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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Caroline Gilby: native grape varieties in building a marketing narrative

Dr. Caroline Gilby is a Master of Wine, freelance writer and a consultant, specializing on Central and Eastern Europe. At the International Economic Forum 2021, where Drinks+ was a media partner, she was talking about the usage of native grape varieties in building a marketing narrative.

Why do lack of varieties matter? They matter a lot in Central and Eastern Europe because they offer point of difference in the world looking for the next big thing. The old world be done, the new world is the interpretation of the old world. CEE is s vast huge area with the authentic long history with wine. And grapes that have evolved been selected for the place where they are.

It means if you get people connect select grape that is yours, it connects purchases to your country or your wine region as well. And then it can be used for building a part of a regional story based on an authentic history and a point of difference in the world.

wine of Hungary

Honestly, stories matter because winemaking nowadays is genially pretty good, the quality of wine is great and that applies in CEE as well. So, what makes you stand out from the mass is the stories. And people like people, they remember the stories about the people behind the wines. Wine is a part of the place as well, of a culture, a history and the people who shape the wines.

The downside of this is of course less well-known, hard-to-pronounce, hard-to-spell grape varieties, maybe with too many accents or not enough vowels. It can be quite challenging, particularly if you try to promote a grape variety from a country nobody ever heard of.

Apart from that, in countries that have strong domestic market such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the young generation of people coming into wine actually sees the international grape varieties as a glamourous thing. They are not the things that their parents used to drink. So, building a marketing story of local grape varieties to them too is quite important. This is because the volume basing the domestic market earns wineries a lot of money.

Wines of Moldova

In contrast, there are other markets where it is quite impossible, for instance, North Macedonia, Moldova, where the domestic market is so small, that it is all about export. There is a dichotomy, a balance required between what the domestic market wants and what the export market wants.

The other problem is local grapes – not all of them have quality potential. And even when they do have quality potential, most of these grapes have only been being five, ten, maximum 30 years in a new era. So, there is still a question of work in progress for some of them.

If you want to flagship grape, what must it deliver? It must deliver quality; it must be able to reflect a sense of place for that connection to the region and the country and be planted in reasonably substantial quantities. There is no point in trying to develop a flagship grape if it is planted on 10 or 30 hectares. In addition, it hasn’t got to be too difficult to grow and vinify because that does bring challenges, as well as not too hard to spell and pronounce whatever language.

It also helps to have a track record to show it is not just a flash in the pan. The connection to history, to a renowned wine, a reputation over decades, if not centuries, is quite helpful in building a story.

Caroline Gilby

Caroline Gilby was asked to talk about Romanian grape varieties that might have a potential to become a flagship based on the data of full recent plantings of key local grape varieties. She highlighted the potential of Feteasca Neagra leading over the way – over 3,000 hectares, grown all over the country and there are a few examples of even great wines appearing here and now (however, lots of progress in terms of quality is still required). And it does willing blends, it can age. Feteasca Neagra has the potential to be a flagship for Romania.

“Other local grape varieties can be really interesting, deliver a point of difference, make attractive wines, but I don’t think any of them, at the moment, can be flagships. They can be flagships through a winery and a region, a part of the mosaic of what the country is all about,” noted Ms. Gilby.

Feteasca Neagra

It is important if you are going to promote an indigenous grape variety to use an authentic name, even though it might be difficult to pronounce or spell. Translating, for example, Feteasca Neagra to Black Maiden makes it sound detached and doubly. “I would not personally translate,” remarked Ms. Gilby.

Key learnings from Ms. Gilby’s hands-on experience are the following:

  • Work out if it is a great variety or is something else.
  • Plan strategically – build awareness from momentum over 7 years. Think about diverse but linked themes, so you’re not just repeating the same story over a year.
  • Make sure the wineries commit to their own money and their personal engagement.
  • Think about the audience – is it trade, are you building awareness, do you want press coverage, do you want to have more distributors to sell your wine?
  • Don’t forget to track the outcomes and what you are going to achieve. Do you want to bring wines to the audience or the audience to you? Don’t rely on government money because it comes with politics. It really helps if you can build wine specific and credible PR in the country with people that really know the market, who the key people are, and so on.
  • Show a united front, even those who are behind the curtains, work together. This is what Wines of Macedonia, Wines of Moldova do brilliantly, and many other wineries.

