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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Online sales as a game changer in the world of wine

The ecosystem of innovative Made in France start-ups provides some answers to the pandemic impact, major consumer behavior changes and the future trends to stay. 


Drinks+ joined the online session “An overview of solutions for improving online sales presented by Vinocamp & La Wine Tech” at the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris on June 15. Three perspectives were presented by three Franch companies operating in the wine sector.

The Covid pandemic gave a huge boost to the development of e-commerce. Online sales increased from 32% in 2019 to 47% in 2020.

Erwann De Barry, founder of TWIL marketplace which means “the wine I love”, talked about changes the market faced from both the customers’ and producers’ sides.

Erwan De Barry

“The major change caused by the pandemic was mostly on the wine growers’ part. Online sales seemed the last thing you spend time on because there are prior tasks such as managing plantation, making good wines, importing them”, emphasizes Erwann.

However, there were no other alternative with the Covid, but to move on digital. Firstly, it helped to collect the feedback from the wine producers’ clients. Secondly, it provided plenty of digital tools and data the wine growers could use. Finally, it introduced a new logistic system to them. The wine growers have realized going digital required lots of work both to get recognition and to be able to sale online. So, the shift in the way of thinking has happened.

Reflecting on the future impact, customers and wine makers will definitely keep the best from this transformation. Customers, who have ordered wine online, received their delivery in a short period of time, and were fully informed about the products, will keep this tendency to buy online. The satisfaction with their online experience is the decisive here.

This aspect concerns the producers as well. Those, who have worked with good digital partners, will not avoid this channel in the future.

When it comes to the price policy, to settle a good one is a key for combining digital and traditional wine sales in the future. In the wine industry, the price used to differ from one customer to another. With the spread of the Internet, the online transparency created lots of problems for wine makers. Therefore, providing your partners with an organized and mutually beneficial price policy is important.

Lionel Cuenca, cofounder of iDealwine, shared his perspective on good practices for securing a good position in the full-fledged distribution channel. The company started as a small startup in 2001 in France and became a “dinosaur” with the 20-year experience in the world of wine.

Lionel Cuenca

There are two main business activities of iDealwine, namely online auctions and fixed-price sales. The company is one of the world leaders in auction which brought around 26 million euro to its revenue last year. The auction reaches 60 countries, 50% of business outside of France.

“We experienced different challenges for 20 years but nothing in comparison to the last year. The beginning of March was extremely hard – on March 17, we sold just for 110 euro. Luckily, it was just for a day, then things got better”, shares Lionel.

The company faced the same challenges as others, in particular, with the logistics when its French partner Colissimo decided to stop delivering parcels. But the adaptation period helped to set and manage the process from a new page.

Lionel believes people will keep buying online: “Consumers’ habits have changed for a year. The main reason behind the increase in our sales is new members. We doubled the number of our clients in 2020 compared to 2019. These new clients increased our orders for 45%.”

The second reasons why things will not come back to the initial state is a generational phenomenon. Young generations are tech savvy, they naturally buy online. So, strong online presence of the wine sector will go along with traditional channels.

Considering the wave of newcomers in the online wine sector, Lionel suggests wine growers to select their team members carefully and specify their target audience. People who love and value wines of a specific producer are the best ambassadors of them.

Thomas Dayras, from a tech company “Matcha Wine” launched in 2018, shared the company experience of online sales during the pandemic. Matcha is a blend of sommeliers and developers with a focus on wine, beer, and spirits. The company developed the sales boost solution for retailers, bottlers, and other parties in this industry.

Thomas Dayras

From the perspective of a non-selling wine platform, there are three points to emphasize regarding the major changes brought by the pandemic. Firstly, there is a great demand for advice and guidance with consumers online.

“From the beginning of the first lockdown, the traffic of our website doubled in two days. The usage of the solution we provide, especially the virtual assistant, has been multiplied by three. The conversion and engagement rates stayed very high”, says Thomas.

Secondly, there is a need for vaster product content and information when the customer goes online – product data demand. There are such things to keep in mind as uploading attractive product pictures, gathering consumers’ feedback, working with the NFC tag to provide all the necessary information, and so on.

Lastly, there are lots of newcomers planning to launch their online projects. They use a long tail of SEO (less searched key words) to make their business stands out of competition.

Traditional wine growers might find it hard to adapt to new digital circumstances. There is a possibility to rely on already existing online platforms such as TWIL, winetech, iDealwine. Besides, online retailers also have their customers community and know how to manage wine logistics.

The ecosystem of innovative Made in France start-ups provides some answers on the pandemic impact, major consumer behavior changes and the future trends to stay.

The Best Rieslings of 2021 have been announced

The best Rieslings of the year were honoured today at the digital awards ceremony. A total of over 2,400 Rieslings from all over the world once again faced a jury of experts.


Winners come from the Palatinate, Franconia, Württemberg, Mittelrhein and Mosel. Rieslings from Austria, Australia and the Czech Republic impress.

Besides well-known wineries, new “hidden gems” were discovered in the exciting final tastings of the eight competition categories. Third place in category 1 was won for the first time by a winery from the Czech Republic with a “Ryzlink rýnský” from the 2015 vintage.

The results of the category winners show that top quality wines were produced in all German wine-growing regions, especially in the 2019 and 2020 vintages.

Among the first-place winners are well-known names such as the wineries Philipp Kuhn and Neiss (both Palatinate), winery Dautel (Württemberg) and the wineries Schloss Sommerhausen and Horst Sauer (both Franconia). But also many up-and-coming wineries such as winery Harald und Jürgen Krebs (Palatinate), winery Emmerich-Koebernik (Nahe), winery Albert Lambrich (Middle Rhine) or winery Würtzberg (Mosel) are among the winners.

This year, the Moselland eG Winzergenossenschaft (Best Dry Riesling in Food Retail), Weingut Loimer from Kamptal, Austria (Best Dry Riesling Europe) and Weingut Grosset from Australia (Best Dry Riesling from the New World) were awarded one of the coveted special prizes.

Most of the Rieslings that received an award came from the Palatinate (488 Rieslings), followed by the Mosel (338) as well as Rheinhessen (254).

The international top ranking of the best Rieslings this year is led by Alsace with a clear margin, with 102 award-winning Rieslings. It is followed by Austria (59), Luxembourg (12), as well as Australia (8) and the Czech Republic (7).

Christian Wolf

“We already saw the huge potential of the 2019 vintage last year. The Rieslings from 2019 tasted now show that these wines are now showing their greatness through bottle maturity. The 2020 vintage is very exciting from our point of view. Some wines are already captivating at a very young stage, but a lot can be expected here as well,” Christian Wolf, tasting director of Best of Riesling, summarises his impressions.

“We were particularly pleased this year that very many older Riesling vintages were submitted to the competition. The 2015 from the Czech Republic was a real surprise.”

On a total of nine tasting days, the Rieslings entered for the competition were intensively tasted, evaluated and the best were awarded one of the coveted prizes. The wines were tasted blind by an expert jury of oenologists, specialist retailers, sommeliers and journalists who were very familiar with the diversity of Riesling.

