Terry's blog, updated regularly, so you won't miss anything important in the world of wine.
The French government has recently announced that 200 million Euros will be made available to fund the destruction of surplus wine production with the aim to support struggling wine producers and shore up prices.
A fall in demand, for various reasons has led to over production and it is stated that one in three wine makers in the Bordeaux region are facing major financial difficulties. Changes in consumption habits, the cost of living crisis and the after effects of covid have caused serious difficulties for many growers. European support funding was initially 160 million Euros, which has been topped up by a further 40 million. Agriculture minister Marc Fesneau stated the money ‘was aimed at stopping prices collapsing and so that wine-makers can find sources of revenue again’ but he stressed that the industry needed to ‘look at the future, think about consumer changes ... and adapt’
The south West Languedoc region has also been hit hard by the fall in demand, in some cases the sale price being below the production price. This region is the country’s largest wine producing area, well known for its full bodied reds.
Other public funds are also available for example to encourage grape growers to switch into other products such as Olives. Europe last suffered massive over production in the mid - 2000’s, the so called ‘wine lake’ which caused the European Union to reform its farm policy to reduce over production which was being stimulated by its own subsidies.
In a recent development with growers, things have got very heated in places, with French producers not just complaining but taking action and destroying hundreds of crates of Spanish Cava in protest over cheap imports. Around 500 vintners hijacked lorries in the border town of Boulou destroying their contents in what has been described as ‘economic war’ A 79 year old wine grower from the town of Ouveillan told the press that ‘ The Spanish have lower charges and the right to put all the chemicals they want on their vines while we have the right to do nothing. As a result Spanish wine costs half as much as French wine. A hectolitre of Spanish wine costs 40 Euros whereas it is almost 80 Euros here’
Alcohol from destroyed wine can be sold for use in products including hand sanitiser, cleaning products and perfume.
Nobody can deny that bringing up small children can be extremely stressful. Experts have warned that reaching for a drink to cope with parenting could lead to problems further down the line. A study at the West Chester University in the US concluded that there was a light-heartedness around wine mum culture, where women joke about having three glasses of wine after a long hard day with a toddler for example.
The study was led by Dr Erin Hill and was centred around mums from both the UK and USA. Dr Hill commented that ‘ It helps women to bond, to feel camaraderie and social support when they might feel isolated or that they are not coping. But the potential negative effects of drinking too much alcohol are a risk and should not be overlooked’.
Researchers recruited 466 mothers and gave them a description of ‘Wine Mum’ culture – which means using alcohol to get through the day. The women were given a questionnaire about their drinking habits. Many of the mums were part of social media groups and shared their jokes regarding needing a drink to cope. Those who said they drank like a ‘wine mum’ were found to have a higher level of problematic drinking which included binge drinking, memory loss after drinking and feeling remorseful afterwards.
The research also concluded that this group of mums also had issues around food, such as skipping meals to avoid extra calories after drinking wine, or eating less so that they could feel the effects of alcohol faster after a stressful day.
Dr Hill said that ‘ The wine mum stereotype in popular culture may play a role in mothers’ decisions about alcohol use’ adding : ‘More research is needed, but it is possible drinking “ like a wine mum” may be related to problems with coping. Women really need to be self-aware about how much they are drinking’
A recent article suggests that Men are twice as likely as women to claim to be wine experts with 30 percent claiming they have used bluster when discussing wine, mainly to impress a date or look like they have a large amount of wine knowledge when they are drinking with friends. Fred Sirieix, star of Channel 4’s First Dates, said that the air of snobbery around wine ‘makes people think they have to be an expert in order to talk about it and enjoy it, when that is simply not the case’.
It also appears that a quarter of shoppers spend more than ten minutes trying to choose which wine to buy. About a third feel overwhelmed by the sheer choice while more than half admit that they don’t know which wines they like or dislike. One in six under 25’s take more than 15 minutes choosing which wine to buy. Incredibly the time we take deliberating over what to purchase in supermarket wine sections adds up to 50 million wasted hours per year!
So if all of this seems stressful, there is a simple answer – drink the wine (responsibly). Having the occasional drink can lower stress levels. A study in the journal of American College Of Cardiology suggests that regular low levels of alcohol were found to lead to long term reductions of stress signalling associated with heart attacks and strokes. Researchers studied data of more than 50,000 Americans and brain scans of 754. Scans showed that moderate drinkers had less stress signalling in the amygdala, a brain area associated with stress responses. Light to moderate drinkers also had fewer past heart attacks and strokes.
It appears that due to climate change wine is getting sweeter. Experts believe it will become harder to establish subtle aromas due to warmer temperatures giving wine extra sweetness with fewer traditional floral or earthly flavours, giving wines a higher alcohol content. Emma Sayer, a professor at Lancaster University has stated that ‘Climate change may show up some people who like to pontificate about wine without knowing what they are talking about. They will need to taste the difference in wines made from grapes grown in different temperatures and learn about new varieties. The most expensive exclusive wines may even change, as dryer wines from grapes suited to cooler climates with the right acidity become more rare and in demand’.