Photo: hungarianwines.eu, mastersofwine.org, villamelnik.com, revino.ro

Dr. Caroline Gilby is a Master of Wine, freelance writer and a consultant, specializing on Central and Eastern Europe. At the International Economic Forum 2021, where Drinks+ was a media partner, she was talking about the usage of native grape varieties in building a marketing narrative.

Wine tourism in the language of emotional experience

Drinks+ joined the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism the focus of which was on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in remote rural destinations.

The second day of the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism hosted the panel discussion “Wine pairs with…Food”. It raised the question of how wine tourism can become a specific local experience for which people will be eager to come all over the world.

UNWTO Conference on Wine Tourism

Mauro Carbone, General Manager, Ente Turismo Langhe Monferrato Roero (Italy), notes that the region of Piedmont is visited by many tourists from different countries, and they come mainly to taste our food and wine. One can ask why they come specifically in Piedmont if they can have its wines everywhere in the world?

“85% of our top-level wines – Barolo, Barbaresco, Asti Spumante and now also Barbera that are typical for our region – are exported and tasted all over the world. So, why do the tourists come to us to taste the same wine they have in their city?” wondered Mr. Carbone.

Mauro Carbone

“We need to offer the same food with the same wine, but not the same atmosphere, not the same emotions.”

The same question concerns food. If an American from New York wants to have a delicious Italian pasta, he doesn’t need to make thousands of kilometres to come to Italy for this purpose. So, what should we do?

“We need to have skilled people to perform miracles. We need to offer the same food with the same wine, but not the same atmosphere, not the same emotions,” convinced Mauro Carbone.

In his turn, Chef Diogo Rocha shared what the importance and challenge of building such a brand as Mesa de Lemos was. The geographical accessibility may be considered a challenge because the restaurant is located in the district of Viseu (Portugal), outside of a big city. However, the advantage is it traditionally proposes other kind of concepts and gastronomy and historically known as “a good food”. It demonstrates the authenticity of Portugal.

“When we opened Mesa de Lemos, we became probably one of the few Michelin star restaurants that used our own produced wines as we are in the middle of winery. That builds the connection regarding rural development. I think wine tourism is also pottery, sausages – everything that we put on the table. And wine will taste completely different because we are in that environment,” noted Chef Rocha.

Diogo Rocha

“I think wine tourism is also pottery, sausages – everything that we put on the table.”

It is important to identify resources that make one unique from all points of view – destination, gastronomy and wine, culture. Enjoying all the aspects makes one’s model of wine tourism successful.

Mauro Carbone highlighted two necessary aspects – rural and cultural because there is a problem of accessibility. To go in the wine region without understanding its wine and food phenomenon seems like “someone read a very good book for me but in a language that I do not know. The experience is extremely important because it permits me to understand what I am eating and drinking.”

To have a wow experience with wine and food, you need a good storytelling. Moreover, there is a need of different storytelling, different offers, and experiences for different people. This requires a well-organized tourism strategy and access for wine experiences which means a work with producers, institutions, public and private representatives.

Diogo Rocha added: “What I do not want is that my client feels the same as the one sitting next to him. Customization is the right way, especially in wine tourism which relates to the quality. We are talking about something more than an experience – about feelings and emotions that are transmitted through wine tourism. The emotion is our reaction on what we eat and what we drink.”

Drinks+ joined the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism the focus of which was on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in remote rural destinations.

UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism: 1st day overview

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Visit Portugal and the city of Reguengos de Monsaraz organized the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism. It has been holding on 9-10 September 2021 in Reguengos de Monsaraz (Alentejo), Portugal, as well as in an online format.

On September 9, Drinks+ joined the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism online and ready to highlight the key points of the first day to our readers. The wine tourism issue seems topical and important for Drinks+ Communication Media Group, and the launch of the Wine Travel Awards is a proof of it.

The Conference is organized under the theme Wine Tourism – a driver for rural development’ and focuses on the contribution of wine tourism to social and economic regional integration and its great potential to generate development opportunities in remote rural destinations.