The winners of the eight categories as well as the top 150 will be presented by Meiningers Weinwelt in its July issue.

Based on the press release of Best of Riesling

The best Rieslings of the year were honoured today at the digital awards ceremony. A total of over 2,400 Rieslings from all over the world once again faced a jury of experts.

Virtual Tastings Future

Drinks+ joined the session of the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019 Marc Almert about virtual tastings future at the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2021.


Marc Almert, ASI 2019 World’s Best Sommelier and Chef Sommelier Baur au Lac & Baur au Lac vins, in partnership with the International Sommelier Association (ASI), shares his personal experiences on virtual wine tastings at the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2021. A focus of his speech was placed on ideas, insights, and best practices, as well as tackling the question: “Are virtual wine tastings here to stay or will they disappear together with the pandemic?”

Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris

From a consumer side, there are several forms of wine tastings. The easiest would be the organizer sells wine that the consumer have with him. Another form is a tasting as a host, for example, a pre-event sale on a private basis via a wine distributor or via a winery. Besides, there is a public tasting in form of an Instagram live talk, or a Zoom webinar streamed on Facebook. Trade tastings have the same technical setup, but the level of presentation is different. Finally, there are tastings that appeal more to emotions rather than just selling wine. For example, wine tastings around Christmas time replace classical Christmas parties where wine is a connecting medium to the concept of being together.

According to the study on some Californian wineries, 52% were increasing a digital marketing budget and 22% of them are planning to employ staff dedicated to digital marketing and online events. This is a small indicator that digital tastings are here to stay even beyond the pandemic. However, what kind of tastings is another question.

Based on the questionnaires on Swizz wine market, more than 60% of people attending the online tastings have as a key motivation to learn and to taste something new.

What are the edges of hosting online tastings?

Marc Almert names traveling costs on behalf of the person or organization hosting the tasting as one of the biggest advantages.

It is easier to get lots of people together also quite spontaneously. If you organize it on a premise tasting, you will probably need a couple of weeks to send invitations, deal with cancellations and make sure you have a suitable venue with enough space. Downside of that is that you are limited to one market, you usually can invite only local customers from a country. But in a virtual tasting depending on the time slot you choose you can theoretically invite the whole world to show your new product or project.

Public tastings such as an Instagram live session or a Zoom webinar help to reach a younger demographic. This type of consumers are not willing to attend a classic table tasting or a wine and dine event but open to follow one of the influencers or journalists they look up to. Online tools provide a huge reach which is impossible to get offline.

Marc Almert

Online tastings challenges

Motivating people to attend a tasting is getting challenging. A private customer may receive an email or a newsletter from a local wine shop that he has a trust relationship with to attend its virtual tasting.

Based on the survey conducted in Switzerland, people consider the body formats to be too large (75 cl or sometimes half a bottle) for home tastings. At the same time, almost the same amount of people say they get not enough wine meaning the quantity of samples. In the winery or wine and dine, 8 to 15 different kinds of wine are likely to be tasted while in online wine tastings for private customers, usually 3 to 6 bottles are tasted.

Apart from them, private customers go to tastings as something social to visit new places, to see a person standing next to vines, etc. This whole experience can only partially be recreated through the camera.

Another challenge is to cut through the noise. There is so much an offer that it becomes difficult to fill this offer. That is why organization of online tastings needs extra attention to make sure people will be interested and motivated to spend some money and time on it.

As Marc Almert remarks here: “I believe what we will see disappearing are the so-called entry-level tastings which try to get you by a cheap price offer because those are usually the customers who are not too loyal, and industry educated. They just want to have nice time with nice alcohol but don’t really care what kind of wine, spirit, or beer it is.”

67 Pall Mall

The case of 67 Pall Mall, a private members’ club for wine lovers in London, that could not welcome customers throughout last year, is representative. They created a series of online tastings on a very high level not only technically by setting up the studio, but also by rebottling high-quality wine and inviting great hosts, masters, sommeliers, and winemakers. Some of the tastings costed several thousand pounds. In fact, that proved to be so successful that they are about to launch 67 Pall Mall TV which will be a mix of recorded live tastings with small bottle samples. It shows that premium, which is harder to reach on the daily basis, is on a higher demand. It does create an emotional connection as a once in a life experience unlike entry level tastings.

Costs themselves can be a challenge. The costs in general for hosting virtual tastings are lower, but the costs per person participating are much higher – shipping cost, customs cost. The more people you send your packages the higher the cost is.

And wine rebottling challenge comes along with this. Oxidation or overheating of wine may occur during the transportation. Therefore, it might spoil a customer experience as a whole.

So, Marc Almert predicts that virtual tasting will stay on the market but rather in its premium segment. Wine trading can be expected to initiate brand building on Instagram which is still quite new to the wine world. More people will consider online tastings as a mean of staying in touch, presenting new products, new vintages, and projects. What audience will stay? Either the very top premium fine wine collectors or the younger demographic.

Drinks+ joined the session of the ASI Best Sommelier of the World 2019 Marc Almert about virtual tastings future at the Wine Paris & Vinexpo Paris 2021.

Odessa Wine Week: all included

The Odessa Wine Week, the wine event of an unprecedented hybrid format and almost cosmic scale took place for the first time in Ukraine. The week combined exhibitions, a tasting competition, conferences, exposition areas, circular tastings, discussion panels, a gastronomic festival and even an air flight from South Palmyra.

Therefore, the retrospective of the Wine Week has become a long read, for which we feel a slight feeling of guilt in front of our readers. But, believe me, the event was worth it.


We go white

87 speakers from 18 countries took part in 15 massive wine events. During the Odessa Wine Week, the following events took place: the All-Ukrainian tasting competition “Odessa Wine & Spirit Awards“, the international symposium 2021 OENOVITI International Network, the conference “Innovative tools in viticulture in the face of climate change”, the author’s tasting from the OWW guest – Vinos de La Luz for HoReCa and retail representatives, Wine Future Forum, circular tasting from OWW partners and participants; expositions: from corkscrews from the collection of sculptor Andrei Lyubov or photographs – from co-author of the Blue Bird tour, Alexander Baron, to tractors; Best Riedel glass for Odessa Black variety project – selection of the optimal Riedel glass for local Odessa Black wine; conference “Wine and gastronomic tourism – a driver of development of tourist destinations”; “Air tasting” on the UIA flight, XI gastronomic festival “Yes, indeed, delicious”. And these are just the main events.

Odessa Wine Week

In addition to the scope of the event and the titanic volume of work done by the organizers, the participants were excited by the new name of the tasting competition – the successor, as we understand it, of the “Odessa Bay” – Odessa Wine & Spirit Awards.

The competition within the framework of the Wine Week promises to become the leading one in the country, first of all, thanks to the professionalism of the team, the core of which is made up of the heads of the laboratory of sensory analysis at the Odessa National Academy of Food Technologies. At the same time, the level of expertise of the competition was strengthened by a combination of sensory analysis methodology and the work of a carefully selected jury from among certified experts. The rest of the regulation was almost 100 percent in line with the international rules developed by the OIV.

