Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

Pulling the cork on recent wine stories

Slow Wine gathering pace

The recently formed Slow Wine Coalition will take a significant step forward when around 600 of its members meet in Bologna in February for the first such gathering of people from all parts of the wine industry. The attendees will include, producers, restaurant owners, journalists and enthusiasts, who are passionate about wine being made in a clean and ethical way. The organisation aims to work alongside the Slow Food Manifesto, which is a well-established concept that focuses on issues including environmental challenges that apply to both food and wine. The Bologna event will offer a platform for debates, tastings and talks about aspects such as the environment, the economy and social justice, which affect the industry.

Cava sales pop higher

Sales of cava continue to rise, with growth in the most prestigious category, Guarda Superior, particularly impressive. Full year figures for 2021 are expected to match the levels reached in 2019. Much of the growth has been achieved in the Spanish market, but exports have also shown signs of strength, with demand from Germany, the United States, Russia and Canada recovering.

Sommeliers expelled after assault claims

The Court of Master Sommeliers-Americas has expelled six of its members. The move is the result of allegations of sexual assault against the individuals. More than 20 women made the claims to the New York Times, sparking an investigation. In addition to those who have had their memberships revoked, several remain suspended. The decision has fuelled suggestions that others who have also suffered may now come forward. The Court of Master Sommeliers hopes that the move will discourage others from behaving in a similar manner in future and will also mean that women continue to seek professional development through education and mentoring, confident that they will be safe.

Australia suffers from wine glut

Australia is seeing a build up of wine supplies that is causing some concern. Wine Australia, a government body, recently published its annual report, showing that inventories have reached their highest levels for 15 years. This is a big turnaround from 12 months ago when sales exceeded production levels for the third successive year and inventory levels were at their lowest for a decade. Among the reasons for the current situation is the rise in tariffs imposed by China’s Ministry of Commerce on bottled Australian wine which caused fall in sales, while domestic demand also declined in line with a long-term trend for lower consumption. The pandemic and competition from foreign winemakers was another factor that had some impact.

Ganevat going nowhere

Cult winemaker Jean-François Ganevat has sold his estate in Jura to Alexander Pumpyanskiy, the son of a Russian steel magnate. Ganevat, who is known as FanFan to his friends, is renowned for being a perfectionist. He uses no machinery and employs one person per hectare to work on the vines. This, combined with his biodynamic approach means the quality of his wines is high, as are their prices. Over the years, Ganevat, who is in his early 50s, has received many approaches from potential purchasers but has rejected them all until now. Pumpyansky, who lives in Geneva and has become a friend of Ganevat, also owns an estate in the Languedoc, where he has adopted organic and biodynamic methods. Although he is no longer the owner, Ganevat will remain as the winemaker, and all of his employees will also continue to work on the estate.

Prosecco makers breaking with tradition

Italian winemaking is steeped in tradition. However, a slow change appears to be taking place in the world of Prosecco production. Although it is not a particularly sweet wine, one of the current trends is to reduce the sugar content, with some producers already having a zero-sugar product. This makes the wine a better match for food. Another change is to the bottle. The distinctive bulb profile is unpopular with restaurants as it takes up a larger amount of storage space than traditional bottles. This has prompted some makers to alter the shape to make them more user friendly for restaurants.