Adrian Bridge

In the session “Wine Paris with…Innovation”, answering the question what the role of Portugal wine industry in the world is, Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership, made a focus on a global level:

“For me, with the World of Wine, I will count success when we are on the bucket list of everybody in Asia or from Brazil or much more far from the places. We see we are going to attract people who come over for a long weekend, but I think it’s absolutely possible to have people who will fly from Asia and go specifically in Porto in order to visit the World of Wine. And in order to achieve that we have to be excellent in every single thing we do. And I think that is what Portugal can deliver.”

Florence Maffrand

His panel colleague, Florence Maffrand, Marketing and Partnership Manager in Cite du Vin, highlighted the importance of the intercultural connection in the wine world: “Opening doors and realizing that wine is much more than just a product, that it is cultural, what we share among all the countries – is essential.” She emphasizes that it is important to build bridges between the wine regions in order to communicate the message better.

After the session, the signature of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UNWTO and Tourism Innovation Center Portugal (NEST) took place.


André de Aragão Azevedo, Secretary of State for Digital Transition, Portugal, stated: “With this MOU, we are talking about promoting innovations and researching this area with all the stakeholders involved, fostering entrepreneurship, taking advantage of the startups’ capacity and attract more talents to our country, as well as promote sustainability.”

André de Aragão Azevedo

The EU defined a minimum threshold of investment in digital transition of 20% of the recovery funding, however Portugal has decided to go above this amount. This is what may become possible – to coinvest in this project. “We will be investing 3,75 million in the coming five years to materialize this project and to be able to fulfil this important strategy,” continued André de Aragão Azevedo.

After the MOU signature, the session “Brave people face up to challenges” followed. At the beginning, Paul Madray, CEO of Pixwine (USA) shaped new post-Covid tendencies for wine industry. According to McMillan, before COVID-19, online sales represented 2% of total sales for an average winery. By November 2020, those sales soared to an average of 10% of total revenue. By 2030, online sales could grow to 20% of the average winery’s revenue.

Paul Madray

Mr. Madray is sure that the money the industry make should be invested in the industry itself to make it only better. “The only constant in this world is change. And as a result of Covid, we are now in the industry that adapting in ways we have never been before,” he concluded.

If we recall wine industry before Covid, it was all about getting people to the winery, making them the best welcome possible, offering services that are more as an experience rather that simple wine tasting, and sharing the story of your winery, culture, company. It was important to make sure the visitors would remember not only your wine, but your “heart” – the story, the experience they had. Storytelling made you different from your neighbour and other wineries.

Frederico Falcão

“In Portugal, we started to build the wine routes around 25 years ago, however they “died” from natural causes, because people were not ready at that time, they were not professionals working in wine tourism. They did not open their wineries on weekend, they did not answer the calls for reservations,” recalled Frederico Falcão, Chairman of Viniportugal. In contrast, tourism, as well as enotourism has been booming in Portugal for the last few years.

The study done by Viniportugal shows the strong connection between foreign tourists traveling to Portugal and the Portuguese exports to those countries. There is huge interdependence between the wine tourism Portugal has from Brazil or the USA and its increasing wine exports to those countries.

Catherine Leparmentier Dayot

The interesting tendency the Covid brought is domestic wine tourism, in particular going to the countryside. For example, people all over Argentina travelled to Mendoza to taste its beautiful wines. As Catherine Leparmentier Dayot, Managing Director, Great Wine Capitals Global Network, remarked:

“People went much more to the countryside than to the big sea resorts. Last summer, 30% of people in France went on holidays, vacations to the countryside. That is how people feel safe. Small groups in wineries, outside wine tastings, outside activities in the vineyard are easily provided. Accommodations in the vineyards are mainly guest houses – 4-5 rooms at maximum.”

This is what people expect and this is what wine industry can offer – safe activities. Wine tourism is a beautiful niche of tourism and people will come back faster to it than to any other.

There are many more interesting to share about the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism, so Drinks+ is diving into the second day of the conference which takes place on September 10.

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Visit Portugal and the city of Reguengos de Monsaraz organized the 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism. It has been holding on 9-10 September 2021 in Reguengos de Monsaraz (Alentejo), Portugal, as well as in an online format.

Robert Joseph: Brand First!

On July 30-31, Drinks+ was a media partner of the International Economic Forum 2021. On Friday, we joined a session organised by OenoCo International with Robert Joseph, one of the most broadly experienced members of the wine industry.

