Awards and citations:


1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for investdrinks.org

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award




Saturday, 25 June 2016

Brexit ..... now gloomy Saturday


24 hours on from Leave's victory I remain numbed and shocked that the UK Referendum (23rd June 2016) opted to pull out of the EU after 43 years of membership, albeit often rather lukewarm. 

It feels like a nightmare, except that it remains fully in place when you wake up. There is never the comforting thought that it was all a dream. Furthermore 24 hours on the implications of the vote continue to sink in.

The UK is now deeply divided with much of the country outside of London and wealthy parts of the south east, Manchester, Liverpool, Scotland and Northern Ireland voting to leave. During the day it became clear that Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish government will be pushing for a second independence referendum as Scotland voted decisively to stay in the EU. If there is a second referendum Scotland may well vote for independence in order to try to stay in the EU. Whether the EU will allow Scotland to join as a separate state is quite another matter. There have also been calls for a United Ireland referendum as a majority of the Northern Ireland population wanted to stay.      

Bizarrely Boris Johnson claimed after the result and Cameron's resignation that "This does not mean the United Kingdom will be any less united." (24th June 2016). Clearly Johnson and I are not on the same planet or this was a massive dose of wishful thinking, especially as he had been roundly booed and insulted by a crowd of Remainers on leaving his house that morning.  

Amazingly Johnson is now saying there is no rush to file for EU divorce. If he really thought Independence from the EU was such a good idea you would think he would want the UK to 'take control' as soon as possible. It has been suggested that Johnson saw Leave as another jolly jape and is only now waking up to the dire consequences. 

During the campaign I was advised by a fellow #winelover 'to get a life' and that the result would make little difference. I'm not sure whether he was thinking very long term but, if it is the short term, events  on Friday show this was clearly a piece of Candide insouciance. 

Further to Cameron resigning, Jeremy Corbyn now faces further challenges to his leadership of the Labour Party. Sterling has fallen considerably against the dollar – down from close on 1.50 to 1.36 and the Euro from just over 1.30 to 1.23 and our credit rating has been cut by Moodys to negative. We will see next week what the currency markets and the stock exchange do after a weekend to reflect on the implications of Thursday's vote.

Cameron is right to resign. He lost the referendum that he had no need to call and should never have been held. It was called to calm internal Conservative Party tensions as well as trying to head off the threat of UKIP.  Gambling with the UK's prosperity. Then having called the referendum Cameron and the Remain campaign failed to promote a vision and really positive case for the UK to stay in the EU. Instead they relied on the fearful consequences that won't resonate if you are poor and already fearful of your job prospects.

Leading Leave Tory politicians did try to get Cameron to stay so that he could lead the delicate UK negotiations. Ian Duncan Smith stressed that Cameron's good relations with other EU leaders would be a great positive! Not surprisingly Cameron decided that he wasn't going to be the patsy and that Leavers would have to sort out the crap for themselves.   

It is difficult to know how far those who voted to leave were convinced by Leave's dubious claims and lies. Johnson has a history of lying and making up stories as he himself has admitted. The ideal CV for the next likely Prime Minister! Farage has already distanced himself from the claim that if Leave won there would be money available from the '£350 million we send to the EU every week' to fund the NHS.


Equally Leave are also 'clarifying' that they weren't claiming to reduce immigration but only control it – whatever that might mean.....  

The sound of chickens coming home to roost.....        

Friday, 24 June 2016

Welcome to Black Friday .......

Despite our EU divorce Jim's Loire 
will continue to spend plenty of time in the Loire





A deeply depressing result – the UK seeks divorce from European Union after 43 years.

Predictable results:

Cameron resigns as Prime Minister 

Sterling falls against most currencies – at one point was over 10% down on dollar – but has recovered during the morning as has the Euro. Stock market also falling before recovering a little. 

 £ against the US dollar

 £ against the €


Likely results:
Scotland will push for another independence referendum after Scotland voted 62% to 38% in favour of remaining in the EU. Chances must be high that the Scots will opt for independence so that they can stay in the EU.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Tasting Sancerre while UK votes

The cross above Chavignol looking 
towards the town of Sancerre


Off to Decanter's offices today to taste white Sancerre, while the UK votes on whether to stay on the EU or gamble on life being better outside led by Farage, Gove and Johnson.  

I've voted to Remain in the European Union. 

Do vote – in a referendum every vote counts.