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2015 year in review and hopes and fears for 2016: Roger Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

Published:  23 December, 2015

The celebrated Roger Jones of Michelin-star restaurant The Harrow at Little Bedwyn had a great 2015 with sales up 20%! He

How was 2015 for you and your business?

Very good for my main business which is The Harrow at Little Bedwyn with sales up by 20% , this is very much down to a great team that we have and the huge support I get from my wife. We also hugely increased our consultancy work with many new companies using us for their events promoting 'food & wine matching' including New Zealand Winegrowers, WOSA, Enotria and Negociants, as well as of course Wine Australia who were the first company to use us originally with The Restaurant Australia Concept.

What do you think were the most significant issues and trends that occurred in 2015?

No doubt English sparkling wine has been a huge star, now easily matching brand champagne for quality and price. There has also been some good plus points coming from Eastern European countries such as Greece and Turkey and I had a very interesting wine trip to Morocco and was pleasantly surprised by the quality, especially the whites. Food wise we continue, just like wine, to see simpler, cleaner, more focused plates. Also so many female MW's now coming on the scene which is so refreshing.

What opportunities are you most looking forward to in 2016?

The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium in May is going to be huge for the UK, not as big as the Rugby World cup but it is really exciting that it is being held in this country, and highlights how far The English and Welsh Vineyard Associations have come. I am also looking forward to returning to South Africa for 3 weeks in January- here is another country that has come alive with a brilliant selection of young surfers combining lifestyle with making great wines. I am also very excited about being involved in this year's Restaurant Australia at the Annual Wines of Australia Tasting, with a brand new concept which is currently a closely kept secret. 

What are the biggest challenges to face the trade in 2016?

As a restaurateur I hope to see a continued growth in business, we have to be aggressive in our marketing and deliver well, we have to go that extra mile. On the wine side I feel that we will have to try and look at exporting our wines as this year has been such a great vintage. As we cannot call our sparkling wine Champagne maybe the duty should be reduced similar to Cider! 

Who are the people, retailers and companies to watch in 2016?

I have been very interested in seeing how well the so called smaller companies have been growing this year and I look forward to continue to work with them, such as SWIG and Dreyfuss Ashby.

What are you doing for Christmas and New Year?

Working mostly in the kitchen, giving our staff a Christmas and New Year's break, luckily I have called in our two children who are home from University to fill the gaps.

Favourite Tipple over Christmas and New Year's Ever?

Oddly enough as I treat the rest of the year like Christmas I am more of a Nun over this period.

Favourite Film?

I have to please the wife and watch Love Actually and Notting Hill numerous times! 

Ideal day out over Christmas?

Family & friends at home.

What do you want from Father Christmas?

I've sent him my list but its unlucky to share.

Any New Year's resolutions?

To encourage more consumers to drink English & Welsh sparkling wine.