The traditional way of tasting and distinguishing aroma and flavour in wine could be affected as there could be a reduction of tannins due to higher temperatures. Climate change could lead to more rain in some countries. Producers are harvesting earlier, being selective in picking the healthiest grapes and adapting their fermentation techniques to account for climate changes. It seems that we will have to get used to more varieties such as those made from fungus resistant grapes, developed because traditional vines face a higher threat from mildew.
With things hotting up many people are adding ice to their wine which is causing negative comments from traditionalists and wine snobs. One of the world’s leading chefs, Michelin – starred David Chang has commented that whenever he puts ice in wine it ‘tastes like gold’. ‘Drinking wine with ice tastes like gold. It’s so delicious. I drink on ice right now. I don’t just want to drink it in the summer now, I want to drink it year round. The reason you’re drinking it it is not for culinary snobbery, it’s because it’s a beverage. So drink it as a beverage, not as an artefact.’ OWC echoes that.
Research by scientists has revealed that our perception of wine can be enhanced by matching it to flowers at the dining table. 32 people were asked to taste two red wines in rooms containing two different types of flower arrangements, or none. One of the wines, a rich Tannat from Uruguay, a wine considered to have a harsh-mouth feel and a strong aroma. When this wine was sipped while looking at delicate flowers people rated it less robust than a milder Australian Pinot noir. The arrangement which had this effect included champagne roses and light blue delphiniums – with their delicacy thought to have brought a similar taste to the wine. Using a brighter display of flowers had the opposite effect making the wine have a more robust flavour.
The study published in the International Journal Of Gastronomy and Food Science was led by Dr Herber Rodriques from the UK Centre for Excellence on Wine Education, Training and Research said ‘Wine is one of the world’s great sensory experiences, but this new research suggests that it can be influenced by factors outside of the glass, like flower arrangements.’
The 32 people recruited didn’t know which wines they were trying and that they were the same reds each time. In every room tasters tended to rate the Pinot noir as delicate but the far more robust Tannat was incorrectly rated as more delicate than the Pinot noir when accompanied by an arrangement containing pale, light and less colourful flowers. When the flowers on the table were brightly coloured or intense blooms such as red ranunculus the Tannat was described as complex and acidic.
So if it’s flowers and wine for a romantic evening, a birthday celebration, a wedding or event the following is a recommendation for the perfect wine and floral pairing.
A study at the University of Florida suggests that muscadine red wine has properties that can make skin look younger. Muscadine grapes come in various levels of sweetness. Contrary to the oblong shape in which most grapes grow, muscadine berries are large and round and range from green to black in colour. A study asked 17 women aged 40 to 67 to drink two glasses of muscadine wine made from grapes native to the south east of the USA. It was found to improve the elasticity of skin suggesting an anti ageing effect. The fly in the ointment so to speak is that the alcohol was taken out the wine so a glass of regular muscadine red wine may not work in this way. Obviously more research is required.
It does raise hopes of a new way of combating ageing, using natural plant compounds called polyphenols from the grapes used to make wine. Dr Lindsey Christman a co-author of the study said ‘ Our study suggests muscadine wine polyphenols have potential to improve skin conditions, specifically elasticity and transepidermal water loss in middle-aged and older women.’
A leading charity has called for a clampdown on cheap alcohol and junk food due to a surge in liver cancer deaths. The British Liver Trust states that unhealthy diets have fuelled a 40% rise in fatalities of the disease in the last decade,
Mortality rates have tripled from liver cancer since the early 70’s and it is now the fastest rising cause for cancer deaths in the UK. Trust chief executive Pamela Healy states that ‘The key drivers for the increase in cases and deaths are alcohol and obesity, too many of us are drinking too much alcohol and are overweight. We urgently need government action on both issues.’
It seems that ministers have delayed the introduction of rules banning supermarket multi-buy deals on foods high on fat, sugar and salt. The Association of Directors of Public Health also wants minimum pricing on alcohol similar to the measures introduced in Scotland in 2018. This pioneering minimum pricing policy is linked to a 13% drop in alcohol related deaths and hundreds of fewer hospitalisations.
There are about 6,000 cases of prime liver cancer diagnosed in the UK each year around 16 per day. Liver cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers. Only 13 per cent of those diagnosed with primary liver cancer live for five years or longer. The Department of Health says that it is committed to diagnosing 75% of all cancers early at stage 1 or stage 2 by 2028. The plan is to carry out community health checks for those with a high risk of cirrhosis. Obesity costs the NHS £6.5 billion a year and is the second biggest cause of cancer.
A recent article in the Daily Mail mentioned that Beefeater gin has gone back on sale in Russia. Named after the warders that guard the Towers Of London, MPs have expressed outrage at the French company that owns this quintessentially British export. Pernod Ricard who own the brand initially paused shipments to Russia last March. The mail has revealed that the French parent company has quietly decided to cancel the embargo meaning Beefeater Gin has reappeared on Supermarket shelves in Russia.
Alicia Kearns, chairman of the foreign affairs committee has commented ‘ Pernod Ricard profiting from an aggressive state responsible for war crimes is shameful’
There has been a marked response on social media bombarding the brands feed with videos of themselves pouring gin down the sink. One caption read ‘ do you enjoy your gin with just a hint of Ukrainian blood? If not, feel free to boycott all Pernod Ricard product ‘
Protesters from the Ukraine Solidarity Project also targeted the Tower Of London, Westminster and the Beefeater Factory in London calling for a boycott of this product.