Odessa Wine Week

The tasting committee consisted of 16 professional sommeliers and wine experts who in 2 days evaluated 305 sparkling, still, dessert and fortified wines, as well as a pool of spirits from 65 Ukrainian producers.

Odessa Wine Week jury

I would like to note the competently equipped tasting area: each judge worked in a separate booth, equipped in accordance with the highest international standards and requirements. To evaluate the samples, the Gustos Life program with blockchain technology was used, which excludes the possibility of changing the assessments of experts both during the competition and after its completion.

Winners of Odessa Wine Week

The winners of the competition were awarded gold (86-95.5 points), silver (82-85.99 points) medals and diplomas of the competition participant. It should be noted that, according to the OIV rules, only 30% of the total number of participants receive medals. As a result, 30 samples were awarded with gold medals, 49 with silver in the category of wines; in the category of spirits: 7 – gold and 7 silver medals.

Winners of Odessa Wine Week

A noteworthy fact that everyone involved drew attention to is a significant number of white wines among the winners.

How can the phenomenon of this year’s competition be explained? With this question, we turned to Oksana Tkachenko, ideologist of Odessa Wine Week and scientific director of the Laboratory of Sensory Analysis, head of the department of the Odessa National Academy of Food Technologies. Her vision of the palette of winners is as follows: “In fact, a huge number of factors influenced the ratio of white and red, it is imperative to analyze the situation. This year, there are many awardees among the white wines, most likely simply because the winemakers paid more attention to them. At the same time, I know winemakers who do not make white wines at all, since it is technologically difficult for them. I think the fact that this time the winemakers were successful with the whites is an indicator of both technological and quality growth”.

Tkachenko

Haute couture for Odessa Black

The project Best Riedel glass for Odessa Black variety became a significant and self-sufficient event of Odessa Wine Week, worthy of a separate story, during which experts chose the best Riedel glass for local Ukrainian wine of the Odessa Black variety.

Recall that a similar marketing technique was tested by the flagship varieties of a number of countries: Malbec in Argentina, Saperavi in Georgia, Feteasca in Moldova, Carmenere from Chile, Shiraz from Australia, etc.

Riedel

The selection algorithm was as follows. A few days before the start of the Odessa Wine Week, the tasting committee tested 32 wines from Odessa Black, and the winner was named: Aliberne Reserve Limited Edition, 2017 from Gigineishvili Wine House.

Odessa Black

Then the jury, which included winemakers, sommeliers, representatives of HoReCa, chose glass #4 from the Performance collection out of 9 proposed options for glasses. Our Ukrainian autochthon has decided on the ideal form of haute couture – from a world-famous brand! Performance is a fairly fresh collection which is usually personally presented in the world by Maximilian Riedel. This line of glasses was created using the latest technology, thanks to which the bowls have an extended inner surface, which emphasizes the organoleptic properties of the wine and enhances the optical effect. Glasses are made at a factory in Bavaria, but they are not inferior to handmade ones in terms of glass thinness and elegance of forms.

The wine future is in our hands

At the next serious event of the Wine Future Forum in Odessa, international experts and listeners discussed the most pressing topics: viticulture in the face of climate change, attracting investment in winemaking, peculiarities and problems of export, the experience of developed winemaking countries in promotion, etc., where the players of the wine business presented their vision, representatives of the authorities also joined.

Roman Leshchenko

During the video feed, the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Roman Leshchenko noted that winemakers should use the successful experience of neighboring countries and work to promote the Ukrainian Wine brand. By the way, the ministry is already actively engaged in in cooperation with the Ukrvinprom corporation on this issue. The minister also listed a number of urgent steps, including the need to abolish the excise tax, the removal of table wines from the list of alcoholic beverages and their inclusion in the food category, as well as the restoration of our country’s membership in the OIV. We hope that the case will not lag far behind the word. Moreover, the other day the D+ columnist, during an interview with OIV CEO Pau Roca, found out that the process of reconstitution of our country in the ranks of this world organization is elementary.

Olga Bussinello

For Drinks+ it was a very honorable task entrusted to us by the organizers of Odessa Wine Week – to attract the most authoritative persons of the wine world to the discussions. Among them, we note such a bright speaker and marketer as Olga Bussinello, a private entrepreneur and ex-director of Consorzio per la Tutela Vini Valpolicella (Italy). In an online presentation, she shared her extensive professional experience in the development, promotion and positioning of the wine region in international markets, including the United States and Asia, as well as how to ethically and effectively coordinate such global processes.

Philippe Massol

Philippe Massol, General Director of Cité du Vin (Bordeaux), also addressed the audience with a video greeting. His story about overcoming problems during a pandemic and creating a digital marketplace about wine or, as Monsieur Massol himself put it, a kind of “Netflix for wine lovers”, was accompanied by a spectacular video about a unique futuristic wine museum – the center of wine culture.

Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez

Dr. Ricardo F. Nunez, founder and owner of the Vinos de La Luz group of companies, which unites wineries in Spain, Italy, Argentina and the United States, dwelled on the principles of the wine business in Argentina and government support programs. But, as it turned out, the strength of the Argentines is completely different. Local winemakers – we note, like the producers of most countries of developed winemaking, – are united under the Wines of Argentina brand and jointly participate in exhibitions and specialized events.

The investor is in the details

The presentation “Attracting Investment in the Wine Industry” attracted a particular interest from the community. Winemakers, drowning in problems, rely on investors, which is understandable. This is what Anna Horkun, CEO and founder of 46 Parallel Wine Group, a bright speaker in all respects, who is armed with legal education, and most importantly, her own comprehensive business experience and knowledge of the investment market, spoke about.

Anna Horkun

Anna introduced the main work cases, stages, and pain points of investing. And that there are no trifles in attracting investors. There is a need to delve into psychology. “Why do I focus on foreign investment? The way of thinking of foreign investors is very different from how our compatriot thinks. And you need to be prepared for the fact that if you want to attract foreign capital, if you are trying to get an institutional or portfolio investor as a partner, he will come to you with a “Talmud” of strict rules that must be followed.”

Burlachenko

Natalia Burlachenko, brand ambassador of the international group of companies Vinos de La Luz in Eastern Europe, partner of the Wine Gallery distribution company, dwelt on stereotypes and their overcoming: “Ukrainian wines are an independent brand, and they are rapidly entering the path that will soon become successful. However, it seems to me that the underestimation of Ukrainian wine should be eradicated first from our consciousness. We have this ambiguous feeling that everything that is “ours” is of less quality than foreign. In fact, this is not true! For its rehabilitation, Ukrainian wine needs a massive campaign supported by the state. It seems to me that local wine should be associated, first of all, with the personalities of the country and with the locality, terroir”.

Drink. Eat. Fly!

The circular tasting from 18 partners and participants of OWW, which took place on the second day of the event, brought together the top officials of the leading wineries. I would especially note the presentation of vintages 2009 “Merlot Vitrimane”, “Cabernet Vitrimane”, “Aligote Vitrimane” from Prince Trubetskoy Winery.

Odessa Wine Week

In addition, in a specially designated exposition area for two days non-stop one could taste wines from Shabo, Chateau Chizay, TM “Odessa”, TM “French Boulevard” – and a number of other reputable producers.

