumers and encourages trial of new and interesting wines. Is there something the so-called ‘free’ wine markets can learn from their Nordic counterparts?... 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 - Condemnation by insinuation

23 September 2008 | Chris Losh

Channel 4's Dispatches show ruffled some wine industry feathers last week, but touched on some important issues facing the sector.... 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 – French growers growing angry

12 August 2008 | Chris Losh

With sales falling at home and abroad, the implementation of EU wine reforms imminent and the prospect of even tighter regulation on wine marketing in France, it is not hard to see why emotions among French wine producers have once again boiled over. Chris Losh argues that some contraction of French wine production will be no bad thing but believes the Government should not be passing legislation restricting more commercially astute operators from moving forwards.... read more

The Losh Cause – Rioja: White noise

31 July 2008 | Chris Losh

Spain’s premier wine region, Rioja, has been in heated debate over the addition of new white grape varieties to those allowed under the Rioja denomination. The introduction of several almost extinct local varieties has been widely accepted but, writes Chris Losh, the addition of the ubiquitous Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to the region’s list of permitted white grapes has proved far more controversial.... read more

The Losh Cause – Inflationary pressures

17 June 2008 | Chris Losh

Inflation and economic uncertainty is hitting consumer markets across Europe, with retailers telling wine companies that value is more important to shoppers than ever. But Chris Losh points out that even during the good times, the wine sector has been too price-led, and with consumers now tightening their belts it will be that much harder for wine companies to push through necessary price increases.... read more

Comment - The Losh Cause – Small world

3 June 2008 | Chris Losh

The London International Wine Fair always offers a wide variety of exhibitors, including a healthy representation from less well-known regions. Chris Losh took the opportunity of last month’s fair to investigate some smaller but clearly ambitious wine producers from India, the Pacific north-west of the US and Israel.... read more

Comment - Can Brintex make Distil more than a sideshow?

20 May 2008 | Chris Losh

This year sees the launch of Distil, a dedicated spirits show to complement the London International Wine Fair. But, writes Chris Losh, having already failed to secure enough big spirits producers as exhibitors, organisers Brintex will find it hard to attract the right kind of visitors to its new show, suggesting a difficult first year.... 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

The Losh Cause - Gin’s future at stake in explosion of flavour

15 April 2008 | Chris Losh

Ensuring that a category actually tastes how it should, might seem a fairly fundamental requirement in the drinks industry. But are there brands exploiting the name of gin and undermining its long-term health? Chris Losh believes so and makes a call for stricter adherence to gin’s heritage.... 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

The Losh Cause – Binge drinking makes industry an easy target

4 March 2008 | Chris Losh

The binge-drinking debate is once again grabbing the headlines in the UK, as supermarket chains look to react to widespread criticism over the discounting of alcohol. Chris Losh believes the drinks industry is an easy target for a government looking for simple solutions to complex problems, but nevertheless remains prone to shooting itself in the foot.... 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

The Losh Cause – Bordeaux’s en primeurs: Risky business

7 February 2008 | Chris Losh

The fevered atmosphere pervading Bordeaux as it awaits reaction to this year’s en primeurs puts Chris Losh in mind of an unfortunate experience that befell him two years ago. Buying en primeur can be a risky business at the best of times, but Chris didn't know the half of it.... 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

Comment - The Losh Cause – Ageing disgracefully

20 December 2007 | Chris Losh

While it may be acceptable for people to be a little vague about their age, Chris Losh believes loose terminology about age on bottles of wine or spirits is deliberately misleading consumers, and should be stamped out.... read more

UK: Cockspur secures cricket sponsorship deal

3 December 2007 | Chris Losh

Cockspur rum has finalised a GBP1m (US$2.1m) three-year marketing deal with English Test cricket grounds.... 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

Comment - The Losh Cause – Fairtrade wine has a fair way to go

15 November 2007 | Chris Losh

Chris Losh attended three UK wine trade events this week and found that the most interesting and perhaps the most important – a tasting of Fairtrade wines – attracted the poorest turnout, indicating that the trade is yet to wake up to the significance and opportunities offered by the growing interest in Fairtrade products.... read more

Comment - The Losh Cause – Green is good

23 October 2007 | Chris Losh

Green issues are taking centre-stage in the wine industry at the moment, with producers across the world working to develop more environmentally friendly products and practices, and find ways to communicate their green credentials to consumers. Chris Losh believes they are on the right track.... 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

The Losh Cause – Australia must not forget the basics

4 September 2007 | Chris Losh

Australia’s wine glut worries appear well and truly over but that does not mean the country is out of the woods. Now facing its third small harvest in three years, wine is actually going to be in short supply. Some believe this offers the chance to focus on the higher reaches of the market and less on the entry-level volume business. Chris Losh has misgivings.... read more

COMMENT: Action not reaction in UK

23 August 2007 | Chris Losh

Anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol abuse has once again grabbed the headlines in the UK. But Chris Losh believes that while the industry has made great strides with regard to social responsibility, the Government has been more focused on courting public opinion than on finding long-term solutions to serious health and social problems.... read more

Comment: Diluted Fischer Boel reforms still have some punch

6 July 2007 | Chris Losh

Some watering down of the Fischer Boel wine reform proposals was inevitable but Chris Losh believes that too much ground has been given to the powerful Mediterranean lobby. Nevertheless, even in their diluted state the reforms could represent a new beginning for the European wine industry provided – and here’s the rub – they are properly implemented.... 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 - Champenois mull over expansion as demand rises

5 June 2007 | Chris Losh

Champagne has a problem very few wine regions currently face. It does not make enough wine to meet demand. Many believe the only way forward is to expand the vineyard area but, writes Chris Losh, expansion would be a political minefield and not all agree that it is the best course of action in any case.... read more

The Losh Cause – Sommeliers, distillers and cowboys

24 May 2007 | Chris Losh

The focus at this year’s London International Wine & Spirit Fair was more heavily on the off-trade than ever before, confirming for Chris Losh that the organisers have all but abandoned attempts to target the on-premise sector. And while he understands that it makes sense, it has clearly put him in a nostalgic mood.... 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