Well, that’s a headline to get the heart rate going, particularly in a market that is already having to come to terms with a steady decline. But forewarned is forearmed which makes the latest CGA report such an important and fascinating read. It looks to dig behind the headlines and crunch the numbers to identify what are the other drinks categories that are the real clear and present dangers to overall wine sales in the on-trade. Here are the top line findings.
It’s hard enough knowing what is going on in one on-trade market, never mind being able to assess wider trends across different countries around the world, but once you can it opens up a whole new way of looking at what styles of wine are selling in serious numbers and the impact that is going to have on wine sales in the future. That’s where Wine Business Solutions comes in and its ability to be able to analyse wine lists and restaurant wine sales across the main global wine markets. Here the head of WBS, Peter McAtamney, shares some of the worldwide trends it sees developing that are going to dictate what are going to be on our wine lists in the future.
“The recent explosion of small importers is being met with increasing suspicion and weariness by many – but our study shows that buyers would actually be better advised to try more adventurously and embrace this embarrassment of riches while they still can.” That’s the overall summary from a recent empirical study carried out by Jonothan Davey of Nekter Wines during a tasting he hosted with Modal and Roland Wines. Being new to the sector many of the behaviours of the trade’s leading wine buyers he has experienced, which seasoned industry observers might take for granted, were a puzzle to him. Especially what he sees as the “apparently haphazard nature of wine scores and the inherently subjective element of tasting”. To try to better understand just how wine buyers make the decisions they do, he conducted a survey at the three importers combined tasting, not to see what buyers thought of the wines, but to try to understand more about the “dark art of tasting”. The results threw up even more questions for Davey to grapple with.
This March’s breakthrough One Step Beyond conference hopes to tackle the most disruptive changes taking place in technology by assessing how they are changing every day consumer behaviour and, crucially, what the drinks industry needs to be doing to both understand what this new technology is all about, but which aspects of it are the most relevant and potentially impactful on our sector. But be careful not to rush into thinking simply applying the most disruptive elements of this new ‘biztech’ into your company will be the answer to all your problems, warns Joe Fattorini. Instead, he claims, in this thought provoking analysis, that what we really need to develop are new skills for thinking about technology, trends and innovations. That will be the key to really understanding what new technology is relevant to your business needs, but most of all how to introduce it in the most effective way possible.
The Pays d’Oc IGP label, which eschews restrictions and embraces diversity and freedom of expression, presents a wide range of styles through its annual wine Collection. Elizabeth Gabay MW, who was on the judging panel for 2019’s Collection, examines the variety of the wines chosen as ‘ambassadors’ for the region, shows how they reflect the mixture of cultural and historical influences and also how they demonstrate the diversity and quality of Pays d’Oc IGP.
New speakers and panellists have been added to the breakthrough new conference being held in March that looks to give the drinks industry a front row seat to better understand the most disruptive changes in consumer behaviour, driven by advances in smart technology, that are transforming the way we all behave as individuals and as consumers. The One Step Beyond event is being held on March 4 and is a joint project between The Buyer, Sophie Jump, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and is supported by Emetry, the digital insights experts for the drinks sector.
You might have the best palate and tasting skills in the business, but they count for nothing unless you also have the commercial nous to be able to source, identify, negotiate and then ultimately buy the right wines for your restaurant, bar, hotel or pub company. That’s what the new Wine Buyers Awards launched by the London Wine Fair are all about. The Buyer is delighted to partner with this new initiative to recognise and reward the best talent in the on-trade with the specific Restaurant Buyer Award. Here’s how to take part.
As Spain’s oldest Designation of Origin, Rioja sets the benchmark and is the leading light for all its other prestigious regions to follow. Which makes the changes it has made recently to how producers can now label wine, with the introduction of new geographical indications to better reflect individual terroirs and Viñedo Singularos, important not just to the region, but the country as a whole. Here The Buyer and Wines from Rioja have teamed up to offer this concise summary of those main changes, alongside the personal views of leading Spanish and Rioja wine expert, Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW.
For all the success that Prosecco has had over the last five years it is a drink that has split the traditional wine trade as much as it has captured the imagination of so many every day wine drinkers. But whilst the standard, supermarket, entry level, mostly DOC Prosecco has failed to do the same with many premium wine buyers, there is hope that the more refined, elegant and gastronomic DOCG styles of Prosecco could now find their way on to more restaurant wine lists. To help better understand how leading buyers, importers, wine merchants and restaurateurs feel about premium Prosecco, the Consorzio di Tutela del Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene, headed up by its UK ambassador, Sarah Abbott MW, teamed with The Buyer to hosted a debate, tasting and masterclass with a select few buyers.
If you have never been to the World Bulk Wine Exhibition then you should. Particularly if you are involved in buying and selling wine at any level. This is where the world’s biggest and most influential buyers and producers get down to the business. It’s where the talk is of dollars, euros and the price per litre, rather than terroir and a sense of place. But country and region is still essential, particularly if you have wine to sell at a price buyers want. Richard Siddle had a ringside seat to see which wines and countries were most in demand.