Robert Joseph is editorial consultant, and columnist of Meininger’s Wine Business International, co-owner of Greener Planet and Grand Noir Wines. Last Friday, he held an online session at the International Economic Forum 2021 on the following issue: “Land or Brand? Local Grapes or International? Does the future for Eastern Europe like in appellations and traditional indigenous grape varieties? Or in brands and international ones? The answer is not as clear cut as some people would like to imagine.”

Robert Joseph

Starting from one of his favourite grape varieties which he also grows in the South of France, Mr. Joseph believes it could be a great alternative to Chardonnay. According to Google search results, this grape variety is difficult to pronounce: “easy to drink but hard to say” or “it’s hard to pronounce and though to figure out”. Can you guess what we are talking about?

Viognier hard to say

This is Viognier! And unfortunately, there is a very clear correlation between the pronunciation of a wine and the people’s readiness to buy it. “So, we sell a lot of Chardonnay in America, and we do not sell a lot of Viognier,” notes Mr. Joseph.

The recent statistic from New Zealand demonstrates a vineyard area 2015-2022. The vineyards have been grown from 27,615 ha in 2015 to 32,813 ha in 2022. Almost all of those hectares belong to Sauvignon Blanc. Basically, the world likes New Zealand’s Sauvignon Blanc and they have grown more of it. In 2015, they had 129 ha of Viognier – that was not very much, now it is even less – 85 ha. The same applies to Riesling, a grape variety that wine writers love, its growing area dropped from 767 ha in 2015 to 568 ha in 2022.

New Zealand vineyard area 2015-2022

In other words, in a dynamic country like New Zealand, the focus is on the things they can easily sell – which is Sauvignon Blanc.

Making a comparison with movies, we always see names of big stars on the posters because it stimulates people to come and see them – we tend to buy what we are already familiar with. In wine, for most of the world, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon are stars like those we see in a movie.

Afterward, Robert Joseph moved to the Sicilian case. In the 1980s, Sicily had almost no reputation of quality wine. And here comes a man called Diego Planeta who planted his first vines in 1985. And what did he plant? Despite Sicily has wonderful old grape varieties, he grew Chardonnay. And it turned to be successful. You convince people when you speak their language – and their language was Chardonnay. At the same time, he started to make blends with local Italian and international grape varieties and now Planeta is famous for its indigenous grapes.

Planeta Chardonnay

Planeta got the confidence of consumers and of media around the world with wines people were familiar with and with that confidence they actually moved them into other styles they were not familiar with.

People are often eager to try something new. If you persuaded someone to start drinking Feteasca today, there is a high risk that tomorrow they are going to be attracted by Saperavi. “You are not necessarily are going to convert someone into your variety overnight. Anybody curious enough to try the new variety is likely to try something else,” emphasises Robert Joseph.

grape varieties meme

The challenge lies in identifying those people, communicating with them, and finding the best way to distribute your wine to them. And traditional media and distribution may not be the answer.

wine consumers habits

Another point is that people who are ready to buy unfamiliar wines are not necessarily ‘interested’ / ‘engaged’ wine drinkers. They may often be people who enjoy other new experiences like travel or food. But they may not be people who always read wine books or food / travel magazines. And it is important to figure out the way of talking to them and addressing them through the media that they are actually going to read. And that might apply to social media, lifestyle publications, and digital marketing.

brand firstLastly, PDOs may add value to your wine, but not necessarily. For Mr. Joseph, it is clear – brand first; region and grape second. “Regions establish PDOs in the same way that nations establish alliances. It makes you feel good to have a PDO, but it is not necessarily because everybody wants that.”

PDOs can make sense, but do no expect foreigners to learn about, be interested in, or remember them. They are often not certainly better or more premium than multi-regional blends.

And remember: Brand First!

On July 30-31, Drinks+ was a media partner of the International Economic Forum 2021. On Friday, we joined a session organised by OenoCo International with Robert Joseph, one of the most broadly experienced members of the wine industry.

If you want to be happy – drink Asti!

The Drinks+ publishing house together with the Italian consortium Asti held a closed B2B tasting of 13 Asti DOCG samples in Kyiv.

The event demonstrated to the professionals of Ukraine how diverse Asti can be! In addition, variations on the theme of food pairing showed that Asti is not only a pure aperitif or wine for fruit, but quite a gastronomic drink.

