Terry's blog, updated regularly, so you won't miss anything important in the world of wine.
Fair trade is an arrangement designed to help producers achieve sustainable and equitable trade relationships, it aims to ensure that certain standards are met in the production and supply of a product or ingredient. The focus is on ensuring workers rights are protected and safe working conditions and fair pay apply. For the consumer it means they are purchasing high quality, ethically produced products.
Over 50 countries around the world produce wine, but only four subscribe to Fairtrade labelling – South Africa, Argentina, Chile and Lebanon.
There are 38 Fairtrade producer organisations across the world covering these countries representing nearly 5500 farmers and workers. South Africa is the largest producer of Fair Trade wine globally , and accounts for around two – thirds of Fairtrade wine sales. Chile and Argentina are supported by 14 certified organisations which includes over 600 wine growers.
It is reported that 93% of the UK public recognise the Fairtrade logo, 1 in 4 cups of coffee in the UK is Fairtrade. On that subject the club is pleased to promote Fairtrade Vending Limited on our Trade page. Fairtrade Vending are well established , based in Medway Kent and supply a wide range of vending and beverage machines including UK produced compact bean to cup coffee machines plus ingredients and consumables.
It is reported that alcohol consumption fell in Europe during the first wave of the Covid pandemic except for the UK. We were the only country where there was an increase across 21 countries. This analysis is based on surveying almost 32,000 people across Europe including 836 in the UK between April and July last year.
In Ireland average alcohol consumption stayed more or less the same while there were reductions in every other country. The biggest reduction was in Albania, Finland, Italy, Slovakia and Spain. The report concludes that drinking is a ‘maladaptive coping strategy’ used to deal with the psychological effects of social isolation, insecurity and money problems. Looks like our European friends are better at coping than we are.
Some more figures for you – on average we each consume, annually in the UK - 120 bottles of wine or 403 pints of beer. Britons get through a yearly average of 11.4 litres of pure alcohol, the EU average is 11.3. Top of the table is The Czech republic at 14.4 litres per annum and at the bottom is Saudi Arabia at just 0.2 litres. The UK comes out 16th in a table of 52 countries. A sobering thought is that the UK spends a greater proportion of its health budget treating alcohol-related diseases at 3% compared to an average elsewhere of 2.4%.
With the warmer weather on the horizon, don’t be surprised to see people enjoying their wine out of a can this Spring and Summer. Wine in cans is huge in the USA and has been growing 50% year on year, more or less since 2016 in Western Europe. There is now a dedicated production facility in the North East which can produce 17000 cans of wine an hour !
Typical wine in a can styles, range from rose to citrus driven whites made from pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc grapes and a range of red varietals. Some of them absolutely delicious.
Standard size is between 200 – 250 ml, they offer convenience , portion control, fast chilling and are great for picnics and BBQ’S plus are environment friendly.
Here’s to Summer ........
So sad to hear of the recent passing of John Fitzpatrick. I worked with John in the mid to late 70’s when he joined the wine trade after his early retirement from playing football for Manchester United. He shared lots of stories with me about his playing career and we did many wine tasting events together in Scotland including some memorable visits to Shetland.
Rest In Peace John.
I am sure that many of us can quickly recall what is probably the best lager in the world, such is the power and genius of advertising. We are currently promoting a wine which actually has been voted the best rose in the world by the Global Masters Drinks organisation for 2020.
Clos Du Temple is an icon amongst rose wines. Produced by Gerard Bertrand in the heart of Languedoc, the birthplace of rose wines. Cultivated from vines following biodynamic principles, produced from four red grapes _ Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre and one white grape – Viognier. Clos du Temple is aged in barrels for six months. Beautifully presented , this outstanding wine would fit the bill for a really special gift this coming Christmas. Read more...
There is a definite trend during normal times towards low and no - alcohol consumption. It is reported that wine with less than 8% alcohol by volume is one of the fastest growing sectors in the wine trade. Prior to lockdown it was estimated a third of drinkers were cutting down on their alcohol consumption for health reasons with nearly a quarter of drinkers aged between 18 – 24 completely abstaining.
There are some excellent flavoured and non - flavoured distilled spirits which are completely alcohol free, which are becoming increasingly popular. It is estimated that low and no-alcohol beer will grow from a 2 per cent market share to a 6 per cent share in the next five years. A recent report suggested that more than one in three people surveyed, had either stopped drinking during lockdown or reduced how often they drink, with over 5 per cent stopping drinking entirely.
Of course there is the other side of the coin regarding excessive drinking during lockdown, with a reported one in five people (over eight million) drinking more frequently.
But for now let’s dwell on the positive.
The UK Wine market is worth over £14 billion and is the world’s largest per capita importer of wine, accounting for some 20% of the world’s total wine imports.
The average cost of a bottle of wine is in the region of £6. It is reported that about half of wine buyers (over 9.5 million) in the UK refuse to buy wine above this price with the average bottle costing £5.93. Of this HMRC takes £3.22 in wine duty and VAT
If my sums are right that’s a whopping 54% ! Taxes on wine have increased by 40 per cent in the last decade as opposed to beer which have increased 16%.