Pernod Ricard advertise Beefeater gin on their Russian site, mentioning that it has five offices with around 300 employees in Russia. A spokesman for the firm commented that they had resumed shipping to Russia on a ‘limited basis because pre-existing stock in the country had now run out’
OWC Comment – we will inform you of any other drinks company/s, large or small we hear of carrying out this disgraceful resumption of supply practice.
A recent article published by Alice Brooker from the Spirits Business website provided some interesting reading with regards to sustainability involving many of the well known drinks giants.
The Good Shopping Guide’s ethical ranking of 36 spirits brands based on their ethical and sustainable practices shone a poor light on LVMH owned Belvedere vodka & Hennessy Cognac.
The brands were rated out of 100.
Belvedere and Hennessy received bottom ratings, scoring 32 points in the organic, animal welfare , vegetarian/vegan, political donations, and public record criticisms. The two brands were also marked down in the public record criticisms-plus criteria. Other low scores were given to Smirnoff vodka, Gordons gin and Captain Morgan rum. Each scoring 42 points. Absolute vodka, Havana Club rum and Malibu rum scored 46 points. Bacardi rum, Hendrick’s gin, Bombay Sapphire and Whitley Neill gin all achieved a score of 62.
Two brands shared top spot. They were Nc’nean whisky and Juniper Green gin, each scoring 92 points.
To measure the brand’s ethics and sustainability ratings, The Good Shopping Guide looked at the spirits brands’ environmental reports, which had to be dated in the last two years to attain a top rating. The brand’s relationship with nuclear power, genetic modification, organic farming, fossil fuels and sustainable materials. The brand’s animal welfare policies and whether it works with vegan and vegetarian products were also investigated. In addition the Guide looked at how the brand worked with people, ensuring brands were not funding political parties or involved in controversial investments.
Kat Alexander director of The Good Shopping Guide commented: "There is still work to do from some of the more established spirits brands, especially regarding environmental impact. In the near future , we hope to see progress across all ethical criteria we research".
As I have family connections in Leicestershire I am pleased to make you aware of the Leicester based social Enterprise Anthelios – Lager For Good. They have partnered with a local brewer to create a unique black lager called PERIGON made from surplus bread.
Anthelios work closely with FareShare Midlands to give surplus bread a new purpose. In the UK alone 24 million slices of bread are wasted every single day.
FareShare Midlands works in partnership with the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, FareShare, to source and redistribute good quality, in-date surplus food which would otherwise have gone to waste. Turning an environmental problem unto a social solution. Each day they receive good-to-eat surplus food from the food industry. Last year they redistributed over 7,000 tonnes of food that would have otherwise been wasted.
The food arrives into six warehouses. Where it is sorted and stored by dedicated teams of staff and volunteers. The supplies are then redistributed to more that 550 charities and community groups across the Midlands, including community centres, homeless shelters and children’s breakfast/school holiday clubs.
These local organisations then turn the food into food parcels and delicious meals for vulnerable people. Last year they delivered enough food to create 16 million meals. As well as food, the organisations they supply, provide vital support to people often facing challenging circumstances in living in poverty.
PERIGON Lager is a smooth lively deceptive black lager with great roasted malted flavours, approaching a burnt toast taste but in a good way. Balanced between cosy malt sweetness and a snap of bitterness. It comes in a 330ml bottle at 4.2 ABV and can be purchased direct at www.anthelios.co
What is admirable is that 30% of the profits go to fund support sessions for those on their alcohol and substance recovery journey. Anthelios is focused on providing support while breaking the stigma around seeking help. This is delivered in partnership with Dear Albert, an alcohol and substance recovery social enterprise.
Dear Albert delivers targeted support, combining innovative approaches with evidence based initiatives. Their proven approaches can be directed towards individuals and organisations that come into contact with those suffering active substance and alcohol misuse.
The story behind Anthelios is a Greek tale of incredible beauty that delights in the process of bringing purity to life. Anthelios comes from the Greek word Antheliona which is a luminous ring seen on a cloud opposite the sun. It celebrates the seasons and the ever changing relationship between light and darkness, air and water, fire and ice.
Just as the sun brings clarity to our days, Anthelios.co strives to achieve its goal of peeling away the impurities to deliver a superb lager that truly benefits those who can’t drink it.
As we start the new year it may be a new dawning for tequila, a recent article in CITYA.M. suggests that it is set to be the spirit of 2023.
Tequila sales, are reported to have a recent annual growth rate of 70 percent and figures by Allied Market Research suggest that tequila has generated more than £6.5bn in the last 12 months and is set to rise to £20bn by 2031. The image is changing from the seedy shot slamming stereotypical. To be enjoyed more slowly, to be appreciated, not simply downed. Indeed at the quality end tequila can fetch £100 plus per bottle, similar to premium whiskies. Instead of sipping and savouring like whisky the consumption is completely different it is consumed more like vodka at higher energy occasions which is a factor regarding its rapid sales growth as it doesn’t hang around long.