Asti tasting

The participants had a great opportunity to discover a new taste of a familiar drink, because often the usual tastes and stereotypes in relation to certain wines do not give us a chance to experiment. And we often follow the beaten paths, in this case, perceiving Asti as an exclusively summer aperitif.

The tasting took place in the restaurant of modern Ukrainian cuisine “Hlek” in the very heart of Kyiv, and the chef Andrii Severenchuk selected a special menu for food pairing with Asti:

– soft cow and goat cheese plate;

– spreads for bruschetta with duck pate, smoked butter, bean paste and eggplant baba ghanoush;

– tomatoes with Stracciatella di bufala and elderberry;

– salad with turkey and pickled currant dressing with confiture;

– canapes with vegetable ceviche and perch;

– fruit plate;

– assorted homemade ice cream.

asti food pairing

Without doubt, Asti is a great drink for any good event in your life, be it an evening with your favourite book, meeting with friends, your best friend’s wedding, or your own anniversary.

Asti is always a good idea! But do not forget to cool it, the ideal serving temperature for sparkling wines is 6-8 °C. It is convenient to use either chillers or coolers with ice for cooling, as well as freezers – it is fast and reliable.

D+ files

Asti DOCG, formerly known as Asti Spumante, – a refreshing, slightly sweet sparkling white wine made from Muscat White grapes in southern Piedmont, Italy. Since 2014 the production area of Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti DOCG, along with the winemaking countryside of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, with the other places considered precious to all humanity and thus worthy of special protection. This Piedmont site was the first winemaking district in Italy to receive this honor.

At the end of 1993, Asti Spumante was transferred to the highest classification DOCG.

ASTI DOCG in Ukraine: a palette of aromas and tastes

13 samples of Asti DOCG were presented at the tasting.

Asti docg Mondoro

Asti docg Mondoro

Campari Group in Piedmont produces and markets a wide and consistent portfolio of wines and spirits in terms of quality and image both on the domestic and foreign markets. Its Asti Mondoro is in an elegant emerald glass bottle has won many gold medals at prestigious tasting competitions.

Asti docg Fiorelli and Asti docg Festoso

          Asti docg Fiorelli       Asti docg Festoso

Fiorelli and Festoso are the products of the huge Italian wine tycoon of the wine house Toso. Toso specializes in the production of high quality still, sparkling, and flavoured wines and spirits in constant dialogue with the Italian and international markets. The company’s products are well recognized all over the world.

Asti docg Canti

Asti docg Canti

The family company Fratelli Martini Secondo Luigi operating on the market since 1947 and Gianni Martini, renowned second-generation wine entrepreneur. The name Canti, meaning “songs” or “sing!” in Italian, recalling the world of music, conviviality, merriness, Italian spirit. Since 2002, Asti Canti is more than in 50 countries.

Asti docg Santero

Asti docg Santero

Santero is one of the leading producers of sparkling and classic wines in the Italian and European markets. The production capacity of the plant, equipped with modern equipment, is more than 18 million bottles per year, which is primarily due to the presence of products in the main export markets of the world.

Asti docg Gancia

Asti docg Gancia

In 1850 Carlo Gancia founded a wine house in Canelli. His persistence allowed him to get the first sparkling wines in 1865. It was from this moment that the production of sparkling wine began in Italy, which at first was called “Spumante Italiano “, and now are widely known throughout the world as Asti Spumante.

Asti docg Martini

Asti docg Martini

The Asti Martini brand belongs to one of the largest alcohol conglomerates of our time – the Bacardi Martini company, which has taken the production of sparkling wines to a new level, providing large exports and capital investments that contribute to the quality and scaling of production. Today Asti Martini has conquered the whole world.

Asti Perlino

Asti Perlino

In 1905, Giuseppe Perlino had the intuition to embark on a path to sell the finest wines of Asti creating a simple yet modern company, whose true assets were the hard work and spirit of sacrifice of his family and collaborators. The real turning point came in the 1930s when Perlino, alongside with its Piemonte wines, began the production of sparkling wines as Asti Spumante and vermouth, which became over time the company’s true strong point.

Asti docg Tosti1820

Asti docg Tosti1820

Based in Canelli in the heart of moscato bianco production, Tosti produces wines and sparkling wines since 1820, in the name of quality for a family business run by the Bosca family for 7 generations. A heritage made up of years of tradition and culture in winemaking that led to identifying the best areas of cultivation and the best methods of processing grapes. This long experience allows Tosti1820 to produce quality bubbles with a strong identity as Asti Spumante.