The last burst of the Wine Week was the Yes, indeed, Delicious Festival, held in the scenery of the Odessa Film Studio with the participation of leading Ukrainian wine brands, a large food court, a festive menu with a variety of culinary specialties: Odessa, Bessarabian, European and Asian cuisines reigned here.

UIA testing

 

And the enchanting Odessa Wine Week ended with a hot spot: the Odessa-Odessa air travel with a tasting on the UIA aircraft board of the five Ukrainian wines-winners of the Odessa Wine & Spirit Awards competition. They are: El Capitan Pinot Gris 2019 from 46 Parallel Wine Group, Riesling Rhine 2016 from Prince Trubetskoy, Aliberne Reserve Limited Edition 2017 from Gigineishvili Wine House, SHABO Cabernet Grande Reserve 2017.

Stéphane Vaittinadan

The wines were accompanied by dishes of Odessa cuisine, created by the brand-chef of Le Grand Café at Bristol Hotel 5* Odesa, Stéphane Vaittinadan.

The amazing testing-flight was a landmark that marked the meteoric rise of Ukrainian wines.

Photo: Arsen Fedosenko / facebook.com / odessawineweek, facebook.com/mkalenska

 

The Odessa Wine Week, the wine event of an unprecedented hybrid format and almost cosmic scale took place for the first time in Ukraine. The week combined exhibitions, a tasting competition, conferences, exposition areas, circular tastings, discussion panels, a gastronomic festival and even an air flight from South Palmyra.

Drinks Plus covered the events of London Wine Fair

Our media group took part in the largest online beverage trade show London Wine Fair along with Decanter, The Drinks Business, and other authoritative publishing houses.


2,608 visitors attended the London Wine Fair, with 238 virtual stands, showing over 3,435 different products, from 33 different countries. Borough Wines, which partnered with the London Wine Fair to manage sample rebottling and deliveries, has reported that just over 25,000 individual samples have been sent out prior to and during The Fair, with further samples expected over the coming days and weeks.

The 28 sessions, which included Tasting Masterclasses, Industry Briefings and Panel Discussions, have been viewed nearly 6,000 times so far, with 154 people watching The Fair’s headline briefing live on the first morning: the WSTA’s “Wine Trading 2021: Where are we?” hosted by CEO Miles Beale.  Almost 9,500 meeting communications took place throughout the three days, within the networking platform; these were a combination of those suggested by the algorithm as well as meetings proactively prompted by attendees.

London Wine Fair

The first 100% digital LWF lasted three days (17-19 May) and raised the issues of Covid and Brexit challenges, diversity, and sustainability in the wine industry. The exhibition had a large geographical scope discovering and tasting alternative varieties from New Zealand, South Africa, Cyprus, India, Portugal, Spain, and organic/biodynamic wines from France. Our representatives joined one of the biggest networks of wine experts, winemakers, distributors, and organizations operating in the wine and spirits industry all over the world.

The London Wine Fair platform will remain in place for a further three months, allowing registered visitors access to samples via exhibitor stands as well as recordings of the schedule of content.

London Wine Fair

Wine trading: where we are now

The main concern of the UK wine trading challenged by Brexit and Covid became the leitmotif of LWF. The UK has been the center of the world wine trade for 900 years and it is the second biggest exporter of wine regarding volume and value (volume after Germany, value after the USA). Passionately trying to reunite wine industry working with the government, the UK aims to keep this trajectory and its leading position further on. According to the phased reopening plan announced by Boris Johnson, the country expects having parts of the hospitality industry, including shops, bars, and restaurants opened in July.

At the same time, WSTA claims things will not return to the way they were used to be, the wine industry will not stay the same. One of the trends Covid pandemic brought is the increase in the online sales. European Association of Wine Economists provided the statistics of 2020 on this issue indicating that online sales have increased on 180% for some EU members and 30% across the EU. At the same time, online sale represents only 1,5% of wine companies turnover. In the UK, the last figures of online sales increase are more likely to be around 10%. However, 2021 online sales are volumed back comparing to the pick of 2020.

Hal Wilson London Wine Fair

Hal Wilson notes that Cambridge Wine Merchants managed to get almost the same turnover and not to lose much trade due to having embraced the current trends of online retail channels and building strong business identity as a part of a community. “It was important to cooperate with companies, educators, winemakers and engage with customers to let them know the reality. This helped to get the solidarity within our trade. We tried to facilitate the education side by helping educators get bottles of wine, some samples of wine on time and in an interactive and cost-efficient way”, indicate Hal.

The biggest change trading over years is Brexit. Transition period finished in December 2020. Changes are inevitable and systematic: enforcement police, the custom union leave, changing rules. The WSTA works closely with the government to evolve new business models and help wine industry to sustain.

The UK government announced it would leave the custom union with or without a deal. So, Brexit provided the UK wine producers with difficulties in transporting and explosion of paperwork. But there is no further recommendations or predictions what can be done to avoid additional red tape. Finding the solutions for the post-Brexit situation lies completely at the door of the UK government.

In fact, 33 million wine consumers of the UK will feel difference. Trading with the EU will get harder while with the other part of the world might be easier. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CTPTP) withdrew by Trump is one of the world’s largest free-trade areas by GDP.

Environmental agenda and wine’s carbon footprint

Regarding environmental and social sustainability agenda, the UK has been a leader for a long time. Environmental sustainability requires reducing agricultural impact, reducing water pollution. Industry is responsible for providing meaningful approach and satisfy customer choice, for example, by taking care of wine packaging to avoid microplastic.

Rachelle Rush London Wine Fair

“Covid and Brexit are not the only challenges we had. We cannot forget the natural disasters that have brought climate crisis such as the Australian bushfires, the US wildfires, and the recent severe frost in France which are placing an additional pressure on wineries and the international wine market as a whole”, emphasizes Rachelle Rush from Treasury Wine Estates.

Looking for solutions how to reduce wine’s carbon footprint, International Wineries for Climate Action shared its practices. The immediate actions that the wine companies can do to reduce their carbon footprint are straightforward: to install on-side renewable energy, to transition to electric vehicles and tractors, to reduce bottle weight up to 40-50% depending on the model, to mix and optimize transportation, to shift work and business travel to remote. The major shifts are going to come on indirect influence such as positive pressure, supplier lobbying, customer collaboration, government, and media advocacy.

Miguel A. Torres London Wine Fair

Miguel A. Torres, co-founder of the IWCA, notes that today for any wineries, there are two possibilities to address climate change, firstly, viticulture where you try to store maximum carbon into the soil using specialized cover crops, and secondly, planting more trees around the vineyards.

Julien Gervreau London Wine Fair

Julien Gervreau adds that taking care of transportation and packaging is a key here as well: “Shifting from using gas to renewable electricity to produce wine bottles is ideal. Two third of total carbon footprint comes from packaging in Jakson Family Wines.” As a possible solution, there is a necessity of European politicians to agree on a single standard wine bottle over Europe which might be accepted later in the U.S.