Surely wine drinkers have been punished enough with this unreasonable level of tax. It’s enough to encourage us to drive over to Calais and fill up with our quota of duty free, or convert to the increasing array of non alcoholic , no duty wines and distilled spirits, and on that note .... watch this space.. ’
The definition of Quality is the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something. It is a word used all the time with regards to wine and spirits and rightly so.
Gone are the days when you would often buy a dodgy bottle of wine in your local off licence or supermarket.
We have some excellent bodies and organisations ensuring our drinks are of the highest standard and quality.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have been responsible for ensuring EU wine regulations are enforced in England Wales and Northern Ireland. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) apply the strictest of rules governing the production of whisky, new rules this year applied to the expansion of the range of casks permitted to mature scotch whisky.
The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is the largest global provider of wine, spirits and sake qualifications. They have led the design and delivery of wine and spirit education for five decades. With four progressive levels of study in more than 70 countries and over 15 languages. According to statistics there are 390 Masters Of Wine working in over 30 countries. They encompass winemakers, buyers , journalists, shippers, business owners, academics and wine educators.
The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) campaign for a vibrant and sustainable wine and spirit industry helping to build a future in which alcohol is produced, sold and enjoyed responsibly. They represent over 300 companies producing, importing, exporting, transporting and selling wines and spirits in the United Kingdom.
Drinkaware is an independent charity working to reduce alcohol misuse in the UK. They advise on safe and healthy levels of alcohol intake. Sadly there are many disturbing statistics relating to alcohol impairment and misuse which we should all be aware of.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was founded in 1947 and promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. Their quality (that word again) management system (QMS) is an acclaimed framework for quality management, in use by over one million organisations across the world. They also include environmental (EMS) and health and safety ( OHSM) processes and procedural standards, and how important are they to us all these days. Seldom come across in the wine and spirits industry. How good would it be
To know that a wine grower in the Medoc , a wine and spirit importer in Massachusetts and a vineyard equipment producer in Melbourne are all conforming to the same set of best business practices.
Now that would be Quality....
Last month sadly saw the very last screening of This Week, by far in my opinion the best political show on TV. Hosted by Andrew Neil who’s biting satire made Thursday evenings a viewing must. Andrew made regular references to well know political figures drinking Blue Nun wine .... For those of us who are of a generation where Blue Nun was our first introduction to drinking wine, I am sure this would have brought back many memories.
First launched in 1923 by H. Sichel Sohne (Mainz). In the 1950’s it was exported and advertised as a wine that could be drunk throughout an entire meal. Classified as a Liebfraumilch, it was to become hugely popular and can be said to have been the first wine to have been produced and effectively marketed with an international mass market in mind.
Blue Nun met the demand for easy drinking semi sweet wine and really took off in the USA and UK after the war.
Selling at a premium price, at its peak in the mid 80’s annual sales in the USA were 1.25 million cases with another 750,00 cases sold elsewhere.
The brands popularity declined in the 90’s with the general decline in easy drinking German wines. It was purchased by the Mosel based family firm Langguth in 1996. They repositioned the brand, changing the grapes to 30% Riesling, making it less sweet. It was reclassified from a Liebfraumilch to a regular QBA.
In 2001 the brand was extended to include an Ice wine, a Languedoc Merlot and Spanish rose. In 2009 Blue Nun Gold was launched, a sparkling wine containing flakes of 22 carat gold aimed at young women drinkers.
The London Wine Fair has recently come and gone. For those not privileged to work in the wine and spirits trade, it’s an annual 3 day event which brings together wine and spirit producers , merchants and service providers with members of the trade involved in the sale and purchase of wine and spirits.
If you are not going for a specific reason, just for a general look and tasting it is a bit akin to letting children loose in a sweet shop. There is so much going on. Set on two floors at Olympia exhibition centre, you can spend a whole day there and not see it all.
Some of the stands which caught my eye were a Japanese Saki promotion with probably more varieties of Saki in one place than anywhere in Japan including an interesting selection of sparkling Saki. A mobile gin distillery on the back of a truck which can come to you. Thunder Toffee and Rhubarb and Ginger flavoured Vodka produced and marketed by Jon Lilly of Scream Retail Limited.
I met Eduardo Gomes-Helena winemaker of Quinta Do Javali who are looking for a distributors for their exceptional Port in the UK. I also visited The Portuguese Fine Wine Co, The knotted Vine Company and Ginking botanically infused fizz stands, All good stuff ....
The star of the show for me was a gold medal winning 2017 Muller - Therese Trockenbeerenauslese.
Pleased I tasted it while I still had my taste buds in place. Outstanding.
Finally I met Alan Gordon, Managing Director of The Aroma Academy. They are Global leading sensory training and marketing specialists. With expertise in Whisky, Bourbon, Wine, Gin and Rum. They provide skills both of value to the public and members of the trade and are setting the standard for this unique service. Talking of standards if you run a business of any size (not retail) IMSM provide award winning consultancy for ISO implementation. They offer a fixed fee service and are recognised for excellence with a 5 star rating by EFQM, the European Foundation for Quality Management.