Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

A mixed vintage for global consumption

Less wine was drunk in 2020 than at any time since 2002 according to a major report into global trends. The International Organisation of Vine & Wine (OIV) produced numbers showing a 3% fall from the previous 12 months. The Covid-19 pandemic appears to be the most likely cause, and the fall is similar to the one experienced after the global financial crisis in 2008. Nevertheless, while totals were lower, there were many pockets of positive news. Prosecco sales held up, but other sparkling wine was hit hard, falling more than any other sector of the market. One area that saw increased demand was bag-in-box wine. OIV figures show that wine consumption in the top two countries – United States and France was flat for 2020, while Italy, Germany and UK posted rises. The decline in total sales was led by China which recorded a fall of 17.4% against the previous 12 months, while Spain and Australia also saw sales tumble.

Nuns benefit from Divine intervention

Tech-savvy nuns in Southeast France found a solution to falling sales caused by Covid-19. After adding a rosé to the two reds they already make at the Abbaye de Jouques, Bouches-du-Rhône, the nuns learned that the events at which they hoped to sell the wine had been cancelled. Instead, they linked up with an organisation called Divine Box, an online market for goods produced at abbeys across France. Customers snapped up the wine – offered in boxes of six – selling almost double the target amount of 9,000 bottles.

Chill out with a wine sorbet

A French winemaker has produced a red that is ‘crisp and fruity’. No surprise there, except that the product in question is a red wine sorbet rather than something to be poured from a bottle. Vinsobres, which is based in the Drome region, worked with a local chocolatier and artisan ice cream maker to produce the ‘Cru Glacé’, which is made with a Syrah-Grenache mix and is 5.8% ABV. The company’s president believes that the flavours will prove popular with non-drinkers as well as those who enjoy a glass or two.

Rosé sales shrug off the pandemic

Sales of rosé in the UK climbed sharply last year, particularly wine from Provence, which posted a 50% increase. There were also signs of demand holding up relatively well in the US, where sales were down just 6%, despite President Trump’s import tariffs. Rosé purchases outside France experienced less impact from Covid-19 than other areas of the wine industry as it tends to be drunk more at home and therefore did not suffer as much as other wine styles from restaurant closures.

Pain for Swiss Champagne makers

Winemakers in the tiny Swiss village of Champagne have lost a legal case that will force a change in the wording that appears on its labels. The case was brought by the committee that represents Champagne makers in France. The village in the Vaud makes a white wine called ‘Commune de Champagne’ and the local government, which granted the wine Appellation d’Origine Controlé (AOC) status, has claimed that there is little chance of buyers confusing it with the French bubbly that shares its name. However, representatives for Champagne in France appealed and the constitutional court in Vaud has ruled that creating the AOC was a breach of a trading agreement between Switzerland and the EU.

High hopes for latest Bordeaux vintage

A wine investment company in London has suggested that the 2020 Bordeaux vintage could be among the best ever. Cult Wines produced its analysis in a report that looks at prospects for people looking at wine as an investment rather than for drinking. It suggests that last year’s vintage will have lower volumes and this, combined with favourable reviews by respected critics, could push prices higher.

False start in France but Spain hits its stride

Runners looking to combine a physical test with some wine sampling were left kicking their heels after the Marathon du Medoc was postponed for a second successive year. The event, which weaves its way through some of the most prestigious Bordeaux vineyards, attracts a field of 8,000 and the places are usually snapped up within hours of entries opening. However, while there was frustration in France, Spain offered a glimmer of hope that things are improving. The annual Maraton de Jerez, took place in April. Runners in that event follow a route that starts in the historic centre of Jerez de la Frontera and includes indoor sections through the wineries that make sherry.