London Wine Fair 2022

Commenting, Head of London Wine Fair, Hannah Tovey said: “Many of the decisions we have taken when building the digital show have been made with 2022 in mind.  We strongly believe that a hybrid London Wine Fair will be absolutely invaluable to enhancing our exhibitor experience, whilst opening the show up to a larger potential audience and providing a platform beyond three days in May.  Whilst digital will never entirely replace in person tastings and face to face meetings – so vital in our industry – the online aspect brings another dimension to the event and is something we will look to incorporate moving forward.”

The dates for the 2022 London Wine Fair, which will take place at Olympia and online, will be 16th to 18th May, with a further three months hosted on the digital platform.

Our media group took part in the largest online beverage trade show London Wine Fair along with Decanter, The Drinks Business, and other authoritative publishing houses.

TREND TOWARDS WINES OF PORTUGAL

The third seminar from Wines of Portugal Ukraine was held in Kiev on the topic “Why Portuguese wines should be on your list of wines”.


Araik Manukyan was a speaker from Wines of Portugal, and Wine Events Agency was an organizer of the event.

At the seminar, 10 wines from autochthonous Portuguese varieties were presented: Loreiro, Avesso, Albariño, Fernau Pires, Arinto, Guveio, Malvasia Fina, Trincadeira and more.

In total, by the end of 2021, about 300 registered autochthonous varieties, which winemakers actively use in their wines, are expected in Portugal.

If we talk about white wines, then they are quite diverse depending on their varietal characteristics and place of growth. For example, white wines from the Vinho Verde region are very fresh, with aromas of green fruits, citrus fruits, and flowers, and are often highly acidic. In general, the Vinho Verde region is famous for its simple and understandable white wines; in total, about 95% of white wines are produced in the region, and only 5% are red. Some of the most popular white varieties in Vinho Verde are Loreira and Avesu.

Three wines from the region were presented at the tasting. Via Latina Loureiro Vercoope and Quinta de Linhares Premium Agri-Roncao wines are light enough, understandable, great for an aperitif, and will also go well with vegetables and fruits.

The culture of blending among the Portuguese dates back to the 16th century, and today Portuguese winemakers are considered one of the best masters of wine blending in the world. There are even blends from more than 100 grape varieties. It is extremely difficult to find mono-varietal wines in Portugal, so it was very interesting to taste the mono-varietal wine made from Loreira grapes.

Палинкаш

Also, another mono-varietal white wine made from Albariño grapes from the family winery Soalheiro Alvarinho Quinta de Soalheiro was on display from the Vinho Verde region. The company specializes in wines from this variety and even makes wines in the orange style. The wine is delicate, graceful, and has yellow fruits, white peaches, and nectarine in the aroma, minerality is felt. It is ideally combined with fresh sea fish, seafood, and sushi.

Catarina Bacalhoa – white wine from the Peninsula de Setubal region – is already a blend based on the most popular white variety in Portugal Fernau Pires, aka Maria Gomes. Maria Gomes plantation occupies more than 6% of all vineyards in the country. Also, in a blend of varieties of Arinto and Chardonnay.

дегустация

The Arinto variety is known for its high acidity, that is why Portuguese winemakers often use it in the production of sparkling wines. The wine is very floral, mineral, and elegant. There are  peach, pineapple, light woody notes in the aroma; and a barrel is felt in the taste due to hints of vanilla and cream.

Even before the start of the tasting, Araik had already convinced the guests that Portuguese wines were a must have in the bar of every wine lover, especially a wine professional. And here are some facts from the speaker that testify to this. According to the 2018 study by the University of Gaisenheim, Portugal ranks first in the list of wine-producing countries with which world buyers would like to start cooperation and expand their portfolio. By the way, along with Portuguese wines, South African wines are also on this list: buyers explained their choice by the fact that wines from these countries were ideal in terms of price and quality.

Тейстинг португальских вин

The Forbes magazine also contributed to the growing popularity of Portuguese wines: in 2019, it announced its Top 12 best wines in the world among which there were three Portuguese wines.

Besides, so beloved by Ukrainian wine lovers, Jancis Robinson, a famous British wine critic and writer, has classified Portuguese red wines as the best reds in the world for 13 years of tasting Portuguese wines.

The reds, indeed, turned out to be especially good, three samples impressed the guests of the tasting.

Tres Bagos Red Reserve Lavradores de Feitoria from Porto and Douro. Wine 2016, partially aged in a barrel. Variety split: Tinta Roriz, Toriga Franca and Toriga Nacional. The wine is tannic, with plum and blackberry aromas, well balanced and moderately acidic. Ideal with red meat, cheese, and chocolate desserts.

And two examples from the Alentejo region: Herdade Sao Miguel Reserva Casa Relvas and Cartuxa Red. The wines are completely different, although both blends contain both Alicante Boucher and Trincadeira.

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Herdade is black juicy forest berries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberry and currant jam flavor, live tannins, and endless elegance. Despite the small residual sugar (1.1 g / l), the wine has a rather sweet aftertaste.

Cartuxa has a completely different aroma: notes of wild rose, fresher fruit, high acidity, and smoked aroma. The wine is at its peak, and the winemakers give it another 10 years of aging in the bottle.

Both wines pair perfectly with fatty red meats and game.

We would like to note that very soon 29 winemakers from Portugal will come to Ukraine for the first time to show their products and introduce the professionals of the sector to the variety of Portuguese wines. As part of the project, guests can expect a master class, B2B tasting and a large circular tasting for the public.

Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting 2021 will take place on June 3 at the Parkovy Exhibition and Convention Center. You can take part in the event by prior registration.

The third seminar from Wines of Portugal Ukraine was held in Kiev on the topic “Why Portuguese wines should be on your list of wines”.

Odessa Wine Week: second day

Drinks+ continues to cover the events of Odessa Wine Week which has been taking place these days in the city near the Black Sea.


Odessa Wine Week takes place in Odessa. This large international project aims to coordinate the efforts of the Ukrainian wine community on the way to international recognition of the domestic product, promotion of the Ukrainian Wine brand in the world.

Iryna Dyachenkova

At the grand opening of the large-scale event on May 19, welcoming remarks were made by the Head of the Odessa Regional State Administration Serhiy Hrynevetsky, as well as Giorgi Iukuridze, CEO of SHABO Wine Company, General Partner of Odessa Wine Week, Iryna Dyachenkova, Director of Drinks+ Publishing House, General Information Partner Wine Week, Jean-Philippe Roby, an oenologist of Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences / Institute of Viticulture and Wine (France, Bordeaux) and others.

On this day, the conference “Innovative tools in viticulture in the conditions of climate change” was held, during which authoritative speakers – experts in the wine industries – raised topical issues of technology and innovation in grape growing, problems and approaches to sustainable winemaking, and other relevant topics.

In particular, the famous winemaker, oenologist, and participant of the Vinos de La Luz project Roberto Chipresso spoke about his experience with Odessa Black, and the owner of the craft winery Stakhovsky Wines, the first racket of Ukraine Serhiy Stakhovsky introduced the audience to the peculiarities of growing grapes in Transcarpathia.

