■ UK wine duty rose in line with inflation on 29 October 2018, but Chancellor Phillip Hammond froze duty on beer, spirits and cider. The Wine & Spirit Trade Association ( WSTA) called the move ‘grossly unfair’, saying that an effective 3.1% rise in wine duty would cost the industry an extra £90 million.
■ Prince Robert of Luxembourg, fourth generation owner of Château Haut-Brion, has become the 12th member of Primum Familiae Vini (PFV), a collective that brings together some of the world’s ‘leading wine families’. Other members include Joseph Drouhin, Familia Torres, Pol Roger, Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Vega Sicilia, Antinori and Symington Estates. Prince Robert said he was ‘ truly honoured and thrilled’.
■ California winery Qupé has been sold to Vintage Wine Estates by Terroir Life for an unnamed sum. The deal includes the producer’s brand and wine stocks, with winemaker Bob Lindquist staying on in a consulting role, 36 years after he founded the winery in California’s Santa Maria Valley.
■ Wines grown and produced on the 16th-century estate of Château de Chambord, near Blois in the Loire Valley, will be sold to the public for the first time in 2019 – in time for the estate’s 500th anniversary. The vines are planted over 13ha of the château’s grounds – which cover an area the size of central Paris – and represent its first working vineyard since the French Revolution. 4ha are planted with a rare grape varieties Romorantin and Menu Pineau, while the rest consists of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Gamay vines.
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