Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

Sustainability drives wine coalition

Since being formed in the 1980s, the Slow Food Movement has enjoyed success in its ambition to support regional traditions and good food. It now involves millions of people in more than 160 countries. Now a similar target is being set for the wine industry. The Slow Wine Coalition aims to underline the importance of environmental sustainability, and the need to protect the landscape protection, while achieving cultural growth in the countryside. The Slow Wine Coalition's first major meeting will be in Bologna, Italy, next year. The event will be a gathering of winemakers, industry professionals and enthusiasts, who want to learn more while participating in workshops and tastings. The man behind the project, Giancarlo Gariglio, is the editor-in-chief of the Slow Wine Guide to the Wines of Italy, Slovenia, California, and Oregon.

German floods take their toll on vines

Devastating floods in Germany had tragic consequences, with more than 100 deaths across the Ahr Valley. In addition to causing loss of life and horrific damage, the waters had a dreadful impact on wine producers, particularly in Ahrweiler and the surrounding villages of Mayschoss and Dernau, which account for around 563 hectares of vineyards. Among the items washed away by the floods were barrels, bottles and machinery. The German Wine Institute launched an appeal for financial help and told of the solidarity across the country, with workers from other wine regions arriving to help with the salvage operation.it is not yet clear what the impact will be on the 2021 vintage.

Government’s wine consumption shows English/Welsh majority

A report on the government’s hospitality wine cellar for the period 2018-2020 makes for interesting reading. The requirement to produce a report was introduced after the 2010 election. The document explains how the cellar is managed, the aim being to buy wine at reasonable prices and use it during visits by guests of the government. Some wines which subsequently rise in value are sold in order to replenish stock. The latest report shows that consumption in 2019-20 fell to 3,336 bottles of wine and spirits from 4,045 the previous year. The value of bottles in the cellar on 31 March 2020 was £3.208 million. Topping the list of varieties consumed was English and Welsh sparkling wine, followed by Bordeaux red and Burgundy white. There were sharp falls in the amount of wines from Australia, New Zealand, America and South Africa served up for guests, while the biggest rises were in champagne, and wines from Mosel, Alsace and Spain, albeit from a low number the previous year. There was also a sharp increase in the amount of whisky consumed, while Pimm’s suffered a big fall.

Another celebrity becomes a winemaker

The actress, Cameron Diaz, joined the ever-growing list of celebrity winemakers last year, when she launched a vegan brand in collaboration with Katherine Power, a fashion entrepreneur. Diaz recently spoke of the difficulties the pair faced in launching the brand, Avaline. They wanted to create a wine that was transparent about the production process and the contents of the bottle. They suffered several setbacks before securing funding to create a wine that has now expanded into a full range. The brand works with organic producers in Catalonia and Southern France to create a wine whose methods and contents are described in detail on the label.

Wine list story is an urban myth

Academics at the London School of Economics and University of Sussex have scotched the myth that the second-cheapest wine on a restaurant list offers the poorest value. Research by Professor David de Meza and Dr Vikram Pathania found that the mark-up is typically well below that on the four next most expensive wines on the list. Researchers gathered data from 470 wine lists at 249 restaurants in London – a total of 6,335 bottles – and checked prices on a comparison website. The study also found that choosing wines by the glass does not add significantly to the cost – a 250ml glass costs on average around 7% more compared with the price of a similar when bought by the bottle.

Red tape cut

A rare shaft of light pierced the recent gloom when the UK Government pledged to remove one strand of the red tape that has threatened to strangle the wine industry. The decision to scrap the requirement for wine importers to have documentation for shipments from the EU removes a significant burden. And it’s also good news for drinkers who had feared a rise of around 10p per bottle as a result of the extra bureaucracy and a reduced choice. Critics of the government’s behaviour since Brexit have acknowledged that the move is a positive step, although it should never have been introduced in the first place. We’ll drink to that!