Ricardo F. Nunez

Another bright event was the author’s tasting from the guests of OWW – the head of Vinos de La Luz Ricardo F. Nunez (Argentina) and the brand ambassador of Vinos de La Luz in Ukraine Natalia Burlachenko for representatives of HoReCa and retail. The event was a good opportunity to taste first-class wines that have won many awards at international competitions and get professional information about world-class wines.

Burlachenko

Many interested people gathered for a round tasting of partners and participants of Odessa Wine Week which was attended by:

  • PTK Shabo LLC
  • 46 Parallel Wine Group
  • TM “Koblevo”
  • TM «Marengo»
  • TM “Wine Station”
  • NSC “Tairova’s IViV “
  • Chateau Chizay Wine Company
  • PE “Wine House Gigineishvili”
  • “Оdesos winery”
  •  Frumushika-Nova      
  • TM “Winecraft”     
  •  LLC “Prestige Group”: TM “Odessa”, TM “French Boulevard”     
  •  Beykush Winery    
  •  Falcon Craft Wine       
  •  Stakhovsky Wines Craft Winery       
  •  Prince Trubetsky’s winery       
  •  Tavria vintage cognac house       
  •  Craft winery “Biologist”

May 20 was not less eventful: participants and guests gathered in the conference hall of the Premier Hotel Odesa to take part in the Wine Future Forum, the main topics of which were investment in winemaking, features and problems of Ukrainian wine exports, experience of successful wine countries etc.

Roman Leshchenko 

In this panel discussion there was a video inclusion of the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Roman Leshchenko who stressed that so far imports have an advantage over domestic wine. According to the Minister, our country, drawing on the successful experience of neighboring countries, needs to work on the formation and promotion of the Ukrainian Wine brand – which, incidentally, is already actively engaged in the ministry headed by Mr. Leshchenko, in cooperation with Ukrvinprom. The Minister also reminded of a number of urgent actions in the wine industry, including the need to reduce excise duties, abolish excise tax stamps, remove table wines from the list of alcoholic beverages and include them in the food category as well as restore our country’s membership in the OIV.

Ricardo F. Nunez

Ricardo F. Nunez, founder and owner of the Vinos de La Luz group of companies which unites wineries in Spain, Italy, Argentina and the United States spoke about Argentina’s winemaking experience and its state support programs for winemakers. According to Mr. Nunez, Argentinian winemakers are united under the brand “Wines of Argentina” and jointly participate in exhibitions and special events. So, Mr. Nunez advised our winemakers to use this experience and to perform at international wine events not separately, but under the only sign of Ukraine as a wine-growing state. The speaker is convinced that we have every reason to succeed: Ukrainian wines, even without state support, receive medals and high marks at international competitions, we have talented winemakers, creative managers, good prospects, and potential of domestic grape varieties, so we only need to coordinate efforts and to work in coordination with state structures for a common goal – the recognition of Ukrainian wine in the world.

Anna Horkun

Another speaker of the panel was Anna Horkun, CEO and founder of 46 Parallel Wine Group. In her report “Attracting investment in the wine industry”, she revealed the main working cases and stages of this process: how to jointly manage the company and share profits and losses, how exactly preparation of the company for entering the foreign market takes place, what are the stages of internal audit, features and stages of concluding an external agreement, etc.

Iryna Bystrytska

Iryna Bystrytska, Deputy Director of the National Office of Grapes and Wines of Moldova, spoke about how NOGW managed to unite Moldovan winemakers, thanks to which factors Moldovan wines receive a record number of awards at international wine competitions and the rapid development of wine tourism in the country.

Iryna Bystrytska

In addition, Olga Bussinello, a private entrepreneur, former director of the Consorzio per la Tutela Vini Valpolicella, shared her professional experience on the specifics of winemaking in the Valpolicella region.

Philippe Massol

Philippe Massol, Director of Cité du Vin, addressed the audience with a video greeting.

In the second part of the forum, Olga Pinevych-Todoryuk, editor-in-chief of Drinks+ magazine, judge of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (Belgium) and the Grand International Wine Award MUNDUS VINI (Germany), is expected to speak on the role of the media in the formation and promotion of the Ukrainian wine brand and the peculiarities of wine journalism.

And on May 21 at the discussion panel dedicated to wine tourism, there will be a presentation of the international Wine Travel Awards, launched by the media group Drinks+. Iryna Dyachenkova, Director of the Drinks+ Publishing House, will talk about this interesting and promising tool for promoting wine and gastronomic roads and wine tourism operators in Ukraine. Follow our publications!

Drinks+ continues to cover the events of Odessa Wine Week which has been taking place these days in the city near the Black Sea.

London Wine Fair: Brexit and Covid storms in wine trading of the UK

Drinks+ covering the events of the largest online beverage trade show.


During London Wine Fair (17-19 May), Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, looked back at the last 12 months on how the wine industry had been affected; and looked forward at what was coming over the horizon. In particular, what are the challenges the UK wine sector facing thanks to the permanent changes wrought by COVID-19 and the UK leaving the European Union.

The UK has been the center of the world wine trade for 900 years and it is the second biggest exporter of wine regarding volume and value (volume after Germany, value after the USA). Passionately trying to reunite wine industry working with the government, the UK aims to keep this trajectory and its leading position further on. Looking back, Covid storm almost pasted. Return to normality in the UK is expected: it is possible to eat inside; you can hug; vaccination is working. According to the phased reopening plan announced by Boris Johnson, the country expects having parts of the hospitality industry, including shops, bars, and restaurants opened in July.

New channels to increase wine sales

At the same time, the WSTA claims things will not return to the way they were used to be, the wine industry will not stay the same. One of the trends Covid pandemic brought is the increase in the online sales. European Association of Wine Economists provided the statistics of 2020 on this issue indicating that online sales have increased on 180% for some EU members and 30% across the EU. At the same time, online sale represents only 1,5% of wine companies turnover. In the UK, the last figures of online sales increase are more likely to be around 10%. However, 2021 online sales are volumed back comparing to the pick of 2020.

Rachelle Rush from Treasury Wine Estates shares the company’s experience: “The team had to deal with significant challenges trying to maintain inventory, supply to our customers combined with shipping delays from all major countries of origin due to lockdowns, restrictions. We have seen a remarkable ability within the organization and our partners to quickly give it to a new online way of working and collaborating out of kitchens and bedrooms across the world.”

Another innovation after Covid besides acceleration of online sales is omni-channels and wine baskets as advertisement strategy. Miles Beale emphasizes currently, consumer behavior is different because of Covid, but trading is different because of Brexit.

Hal Wilson

Hal Wilson notes that Cambridge Wine Merchants managed to get almost the same turnover and not to lose much trade due to having embraced the current trends of online retail channels and building strong business identity as a part of a community. “It was important to cooperate with companies, educators, winemakers and engage with customers to let them know the reality. This helped to get the solidarity within our trade. We tried to facilitate the education side by helping educators get bottles of wine, some samples of wine on time and in an interactive and cost-efficient way”, indicate Hal.