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant. Strictly controlled in accordance with ‘Declaracion de Denominacion de Origen Tequila’ or ‘Appellation of Origin Declaration’.
The different grades are determined by how long the spirit is aged in oak barrels. The three main grades are blanco, reposado and anejo.
Blanco or white tequila is the most common and is not aged, or aged for less that two months. Reposado, which means ‘rested’ is aged for a minimum of two months but less than a year. Anejo which means ‘aged’ or ‘vintage’ is aged for a minimum of one year but less than three years. Extra anejo is the luxury grade.
Named after the small town where the most delicious vino mezcal was produced. Mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants. Premium tequila is produced from the blue Weber agave plant from Jalisco, Mexico. It can take 5 -10 years to mature, with up to three years barrel ageing before it is bottled.
Some luxury brands to look out for are Don Julio 1942, Clase Azul, and Tequila Komos. Ultra-luxury, collectors brands including ReySol Anejo (£300), Gran Patron Burdeos (£500) and Asombrosco Del Porto Extra Anejo ( £1500)
Footnote – For those of you who have read my blog regarding the 2022 London Wine Trade Fair. The published attendance figure is 8822.... No further comment.
A recent study published in the journal – Nature suggests that the amount of alcohol people get through is significantly influenced by their genes. Researchers looked at genetic analysis for almost 3.4 million people who were asked how many alcoholic drinks they consumed on average. The study defined a drink as a 150ml glass of wine at 12 percent strength, a 350ml bottle of beer at 5 percent or a shot of spirit.
For those from a white European background, the 10 percent with the highest genetic score linked to drinking, put away more than seven drinks a week. The 10 percent with the lowest score drank less than four. Professor Dajlang Liu a co-author of the study said ‘ genes play an important partial role’ in how much we drink. The findings show people with a higher genetic likelihood were smokers and tended to consume more alcohol.
Online Wine Club comment - This may be so but with all the publicity explaining the detrimental impact of smoking and drinking to excess, the health burden is on the individual today, not in the past.
There have been two press articles recently regarding the health hazards of drinking too much for both the younger and older generation.
Regarding the latter... One article highlights the ‘wine o’clock’ lifestyle of the over 65’s who are at risk of liver cancer by over indulgence. Liver cancer cases are up 43% in a decade with deaths from the disease at a similar rate. Alcohol consumption has fallen in England in recent years but is highest amongst older people. The disease is hard to diagnose and obesity and drinking too much are the two main causes. NHS data shows a fifth of this age group drink most days, drinking beer, wine and cocktails to unwind. The British Liver Trust recently warned that many cancer cases are being confirmed only after the disease has spread, making it harder to treat.
A team from Seoul University has analysed a Korean national database for young adults who were asked about their alcohol consumption. Their findings suggest that people in their 20’s and 30’s who drink moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol may be more likely to suffer a stroke than those who drink smaller or zero amounts. Out of 1.5 million participants, a total of 3153 had a stroke during the study period of six years. As the number of years of moderate to heavy drinking increased so did the risk of a stroke. Younger people with two years of moderate to heavy drinking had a 19 percent increased risk. People with three years of the same had a 22 percent risk and people with four years, a 23 percent risk. These results were after researchers accounted for other factors that could affect the risk of a stroke such as high blood pressure, smoking and body mass index. They concluded that their study was limited by only including Korean people, meaning that the risk may not transfer to other ethnicities. However they calculated that those who consumed the equivalent of 13 UK units or more per week (the recommended ceiling is 14 units in the UK) were classed as heavy to moderate drinkers.
British charity Stroke, informs that one in five people who have strokes are now under the age of 55.
A choice of 12 spirits to savour this Halloween
Created at the Rum and Crab shack in St Ives, Cornwall. Dead Mans Fingers is a spiced rum with attitude. Blended with spices in many different flavours including Passion Fruit, Mango Pineapple, Banana and Coconut , stirs the soul and sets you up fair for whatever the wind blows in..
Produced by using a combination of both Guyanese and Trinidad Rums which are blended together with spices. Most notably clove. A spicy forward rum with hints of tasted brown sugar infused with clove and cassia. Appeared on TV’s Dragons Den, which helped its popularity. Has a more powerful cousin – Over Hoof , a devil of a drink at 66.6%
Produced in a micro distillery, made with organic red winter wheat on Washington Island in Wisconsin USA. Produced at a higher than normal strength may be key in calming your nerves this October 31st.
Distilled from grain, filtered through charcoal. This ultra-premium spirit delivers on both attitude and taste. Each bottle stamped with their signature Ghost skull available in Silver, Gold or Rose Gold - it’s the same super smooth taste for all three. Don’t mess with the Ghost, if you feel you have a monopoly on its name!
A frightfully fun addition to the Big Peat range from Douglas Laing. This edition celebrates the scary season of Halloween. A spooky selection of single cask Islay single malts go into this blend.
The largest shipment of Caribbean black spiced rum was said to be brought down by the Kraken. The rum was named in its honour, as it was dark and mysterious as the beast’s ink. The Kraken is housed in a replica of a Victorian flagon. Serve ‘The Storm.’ - poured over ice topped with fiery Halloween ginger beer and a squeeze of fresh lime.
