This is one of the most difficult reports I have written. Looking back over last year's events in the vineyards and wineries across the world, there is no common theme. It was a year of contrasts. Nature threw everything at the vines, from devasting fires in Australia and California to drought in Portugal and mildew in Spain. But many growers, restricted by local lockdowns, were able to spend valuable time with their families tending the vineyards by hand in the fresh air.
This has made 2020 quite a special year and there have been some excellent success stories. Our early tastings from England, Greece, Alsace and Bordeaux are showing great promise. Look out for these wines later in the year, along with some new exciting finds for our Exhibition label: the first rosé to qualify for our flagship range from Provence and a new Marlborough pinot noir.
The buyers are now used to 'travelling' to their suppliers virtually, tasting extensively from their home kitchens, keeping in touch with the latest news and trends that are happening in their regions. The reports that follow, all authored by the individual buyers, provide members with an incredible depth of information and intelligence.
I'd like to finish with a quote from Nikos Karavitakis from Crete: 'overall, we will remember 2020 as a vintage of struggle and pain. The wines, though, will be here to remind us that even out of the most difficult circumstances we, as winemakers, can produce something memorable.'