However, the conditions were less favorable for businesses focusing on HoReCa trading as they received the least support from the government. Miles Maclnnes shares experience of Jascots Wine Merchants: “We were the business turning over in excessive 9 million. Until the end of March 2020 we had about 55% of our normal sales. But after the announcement regarding the lockdown on 17 March, we received minus 90 000 of sales because our customers were canceling orders and sending stock back. Our pre-Coronavirus customers managed to contribute 3% of normal sales. However, we had about 4 months on cash-on-hand with no revenue. It was likely that businesses like us would just close.” The team of Jascots Wine Merchants had to quickly come up with a new solution which was, not surprisingly, to create an e-commerce website. Human and digital business model combination helps wine industry to sustain in new circumstances.

Miles Maclnnes

Dealing with tremendous red tape after Brexit

The biggest change trading over years is Brexit. Transition period finished in December 2020. Changes are inevitable and systematic: enforcement police, the custom union leave, changing rules. The WSTA works closely with the government to evolve new business models and help wine industry to sustain.

The UK government announced it would leave the custom union with or without a deal. So, Brexit provided the UK wine producers with difficulties in transporting and explosion of paperwork. But there is no further recommendations or predictions what can be done to avoid additional red tape. Finding the solutions for the post-Covid situation lies completely at the door of the UK government.

The UK’s departure from the European Union brought with it the prospect of new importing certifications known as VI-1 forms if no were reached. The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) warned that it could cost the industry as much as £70 million a year in lost revenue, raise the price of wine and potentially exclude many smaller producers from the UK market. There is no sense for keeping the existing wine certificate and to create a new one for EU trading. From 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2022, the WSTA works closely with the government on the issue.

In fact, 33 million wine consumers of the UK will feel difference. Trading with the EU will get harder while with the other part of the world might be easier. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CTPTP) withdrew by Trump is one of the world’s largest free-trade areas by GDP.

Another challenge concerns mandatory labeling of wine and other alcoholic drinks. The difficulty is the EU and UK markets stand for two different names and require two sets of labels what is confusing for consumers. Combination of own labeling and online information represents a lower cost approach. This allows to mention social responsibility credentials on brands labeling while using smartphones for reaching further information.

Rachelle Rush notes Brexit has introduced additional complexity for servicing at EU customers. The regulatory environment upped until the 11 hours particularly with the labelling and documentation. “It would be good if we as an industry would be given sufficient clarity in good time, so that we can manage those changes in an orderly fashion. We should necessitate the setup of the European warehouse capability at speed to minimize any red tape or delays at servicing to our European partners.

Rachelle Rush

Environmental and social responsibility agenda

Regarding environmental and social sustainability agenda, the UK has been a leader for a long time. Environmental sustainability requires reducing agricultural impact, reducing water pollution. Industry is responsible for providing meaningful approach and satisfy customer choice, for example, by taking care of wine packaging to avoid microplastic.

“Covid and Brexit are not the only challenges we had. We cannot forget the natural disasters that have brought climate crisis such as the Australian bushfires, the US wildfires, and the recent severe frost in France which are placing an additional pressure on wineries and the international wine market as a whole”, emphasizes Rachelle Rush.

Governmental agenda with diversity and inclusion should be deepened more as well. Considering the issue how we can have more diversity in the executive board in WSTA, Miles Beale notes the WSTA reviewed recruitment policy based on the skills and what the candidates can bring in.

All in all, Brexit and Covid storms in wine trading of the UK impose an inevitable need for suppliers to adapt and for organizations and businesses to be agile, responsive, to be in power to make decisions quickly while maintaining focus on delivering quality products to customers and partners.

Drinks+ covering the events of the largest online beverage trade show.

Moselle Kings

 The legacy of F.W. Langguth Erben lives in the seventh generation of winemakers.


Traditional & Modern

When the French revolution started to change the world in 1789, before Germany even existed, Franz Wilhelm Langguth founded a wine-trading company in Traben-Trarbach. Just like the Moselle region is one of Germany’s oldest wine-growing regions, Langguth is one of Germany’s oldest wineries and anknowledged as brand pioneer in modern retail. The Langguth family has lived and worked in the world of wine for seven generations. New grape varieties, new techniques, a new globalised market, new wines – Langguth has developed and maintained its position as a quality provider in this global market for over 200 years.

Moselle

Region

Back in 1789, when Franz Wilhelm Langguth founded the wine house in Traben-Trarbach on the banks of the Moselle River, nobody would have thought that this charming town would soon have the same importance in wine trading as Bordeaux in France. Today based in the heart of Europe, the F.W. Langguth Erben winery with its own steep sloped vineyards along the Moselle valley cultivates wines mainly in the famous German wine regions of Rheinhessen, Pfalz and Moselle.

Philosophy

From its humble beginnings, the F.W. Langguth Erben winery became one of Germany’s biggest wine producers during the 19th century, and is now one of Europe’s leading companies. Through the last decades Wolfgang Langguth has defined and lived the company’s philosophy of winemaking and brand innovation: delivering top quality wine to customers worldwide while maintaining brand traditions combined with modern, sustainable wine making technology.

Moselle region

Premium Brands

The Langguth Erben product range includes traditional brands such as Erben®, Blue NUN®, Medinet®, and innovative brand ideas such as Villa W. or Sontino® Organic-Vegan. However, brands are not manufactured. They are created in the minds of consumers. This can only be achieved with extraordinary quality and a feel for consumer requirements. A challenge that F.W. Langguth has always felt obliged to meet, making the Langguth Erben brands successful on all continents in more than 100 countries around the globe. F.W. Langguth Erben is now one of Germany’s leading brand name wine producers.


Patrick F.W. Langguth

Patrick F.W. Langguth, CEO and family member in 7th generation:

“Wine producers and sales partners all over the world are united by the desire for satisfied customers and longterm success. Developing a brand within a globalised, everchanging world present new challenges every day. As the head of the 7th generation of the Langguth family, I am pleased to accept the responsibility of meeting these challenges. To me, partnership means maintaining traditions, enhancing quality wareness, taking new directions together and taking forward the development of products and markets. Consumers in more than 100 countries have acknowledged the consistent quality management and the continuous investment in environmentally-friendly cultivation and production of wines using state-of-the-art cellar technology.”


ERBEN

1964 was the year when the “ERBEN” brand was born. “ERBEN” the German word for “heritage” stands for the Langguth family tradition in producing excellent German wines. Just a few years later, Erben® became the best-selling wine brand on the German market. In 1976, ERBEN SPÄTLESE (late harvest) became the most popular Prädikat wine, that is to say highest quality wine, on the German market. With the extended product range, the success story continued unchallenged throughout the following decades. Erben Wines are exclusively obtained from quality-tested vintages from German wine growing areas. The Erben® product range includes 12 wines with maximum quality levels and a distinct flavor and provides with 3 Prädikat wines and 9 varietal wines enjoyment for every occasion and taste. We are delighted and proud to announce that our brand ERBEN has won one of the most important international design awards, RED DOT AWARD: Brands & Communication Design 2020.