A monster of a dram from Ardberg distillery, a youthful tongue tingling drink with intense aromas on the snout comprising crackled blacked pepper mingled with sappy pine resin and a sharp tang of smoke. Suddenly an explosive mouth feel bursts forth with chocolate, creosote and tar, revealing the inner beast of this Islay Icon.
Cornish high quality whisky named after the Hell’s Stone Of Helston where legend tells of the devil’s ambition to take Cornwall for himself where the archangel St Michael battled with a fire – breathing dragon possessed by the Devil, carrying a red hot boulder in its claws right from the fires of hell. Michael struck the dragon a mighty blow which released the stone. To this day villages celebrate the victory of their patron saint.
This best selling spirit brand – worldwide, enjoyed in more than 170 countries. Presented in a spooky Halloween bottle. Bacardi Carta Blanca was established in 1862 and is still remarkably, a family controlled brand.
Crystal Head vodka was created by actor Dan Ackroyd in 2008. This iconic vodka uses only the most pristine ingredients from fresh Newfoundland water to Herkimer diamonds used in the filtration process. Comes in an intricately made glass skull bottle including a host of special editions.
Please drink responsibly.
A recently published study suggests that a glass of beer a day is good for your gut. Research has found that men who drank one bottle of beer a day, alcoholic or non alcoholic with dinner, every day for four weeks, had a healthier gut.
The study carried out by Dr Ania Faria from Nova University in Lisbon states that men aged between 23 – 58 had a greater diversity of bacteria, which may help to reduce the risk of illnesses including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
It established that moderate beer consumption combined with a balanced diet can improve gut health. Fermented drinks including beer are a source of healthier compounds.
19 men were divided into two groups one group was sent 330ml bottles of beer 5.2 abv and the other group received a non alcoholic alternative. The men were told not to change their physical activity or diet.
After a month it was established that there was no difference in the men’s weight, fat mass or blood sugar but they had a greater range of bacteria in their gut. It was similar for both groups.
It concluded that the non alcoholic option is better due to alcohol having other detrimental health effects and that it should be kept to just one glass per day.
It was suggested that the findings may also help explain that moderate beer drinking can protect against cardiovascular disease, as red wine does. On the subject of wine a different survey concluded that just 3 medium glasses
of wine a week could reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. US experts from the University of Louisville studied 413 women over 19 months to establish their findings.
As always moderation is the key factor.
A study from the University of Washington, Seattle has concluded that a glass of wine or two a day in middle age could cut the risk of heart problems.
Researchers worked out the amount people can drink per day at different ages before health risks kick in. It appears that UK wine drinkers in good health aged 60 can enjoy a small glass of wine per day. Those aged between 60 and 64 can enjoy slightly more than a standard drink- a 100ml glass of 13 percent red wine, a 375ml bottle of 3.5 per cent beer or a shot of 40 percent spirit.
The results for younger middle aged people ranged from a glass of wine for men and half a glass for women aged 45 – 49 . For the age group 55 – 59 one and a half glasses of wine for men and just under a glass for women.
The Study was lead by Professor Emmanuela Gakidou . It concluded that there are no health benefits to drinking alcohol for people aged 15 – 39. It stated that ‘young people should not drink but older people may benefit from drinking small amounts’
Makes you think? When we each consider how much alcohol we consume on a daily basis !
An article was passed to me last week stating that Jacob Rees-Mogg, the minister for Brexit opportunity has identified an EU rule that sparkling wine must be sold in glass bottles, could be scrapped and that a post Brexit Britain could do with out. Instead Fizz could be produced in plastic bottles.
Now Mr Rees-Mogg strikes me as a gentlemen who has enjoyed the odd glass of sparkly, does he really intend putting this forward?
Obviously the powers that be in the wine and spirit trade do not support this.
A sparkling wine contains roughly the same pressure as the tyre of a large van. English Sparkling wine like Champagne requires bottle fermentation, which requires a container that can withstand that kind of pressure either in storage or on the shelves.
However unlikely this proposal is, can we just get rid of it now please. Surely there should be no place for plastic wine bottles in our Industry.
This platform is all for natural and organic processes but the components derived from natural, organic materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, salt and of course, crude oil which make up plastic are not welcome.
For me, having attended previous years at this show, 2022 was devoid of atmosphere full of gaps where stands and people should have been and really quite sad. Where was everybody?
Huge amounts of people did not attend. In years past you would see people glass in hand with their badges showing the pub they owned, the restaurant they worked in, the deli they had just left for a quick visit, the wine company their employer had treated them with a day off and expenses paid they belonged to ... etc .. Some of these people still attended but many did not.
Why? Because for the first time ever, to my knowledge, the trade had to pay to attend its own event.
Now here’s the rub. I did not speak to one producer, not one, who was aware when they booked a stand and before they came and many came from very far away that the trade visitors would have to pay for admission.
I am sure that many had done their own due diligence and ascertained that over 13,000 attended the last Trade Fair in 2019. (were they advised it would be similar? I don’t know). I wrote my very first Blog, 3 years ago and it was based on my visit to the 2019 London Trade Fair , it’s still available to view (click here to visit article)
I wrote there was so much going on that you could not get round it all in a day. Not this one, after about four hours, I was scratching my head where to go next. All of the exhibitors I spoke to bar one had not been before.
