Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Wine Future?

There has been a conference in Hong Kong which has finished today where various global wine experts have been discussing wine and the future of wine, Wine Future. Unfortunately I have not attended, but I have been picking up snippets from Twitter and several commentaries from respected wine people. Robert Parker hosted a magnificent tasting of 20 Bordeaux 2009s as well as many other tastings and chat. It seems to have been a successful event. Jancis Robinson, Jeannie Cho Lee, Kevin Zraly, Robert Joseph, Randall Grahm and many other well know wine folk all seemed to have contributed.
Last week I presented a lecture at the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester in England to Wine MBA students. We discussed the global wine industry, the current state of affairs and potential opportunities. One key aspect is that nobody can predict the future. We can base our opinions and judgements on current knowledge and trends, but we do not know what the wine world will look like in 5 years time.
The respected wine journalist Stephen Spurrier apparently mentioned 3 key issues for the next 5 years:
1. Vermentino
2. Cabernet Franc
3. English Sparkling wine.

So I emailed 21 UK wine trade customers to get their feedback. These are all wholesalers and retailers of wine, so they are in contact with customers on a daily basis.
This is the question asked:
What do you think are 3 key interesting areas, grape varieties, styles for the next 12 months?
And here are a few responses:
Response 1
1. Verdicchio
2. Cabernet France especially Loire
3. Garnacha/Grenache Areas maybe Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia –anything out east! Maybe a move back to using oak on white wines too.
Response 2
Vermentino: Overrated and out of step with the leading varietals. Far too few make the grade. Cabernet Franc: Underrated – in the right hands and soils – EPIC! .
English Sparkling Wine: Very interesting but pricing needs to stay under control.
Response 3
1. Grenache – particularly Spanish
2. Portugal, principally Touriga Nacional
3. German Pinot Noir
4. Eastern Europe dominates cheap wine market Four for the price of three ! Bargain !

Response 4
1 New World Wines of Terroir.
2 How to manage greed and it’s place in the Bordeaux market place in particular.
3 Overproduction.
And the topic which I think should be discussed as a priority is ‘lying and its place in the marketing of wine’

Response 5
Its not a bad shout.(referring to Spurrier's 3 choices) But pricing of those is all high, so will not be mainstream - bit like whats happened with riesling. I would suggest those grapes that can be made to a lower alc.
1. Carmenere
2. grenache
3. English Sparkling

and a later comment from response 5: 'at a tasting with 150 consumers....Vermentino was the favourite wine!'

Response 6
Vermentino will never be big unless they get it to taste like ripe Sauvignon. It remains too sour for the modern palate, which has been bought up on the fruit bombs of NZ SB. Cabernet Franc possibly, but my knowledge is that it is very difficult grape to get right each year. English sparkling wine, Er no! It will remain a novelty.
1. Eastern European wines.
2. Pinot Gris
3. South African £10-£20 they are only just finding their feet in this area, the recent WOSA tasting showed some excellent wines.

Response 7
The problem with wine critics is that they feel they should always be writing about something new but it can take years to get this through to the general public. For instance a customer came in last week and said " I read an article in the Guardian about the "new in grape" Picpoul de Pinet.........I've been buying it from you for four years!!!)

1. yes English wines in general (keep the money at home, less air miles etc)
2 Iberian regions rather than varietals ... Douro, Duero, Rias Baixas etc
3. wines of 13% rather than 14%+

Response 8:
English fizz (I would agree)

Response 9:
Well I have to agree with 2 of those.(referring to Spurrier's original 3 choices)
Certainly rolle\Vermentino both from france and sardinia as well as cool climate southern hem. Sales have been good.
At the same time we are adding to english sparkling wines.
Cabernet franc a harder sell!

Response 10:

1: Riesling 2: Pinotage 3: Arneis

Response 11:

1: Pinot Blanc 2: Riesling 3: Pinotage

Thank you very much for everyone who replied. I welcome further comments here on the blog.


Brian G. said...

Interesting topic, Hamish!

Wine Club said...

This is interesting. future is of wine with lot of joys.

Wine of the Month

Sam Smith said...

Meritage wine is my favorite, it is really making me get into wine.