For approximately 65 years, the Red Dot Award has provided designers and companies with a platform for the evaluation of design. Only the best-designed brands and communication projects were ultimately selected. The award is a proof of the high design quality. The popularity of the brand is evidenced by the numbers: over 330 million bottles of Erben have been sold over the past 50 years.

Blue NUN goes everywhere

The history of Blue NUN goes further back in the German wine business than the history of the Langguth company itself. NUNs have known how to make exquisite wines for centuries. This is where the Blue NUN brand, the leading premium export brand from F.W. Langguth Erben has its roots. With a brand history going back 100 years, Blue NUN is one of the most important brand name wines outside Germany enjoyed in more then 80 countries. Today, Blue NUN represents wines from the heart of Germany. State-of-the-art cellar technology is the guarantee of consistently high quality. The brand has achieved real cult status over the last few decades, and is a guarantee of successful trade partnerships.

Blue NUN has been present on the Ukrainian market for 8 years and the brand‘s position is getting stronger and stronger. The reason for this is certainly a continuous quality, excellent taste but also the love of the customer for the product, which is not only a wine but also a modern lifestyle product. Also Export Director, Julia Vertgeym, originally from Ukraine is very motivated to strengthen the brand presence in her homeland.

The Blue NUN Riesling won 2020 a silver medal at the prestigeous Mundus Vini competition, the biggest international wine competition with top wines from all over the world.

Photos by F.W. Langguth Erben company

The legacy of F.W. Langguth Erben lives in the seventh generation of winemakers.

Advisor to the Queen of Great Britain highly appreciated the Ukrainian wines

Jancis Robinson has tasted the Ukrainian wines and assessed them under the 20-point scale within the range from Distinguished to Superior.


Recently, we have witnessed an important event, which, at a first glance, may not seem so sensational. In London, Janсis Robinson has tasted a pool of Ukrainian wines (by 46 Parallel, Beykush, and Shabo) provided to her by Drinks+ Communication Media Group. But if one comes to grips with the event, it will become obvious that this tasting is the beginning of a new history for Ukraine, a stepping stone to the top, which every winemaker dreams of.

Let us start with an amazing fact that the stars so luckily aligned, and Mrs. Robinson showed interest in the wines of our country and incredibly promptly confirmed the tasting to us. She contacted the editors of  Drinks + and proposed to us to send for tasting a small set of wines, which are the most well-deserved, in our opinion, in order to represent Ukraine.

And here, perhaps, it is appropriate to remind (well, what if you have forgotten?), who Jancis Robinson is. One of the top wine critics in the world, she has gained a reputation of the most scrupulous and demanding among them. The highest professionalism, uncompromising attitude to quality and sense of humor make many people fear her often ingenious comments, which are published on JancisRobinson.com. Jancis is a journalist, gifted writer, wine columnist of the Financial Times, holder of the Order of the British Empire and the post – which fact particularly appeals to the many –  of Advisor to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Thus, you know, what the highest-class expert received the samples of Ukrainian wines, which were to compete with 200,000 other wines from around the world (including the recognized stars) that have been already assessed on JancisRobinson.com. Now, we can admit that expecting the results was quite tense: Mrs. Jancis Robinson’s assessment is not a competition, where the collective assessment is averaged, resulting in avoidance of significantly negative results. The approach of the “Great and Consistent Lady” is the same: veracious and consistent. Nevertheless, it was primarily our confidence in the quality of the wines by these three Ukrainian companies, that warmed us up, and secondly, in our opinion, it was the chance that, if successful, could push Ukraine to the world stage (the verb is used deliberately: we should not remind you, in what condition, generally, our industry is, and how ready the country is to enter the world stage).

And the bold plan was successful: Ukrainian wines performed perfectly! The tasting covered the wines:

  • 46 Parallel Grand Admiral Merlot 2016 and 46 Parallel Grand Admiral Brut Nature 2018;
  • Shabo Telti-Kuruk Grande Reserve 2017 and Iukuridze Family Wine Heritage Vaja Cabernet 2017;
  • Beykush Kara Kermen 2016 and Beykush Timorasso 2018.

The next issue of Drinks+ magazine will feature a detailed story about each of these wines as well as Jancis Robinson’s reviews. We advise those of you who would like to see the results of tastings performed by the leading wine critic and her team, to get an authorized access the site JancisRobinson.com. At the same time, we should warn you that any citations and mentions are governed pursuant to the set of prescribed rules: everything is very correct, but “in strict accordance”, as it has always been the case with Jancis.

Without spinning out the intriguing piece of news: even the most modest points gained by Ukrainian wines – 15.5 points – correspond to a bronze medal of the prestigious competition, and when translated from “the language of Mrs. Robinson”,  mean more than the “Excellent”, approaching the “Distinguished” (16 points). Well, the vast majority of the wines gained the “Distinguished” and above, only half a point missing for reaching the “Superior”. For maximalists and adherents of the 100-point system, who find the scale of up to 20 points not impressive enough, we would like to present a nuts-and-bolts course. If translated into “Parker’s language”, 16.5 points are equal to 88 points. Given that, according to Parker, 80-89 points are equal to “Above Average to Excellent”, whereas 90 points imply “Outstanding”, resulting in our conclusion that the Ukrainian wines are in the upper ranks on the borderline, “5 minutes before reaching the highest rank”. You should also take into account that 100 points is an index of an unsurpassed masterpiece. In other words, it implies the world’s champion who has passed an unprecedentedly high bar. For example, 88 points by Parker were awarded to Château Citran, Haut-Medoc AOC Cru Bourgeois, 1994. The centuries-old winemaking traditions, old vineyards, bright terroirs and exceptional weather conditions are behind such points. Thus, the Ukrainian winemaking, with its mostly young vines, is at the very beginning of its journey. But, according to the observations made by D+, from that moment, the road went dramatically uphill🙂.

An important remark which should be made in connection with the event: Ukrainian wines were personally tasted the Great and Consistent Jancis Robinson, as she is called in the wine world. It could happen in an alternate arrangement: it is not a secret that such masters as Robinson, Parker and Suckling have a long time ago begun to personally taste only those samples, which are the most interesting to them, otherwise resorting to the assistance of large teams of tasters, among whom MW dominates. In short, the fact that the Ukrainian wines were tasted by Jancis Robinson personally shows a special interest in our terra incognita vinum. It is certainly honorable and conveys a sense of promise. It should be also emphasized that the positive dynamics behind the Ukrainian wines’ quality, which can be traced in the rating gained from JancisRobinson.com, is encouraging: a few years ago, Kolonist was the only Ukrainian winemaker mentioned on the site (whose wines were defined by many Ukrainians as the country’s best wines) with its maximum of 15.5 points, now, there are four out of six samples by three winemakers, which have gained 16 points and more.

Finally, we would like to present another announcement: in the near future, the Financial Times will publish Jancis Robinson’s article featuring wines of the Eastern Europe. If Ukraine is mentioned in the article among the wine-growing countries, which are worthy of attention, we will consider that a credit for this will go not only to Jancis, but the three Ukrainian winemakers, too. We will also consider our mission to have been performed.

 

Jancis Robinson has tasted the Ukrainian wines and assessed them under the 20-point scale within the range from Distinguished to Superior.