Many were disgruntled. I went on the Wednesday, I was told the Tuesday was also similar. It’s obvious if you charge for admission your footfall will drop. Some exhibitors I spoke to were Okay about it saying they only needed one good contact and so on and I hope they got it but the vast majority commented on how disappointing it was.
So who benefited?
Well I did not speak to one producer, not one who had been offered a concession against their stand cost because the visitors were being charged entry. The best I heard was 10 free tickets and some nothing at all.
I remember reading somewhere months ago when I learned that we were having to pay for entry that a larger, well known exhibitor was complaining that so many deals were done privately on the trading floor and that he was having to pay for his stand to exhibit. To my mind what a limp excuse to charge admission when the whole dynamic of the exhibition was affected.
Let’s do some basic maths. I don’t know how many people attended, can’t find any figures for it. Published figures for 2019 are 13,260. So let’s say attendance for 2022 as an example was 50% lower that makes around 6500 visitors.
Now ‘early bird’ charge was £35 and after was £45 so let’s work on £40 per entry – 6500 x £40 is £260,000 ! I will publish the exact attendance figures with relevant income from it based on £40 an entry when I can find them.
Brian a savvy producer from Australia, I spoke to summed it up perfectly. He had exhibited at ProWein in Germany weeks earlier, they were charging 60 Euros for admission and that was quiet in comparison to previous years.
He said ‘mate they just did it to make more money’. I will leave it to you, the reader to decide who you feel benefited!
So to the show
For a large part I concentrated on visiting the emerging nations, stands. I visited a stand promoting Polish wine, yes Polish wine.. all nice and acceptable. I tasted an interesting sparkling wine from Lithuania. One of the stars of the show, for me was a spirit known as the Spirit Of Georgia – Chacha - produced from a red grape varietal, 42% vol. absolutely lovely. Chacha is one of the oldest distilled products in the world. Produced by Gurjanni Winery, and lovely people as well. I tasted some very unusual fruit wines from an agency from the republic of Uzbekistan – Alcotobacco. Also visited stands promoting Armenian and Hungarian wines.
Ukrainian wines were promoted, there were no producers there. Obviously they were getting a lot of press interest and the wines were being poured by volunteers.
Tasted some nice Sake from the Japan Centre group, some good Chardonnay from Barullo Wines, Mendoza , Argentina and some excellent South African Wines from the Kanu Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.
Closer to home some interesting hand crafted gins from Lafferty and Sons Kirkcaldy, some nice tasting Scottish beers from Traquair House Brewery. Some Cognac from Deau Cognac, which really stood out.
I would advise any trade customers to look out Luca Wines if they are looking to compliment their Italian section. They were unique and outstanding, just like their brochure said. Don’t think they have a website (there are others with that name). Their email address is email@example.com
I got to meet the pioneering paper bottle guys (see Paper Weights Blog) When In Rome & The English Vine Company. This is a really different development and was attracting interest. Main things to say are they both produce very good quality wines , with more to follow and their wines will keep for around 6 weeks after opening ... good stuff. I also tasted some delicious Rum from Whisky & Rum specialists Heroes and Heretics.
Something else which stood out for me was a supplier of high quality alcohol free wines - OddBIRD Wines , founded in 2013. They are the largest producer of wines and beer liberated from Alcohol in Scandinavia. Both still and sparkling. One of their sparking wines, I understand has been lauded the best non alcohol sparkling wine available in the UK. Definitely worth checking out.
There is now a wine channel available online. 67pallmall (I did my first ever tasting to electronic / telecom email users many, many years ago in Pall Mall) 67 PALLMALL.TV is the first 4 K Wine TV Channel. Home to an impressive range of vinous series including ‘Live From the Vines’, ‘The Perfect Match’ and ‘The Daily Pour’.
Finally as I end this blog I have in front of me my posted invitation stating ‘join us at the most intelligent (and best loved) wine event in the world’. I am trying to rack my brains to think of what was intelligent about my visit to The London Wine Fair last Wednesday. The only thing I can think of is the new speedy self administered entrance ticket system. Having registered and been accepted for payment the day before. I arrived keyed in my name, Ticket duly printed. Quickly through security, I was in there in a flash as there was hardly anybody in front of me. I entered ..... and that’s when the disappointment kicked in.
With the whole country in a party mood this week and some fun times to come, if you want to keep up the tempo, I have compiled a quick list of some Summer tasting events taking place. No particular order or priority. For full address and pricing details visit the venue’s website.
