Heathrow sparkles as night-time falls on the Neponset

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

p1160536I’m looking out over the Neponset River in Quincy, Massachusetts from my very interim Moodie Davitt Report Bureau.

I’m here in South Boston to further my research on one of duty free’s most famous sons. More of that in coming months. It’s dusk here in Quincy, ‘City of Presidents; (two US Presidents were born here, John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams; while the city was also the birthplace of John Hancock, a President of the Continental Congress and the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence) and it’s a lovely sight indeed.

Tomorrow I’m going to visit the United States Naval & Shipbuilding Musuem. Shipbuilding, mainly at the Fore River Shipyard, was another integral part of the Quincy economy. Sailing ships were built in the city over many years, including the only seven-masted schooner ever built, Thomas W. Lawson, a steel-hulled giant that hauled coal and oil along the East Coast. It would be destroyed by a storm in the Isles of Scilly, off the south-western coast of England in 1907, killing all but two of the crew and causing the first large marine oil spill.

Boston Logan International Airport is a delight to fly into. I always have a feeling of dread before I land at a US airport, fearing the intimidatory worst at immigration. I need not have worried. The officer in question was rigorous certainly but friendly enough and certainly efficient. From landing to getting into my cab to the hotel took me less than 20 minutes. Maybe Sunday is a good day to land here because it looked eerily quiet.

flying-into-bostonboston-airportwelcome-to-bostonThe same couldn’t be said of London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3, which was humming. Today, as is my habit, I spent quite a lot of time in the wine department, on this occasion to advance my research on a new wine store review column I will be starting next month (details soon).

There are some good wines on offer at the World Duty Free store but the assortment is strangely haphazard, the adjacencies sometimes curious and the merchandising uninspired. Even the Fine Wines area (part of it temperature controlled behind glass, the balance standing up on conventional floor units) lacks tender loving care. If you’re going to sell expensive wines then it would be nice to see more information about them (Robert Parker or Wine Spectator scores, for example; or a personalised buyer’s comment). The area just has a feeling of being there.

fine-wine-glass fine-wine-standingWhat I did like though was the Champagne offer. It strikes me that the Champagne houses have done more than most to embrace the travel retail opportunity and to tailor their offer (or at least their packaging) to appeal to those on the move. Look at the brilliant Veuve Clicquot travel skus, for example, below.

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Or how about this brilliant packaging from Moët & Chandon?champagne-moet

Or this from Taittinger?

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Or this ‘baby Lanson’ at point of sale, all dressed up with somewhere to go?

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Lovely. And look at all the colour and vibrancy below. Wine is a category that demands effort, otherwise why should travellers bother? At Heathrow, Champagne shows plenty of fizz, but table wine falls a little flat. champagne-colour-3 champagne-colour2

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