One of the hottest tickets for a tasting this week was a relatively modest affair in Charing Cross’s Terroirs restaurant. The reason? Here was an opportunity to taste some 30 wines from the Savoie, Bugey, Isère, Hautes-Alpes and the Clairette de Die wine regions. With grapes used such as Mondeuse, Mollard, Persan and Etraire de la Dhui it was a sommeliers’ dream and a rare opportunity to taste a collection of these wines under one roof. Wink Lorch, who has just written a book on the subject called Wines of the French Alps orchestrated the event and here tells Peter Dean how you should go about discovering the wines of the region.
The pace of change within the drinks industry is now so fast it can be hard to predict what is going to be on back bars and on wine lists next month never mind for the next 12 months. But if anyone can then it is national drinks distributor Bibendum which has been brave enough to stick its neck out and pick out the Top 10 drinks trends it believes we will all be talking about, buying and selling in 2020.
If you have just commissioned some research to only look at how you can attract more and engage with millennial consumers then you might want to look away now. For, according to Joe Fattorini you’re wasting your money. Here, with highlights from his insightful and entertaining talk at last week’s wine2wine event in Verona, Richard Siddle explains why pooling consumers together just by their age is not the way to understand how they might behave, least of all what sort of wines they might want to buy.
It seems everyone you meet in the wine industry has an opinion about Vinexpo. And these opinions vary considerably – often down to the experience they have just had at one of the many other international wine fairs being held globally. Vinexpo has a legacy and an international footprint, however, its image over the last couple of years has taken a bit of a battering, particularly around last year’s show in Bordeaux. Which is around the time that its new chief executive, Rodolphe Lameyse, joined the business. Seven months on and he is more than ready to meet the challenge of turning around this global brand. Here he shares his new vision for Vinexpo with Richard Siddle, which is effectively going back to its roots by offering leading buyers the best quality, most effective trade exhibition for premium wine and spirits, with an experience they will look forward to going back to the following year.
Having the opportunity to go to California and meet over 100 producers in an intense five days of tasting doesn’t come around too often. But it proved to be an invaluable exercise for the group of leading wine buyers from both the UK and Irish on and off-trade markets. In Part One of our report we looked at their general feedback on why they wanted to go on such a trip. Here in Part Two we drill down into what they really thought of the wines and the opportunities of giving them a chance in the markets over here.
Bulk wine is a sector that you cannot afford to ignore, representing an ever-increasing proportion of all the wine traded and shipped around the globe and is now a category worth an annual £3.5bn a year. Which is why next week’s World Bulk Wine Exhibition is for some the two most important days of the year. A time when the majority of bulk wine is traded, contacts are made and contracts are placed. It will once again bring a part of the wine industry together that for some operates in parallel universe to the world of premium wine. But one that is increasingly having an influence on how wine buyers source their wine. It is, as Helen Arnold, explains also the chance for insiders to get a 360-degree vision of what the bulk wine industry has to offer.
With wine being made in virtually every region of Italy there is certainly plenty of choice for professional buyers to choose from. But what are the grape varieties, styles and regions that are selling the most on wine lists across the country? That was the theme up for debate as top importers and wine merchants came together at the recent Bellavita Expo in London to not just assess the merits of Italian wine, but what opportunities there are to source wine from both the established and emerging countries right across the Mediterranean. Richard Siddle looks back on the key issues and conclusions made by the buyers.
“The DNA of your company should dictate how you approach the market…The key to China is to get your strategy right and it takes a lot of work and time.” That’s how Marcus Ford, head of Wines of South Africa in China, believes is the right way forward for any producer looking to have serious long-term success in what the most well placed consultants believe will become the biggest wine market in the world. Richard Siddle takes a deep dive into the different options producers can take to build a sustainable and profitable business in China.
After watching and listening to much of the political debate that has taken part in the UK over the last couple of years then you might question the theory that “it’s good to talk”. It certainly helps if the people you are talking to are actually listening and open to what you are saying. Which is what makes next week’s wine2wine conference in Verona particularly exciting as it really does promise to be a meeting of minds of people wanting to shake up, disrupt and challenge the wine industry to do even more in tackling some of its biggest issues. Richard Siddle looks at what is on offer.
If you are a wine buyer for a leading importer, restaurant group, or independent merchant then there are times of the year when you are no doubt spoilt for choice with invitations to go and visit different regions and countries. But which are ones are going to be the most useful, effective and important to your buying needs? It’s what made the recent California Wine Institute event for leading UK and Irish buyers so different. And relevant. Rather than take a group of buyers on a bus around a select group of producers, the Institute brought the producers to the buyers for a series of back to back tastings hosted in the same venue. It meant the busy buyers were able to see over 100 wineries across five days of intensive tasting and take a deep dive into the kind of wines being made across the state. What’s more the producers did not currently have distribution in the UK or Ireland, or both, and had to have wines, with volume, that could the hit the main commercial to mid premium price points. The Buyer’s Richard Siddle, who helped to identify and recruit some of the buyers invited, was also there to get an insider’s take on how it all came together.