Davy’s Summer Tasting & Lunch. Greenwich London. Saturday 9th July
Maids Head Hotel Summer Wine Tasting, Norwich. Friday 10th June
Peckham Cellars Summer Wine Tasting, London. Sunday 12th June
Canterbury Wine Festival. Saturday 25th June
Naked Wine Summer Tasting Tours London. Friday 17th June, Saturday 18th June, Sunday 19th June
Bush Vines Summer Wine Tasting, Emsworth, Hampshire. Friday 8th July
Browns Covent Garden, World Of Wine tasting experience, London. Saturday 18th June
Food and Drink Festival, Cheltenham. Friday 24th June
Amps Wine Merchants Wines Of Portugal Summer Festival, Oundle. Friday 24th June
Michael Sutton’s Party By The Pond, Dartmouth. Saturday 18th June
Winston Estate Tour and Tasting, English Wine, Pulborough. Saturday 25th June
Three Pillars Wine Summer Fine Wine Tasting, Eccleshall, Staffs. Friday 24th June
Kask Wines Summer Tasting, Bristol. Wednesday 15th June , Wednesday 20th July, Wednesday 17th August
Gusto Wines Summer Charity Tasting, Oving, West Sussex. Friday 24th June
Loki Summer Wines & Spirits Fair. Birmingham. Saturday 23rd July
Virgin Wines Tasting, Manchester. Saturday 2nd July
Whitmore & White Barbecue Wine Tasting, Heswall. Friday July 8th
Cornmill Yard Summer Wines Tasting Event, Evesham. Saturday 11TH June
Quaff Wines Journey around Spain, Hove. Thursday 16th June
Wine Cellar Summer Tasting, Douglas IOM. Friday 1st July
Turton Wines Summer Sun Wine Tasting, Bolton Friday 24th June
Churche’s Mansion Wine Tasting Garden Party, Nantwich. Sunday 24th July
Fizz Fest Summer Event, Andover. Sunday 24th July
Cellar Door Wines Summer Wine Fair, St Albans. Saturday 25th June
London Wine Trade Fair (Trade Only), London (Blog Will Follow) Tuesday 7th June, Wednesday 8th June, Thursday 9th June.
E&OE Please Drink Responsibly.
Something new is happening to confuse wine traditionalists. You can now buy wine in a paper bottle.
The English Vine Company are now offering a first in English Wine an 11% abv wine, vegan friendly , non organic, produced from the Bacchus grape, in Essex, in an attractive 75cl paper bottle.
The brand When In Rome offers three wines IGP Terre di Chieti, Rosata and Primitivo IGP Puglia. Bottles are made from 94% recycled paper which includes a plastic liner much in the same way as a bag in the box.
Full details of these wines are available on their respective websites.
There are obvious eco benefits. It is reported that the carbon footprint is 84% less than a glass bottle. It’s water footprint is also at least four times lower than glass plus the UK only recycles around 71% of it’s glass anyway.
Bottles weigh on average just 83g, compared with 400 – 500g for a glass bottle. A new way of chilling using a dry chiller is required or you will just end up with a soggy mess...
Be prepared for more coming on the market and not only from niche producers. Some drinks giants have run trials on paper bottles including Diageo’s Johnnie Walker whisky.
Just waiting now for the sequel to the song ‘ Paper Roses ’ .... ‘ Paper Wines ’ ....
A surprising recent study suggests that enjoying a glass of wine with your meal rather than on its own has been linked with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers analysed the health records of 300,000 UK adults and their drinking habits over 11 years. The result was that those who drank wine with their meals were 14% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who drank without food.
On the other hand drinkers fond of beer or spirits with meals appeared to be at higher risk of the disease.
The findings were presented at the Epidemiology, Prevention Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Conference. Author Dr Hao Ma of Tulane University, New Orleans said: ‘Drinking moderate amounts of wine with meals may prevent type 2 diabetes if you do not have any other health conditions’
Seems like a good reason to share meals with family and friends and slow it all down a bit .....
Wine can be traced back to the 4th century BC in what is today Crimea. Presses and Amphora (containers) were found from this period. Wine cultivation in the northern part of the country around Kyiv and Chernihiv was started by monks in the 11th century.
The viticulture research institute Magarach was founded in 1828.
Ukrainian Wine gained recognition at the equivalent of The World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. Ukraine is noted for its quality sparkling wine first produced in 1799. During soviet times it was the largest supplier of wines in the USSR. In 1986 about a third of its vineyards were destroyed on a mission to reduce alcohol consumption in the USSR. Since 2000 the production and distribution of Ukrainian wine has increased rapidly.
Pinot gris is a white wine grape variety commonly planted in Ukraine and similar to France, Aligoté grapes are used in the production of sparkling wines. Other white varietals include Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.
Red varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Odessky Cherny, Isabella and Pinot Noir.
Ukraine consists of four large wine growing regions. By far the largest being in the south west around the city of Odessa, accounting for around 50% of the total wine growing area. The Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea accounts for around a third. The remaining areas are the Transcarpthian region , bordering Slovakia, Hungary and Romania and the area south of the Dnieper river near the cities of Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk. Their continental climate is characterised by hot summers and harsh winters that can exceed minus 30 degrees Celsius. Vineyards cover a total of around 50,000 hectares.
As you might expect Vodka is the primary spirit produced in Ukraine. It covers demand from high end to best value and most easy to drink and includes Pristine, Nemiroff, Khortytsa, Zirkova and Medoff brands. Also worth checking out are - Khor (Gluten Free), Staritsky Levitsky, Krol, Titomirov, Hlibny Dar, Dima’s, Helsinki, Status, Pervak, Rada, First Guild and Mernaya.
Horilka usually distilled from grain, in a generic sense may also be referred to as Vodka, sometimes flavoured with hot peppers, is considered as one of the purest alcoholic beverages.