Asti docg San Maurizio

Asti docg San Maurizio

Vallebelbo is an agricultural cooperative founded in 1956 that collects and vinifies grapes produced by 150 associated winemakers, owners of about 500 hectares of beautiful vineyards located in the heart of the Langhe. This wine region is the most important center for the cultivation of the Moscato Bianco variety, from which two world famous sweet and aromatic wines are produced – Asti and Moscato d’Asti docg. This makes Vallebelbo one of the most important cooperative wineries in Piedmont, where Moscato production accounts for about 5% of all Piedmont production.

Asti docg Acquesi

Asti docg Acquesi

The Piedmontese Winery Cuvage, founded in 2011 in Acqui Terme, interprets the ancient tradition of sparkling wine born in Piedmont in 1895 with a modern point of view. It specializes in the production of DOC and DOCG class sparkling wines made from autochthonous variety. “Acquesi” is a great example of contemporary Italian winemaking. Skillfully combining many years of experience with traditional production methods, the company’s specialists create elegant, fresh sparkling wines that can conquer from the first moment.

Asti docg Soria

Asti docg Soria

Situated in Costigliole d’Asti and Calosso, The Morando’s family wine-making business can be traced as far back as the late nineteenth century. After more than a century of business, today Casa Vinicola Morando – CA. VI. M. fills a primary role in the wine sector. Its Asti spumante is known on the market as Asti Soria.


Natalia Blahopoluchna and Mykolai Blahopoluchnyi

Founders and leaders of the first Sommelier School in Ukraine “Master Class”:

Mykolai Blahopoluchnyi

Mykolai: “Excellent samples, wonderful tasting! Thank you very much to the Asti consortium for the opportunity to taste such an extensive line of Asti and compare wines with each other, as well as discover new flavors and new combinations. I am sure that sparkling Asti now definitely needs to focus on young people, since the younger generation now has an active trend towards drinks with a small amount of alcohol, they also prefer sugary drinks to dry ones. Asti is unique with its natural sugar and incomparable aroma! But, of course, it worth thinking about more modern packaging of wine, so that it would be convenient for young people to drink Asti both at a party, and at the airport, at a concert or on the way home from university.

As for the new flavors and combinations that I discovered at today’s tasting, this is the classic combination of Asti with strawberries. But to make the sparkling wine more gastronomic, I would serve it with strawberry mousse or grilled chicken in strawberry sauce, play with the berries a little and integrate them into more complex food pairing dishes with Asti.”

Natalia Blahopoluchna

Natalia: “Amazing tasting, thanks for the invitation! I discovered completely new Asti. For example, I was struck by the sample which in the aroma suggested absolutely dry sparkling, but in fact the taste was the classic sweetness of Asti. I was also pleasantly surprised by the samples with a very high acidity which removed the sweet sugariness and made the wines as fresh as possible, despite the high percentage of sugar.

In combination with cheeses, the wine opened up beautifully, buttery, texture, bitterness and pungency from blue cheeses incredibly complemented each other with Asti.

Asti with strawberry

It was also interesting that the wine played with pates and spreads, but for food pairing to be perfect, I would add fruit jam for the same pates, for example, peach or fig. And, of course, strawberries and ice cream are Asti’s classic friends, in principle, most desserts will go well with Asti.”

Vitalii Kovach

Founder and head of the Vitalii’s Kovach School for Sommelier, member of the Italian Sommelier Association:

Vitalii Kovach

“If you want to be happy – drink Asti!” – now this is my new motto after the current tasting. Such an amazing aftertaste, such an amazing mood this drink gives! Thank you very much for organizing and inviting!

For me, Asti is a holiday drink, I always, anywhere in the world, know that if I buy a bottle of Asti, I will get exactly the taste and aroma of White Muscat that I need, and a little bit of happiness)).

It turned out to be an interesting tasting, we looked for differences between samples that were similar to each other, and we found them. All the wines are of the highest class, the difference was somewhere in freshness, somewhere in acidity, somewhere in minerality. But all samples are of excellent quality and absolutely worthy!