Medovukha a popular beverage originating from western Ukraine is a low alcohol drink obtained through the fermentation of honey. Can contain spices, hops, berries and is promoted as having healing properties.
Spotykach is a sweet alcoholic beverage prepared with berries, spices and vodka. Infusion takes two weeks and comes in four different styles Berry, lemon, mint and rowberry . In Ukraine it helps to ‘relax and stumble’
Varenukha is another drink that consists of vodka and spices, Appeared in the 16th century in central Ukraine using clayware to absorb the mixture of dried fruits, spices , cloves, ginger and honey and vodka. Heated for 10 -12 hours and served hot or cold.
Beer in Ukraine is heavily influenced by German styles. Pale lagers are popular. Lviv was once known as the beer capital of Ukraine .The first breweries were founded by monks living in the area. It houses the museum of beer and brewing. Obolon Corporation produce beer only from natural ingredients and are the largest beverage producer in Ukraine.
Our platform is completely free of charge to any Ukrainian Wine, Spirit or Beer producer who wishes to promote themselves
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The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) are reporting that pubs, bars and restaurants lost 5.7bn in revenue in beer sales in 2021 as people avoided pubs and drank wines and spirits at home. The trade body notes that the hospitality sector could have served as much as 1.4 billion less pints than they would, during normal trading conditions. It found that beer receipts fell by £681m to 5.4bn, while wine receipts increased £583m to 7.7bn and spirit receipts rose 784m to 6.9bn.
The Treasury has said it froze beer duty for a fourth year saving brewers £900m. They also said draught relief - aimed at supporting pubs by cutting taxes on their most popular products - would see the duty on a pint fall by 5%. Under the new plans, a pint of 3.4% alcohol beer will attract 25p less in duty and VAT.
However Richard Piper, chief executive of charity and campaign group Alcohol Change UK said , regarding lowering taxes - ‘it would apply equally to the supermarkets and because of purchasing volumes, this in fact makes the differential between pub and supermarket prices even bigger – harming pubs’
He also states that ‘Beer duty cuts are primarily called for from the huge manufacturers, not pub landlords. These massive beer producers, many of them not even based in the UK, love to hide behind the pub image, while behind the scenes they are raking in millions in profit from alcohol harm.'
Be prepared to pay more for your favourite wines this year. There is a general shortage of popular wines including burgundy and sauvignon blanc. Wine and champagne could rocket in price.
The French agricultural ministry warned that 2021 was the worst harvest for forty five years due to vineyards being hit by frost and disease. Harsh weather also hit vineyards in Spain and Italy. The retail sector including supermarkets, off-licences and wine shops together with restaurants are all experiencing supply issues. The Brexit factor is also having an effect.
Long term there will be a hike in duty for wines over 11.5% abv. If you take a selection of ten popular brands of red & white wine sold in supermarkets over 11.5% abv, the average increase in duty would be 50p. Due to come into place in 2023, research by Wine Drinkers UK (WDUK) found that 95% of popular wines will be subject to an increase in duty. John O’Connell who is the CEO of the TaxPayers’ Alliance stated ‘simplifying duties is no bad thing but hiking taxes on our favourite wines will leave families – short changed’.
As we come to the end of a very difficult year let’s look forward to 2022 with a positive outlook and a spring in our step. The wine and spirit trade according to GlobalData is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 1.2% by 2026. This is despite factors including disruption in supply chains (what’s new!) and crop damage as a result of global warming.
There is a gradual shift in consumer attitudes regarding the consumption of wines and spirits with regards to health consciousness, sustainability and ethically sourced ingredients.
An increasing number of consumers, according to surveys have this in mind, especially the health bit, when buying wines and spirits.
We have touched on the trend towards low and zero abv previously and many wine drinkers now have an ‘it’s better for you’ attitude when buying wines and spirits. Organic and biodynamic wines are on the increase, there is even organic sparking wine now on the market.
Increasing awareness of the calories in wines and spirits is taking place. A GlobalData survey suggests that 33% of consumers they surveyed were trying to reduce their calorie intake and 38% of consumers their sugar intake.
CBD infused products, all nice and legal, are an emerging trend in our industry. Don’t be surprised to come across CBD infused with zero abv spirits on your travels at some stage.
Following the success of Hard Seltzers (carbonated water, alcohol, and often fruit flavours) Hard Tea and Coffee come under the halo of ‘better for you’ products and are also an emerging trend.
Portion – control cans (see previous blog) are a positive step in responsible drinking.
Have a good 2022!
Due to the current and evolving situation, we are offering Covid-19 Antigen Tests at substantial discount to members of our trade.
They are manufactured by Healgen, a leading supplier of Covid-19 tests and provide highly accurate results in 15 minutes.
Full technical specifications and due diligence documents are available. The tests are fully approved and telephone /video support is available.
20 Tests for £64.62 including VAT & UK Wide Delivery.
Single Test for £5.29 including VAT & UK Wide Delivery
They are supplied by Robson Brown International, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Full details on the Trade Page.
Contact : 0333 9205996 – email@example.com
Please contact us if you are outside the UK and would like Robson Brown International to quote you, relevant to your country.