As for food pairing, I remain unconvinced: Asti is, first of all, an addition to fruits and desserts, it is also an excellent aperitif and digestif. You can also experiment with light Asian cuisine.”

Yehor Belov

Chief Sommelier of the hotel InterContinental Kyiv:

Yehor Belov

“For me, Asti is a summer wine for meditation. I can drink it anywhere with anyone and get tremendous pleasure, as long as it is well chilled!

Asti is a very understandable drink for the Ukrainian consumer, I have been working with guests for many years, and sweet wines in Ukraine still hold the lead over dry ones. Therefore, sweetness, incredible fruity aroma, wonderful pearl, and a small percentage of alcohol – all this converges into one big plus for the Ukrainian market. The only thing that can hinder the complete absorption of Ukraine by Asti is a fairly high pricing policy for our country.

As for food pairing, today I discovered the combination of Asti with cheeses, it’s wonderful, and they just dissolve in each other, discovering new flavors.”

Ricardo F. Nunez

Founder and owner of Vinos de La Luz wine companies:

Ricardo F. Nunez

“Thank you very much for organizing such an interesting tasting. Today I learned that in addition to the classic Asti, to which we are all accustomed, in Italy there is also a new generation of Asti, a new wave. They differ in a different approach, innovations in aroma and taste. And you know, I came to the conclusion that the new Asti wave is no worse than the classical one, they are all beautiful and very likable.

It was also a discovery for me that a Ukrainian chef in a Ukrainian restaurant can choose such an amazing menu for such a complex gastronomic wine. I tried Asti with all the dishes, and it is just incredible, I am overwhelmed and very happy about the new experience I have gained.”

Victoriia Ahromakova

Founder and head of alcohol exhibitions and competitions Wine & Spirits Ukraine:

Victoriia Ahromakova

“Quite an unusual tasting, for the first time I tasted Asti in such a variety and with so many types of dishes. I concluded that Asti was great both by itself and with simple, uncomplicated dishes that did not interrupt the brightness and aroma of Asti. These dishes include soft cheeses that were on our table. This wine is especially good in combination with Stracciatella, it also goes well with salty meat or vegetable dishes, but always with a berry component in the form of gravy or a sweet fruit ingredient to balance with Asti.”

Nataliia Burlachenko

The brand ambassador of the Vinos de La Luz wine companies:

Nataliia Burlachenko

“A very interesting experience of combining Asti with appetizers. The combination of wine with tomatoes and Stracciatella, bruschetta with ceviche and salted fish was a discovery for me, and I was amazed at how well sweet Asti and salty grilled chicken with berry sauce complement each other. Awesome pairing)). Thank you for the new experiment! “

Olha Pinevych

Editor-in-chief of Drinks+ magazine:

Olha Pinevich

“Although we prepared for this tasting and organized it ourselves, the result amazed me. It’s incredible how the same grape variety harvested in the neighborhood can produce such different wines. Asti is an example of Muscat wine, bright, rich, juicy, drinkable! Asti is summer, parties, happiness, emotions!

Andrii Severenchuk, the chef of the restaurant “Hlek”, has done a tremendous job in the selection of dishes, and most of them fit perfectly with Asti. But I didn’t have enough Ukrainian desserts in the menu, I’m sure that Asti would also go well with such dishes as varenyky with cherries, crepes with cottage cheese and raisins, a honey cake and a Kyiv cake. I will definitely continue to experiment and create new pairings with this summer’s drink!”

Drinks+ would like to thank the restaurant of modern Ukrainian cuisine “Hlek” for cooperation and perfectly selected dishes of Ukrainian cuisine for tasting Asti wines.

Asti tasting Drinks+

How to recognize Asti and Moscato d’Asti docg 

Authenticity and uniqueness for Asti spumante and Moscato d’Asti docg are guarantee by the State seal DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), affixed to the neck of each bottle. The State seal certified by the alphanumeric acronym with which it is possible to trace the entire productive row and to contrast adulteration.

The Drinks+ publishing house together with the Italian consortium Asti held a closed B2B tasting of 13 Asti DOCG samples in Kyiv.

Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity: Summary, Figures and Facts

The Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella, an association of grapevine growers, winemakers and bottlers of Valpolicella wine production area, hosted the second online seminar Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity.

800 participants from 25 countries, including Drinks+, took part in the online seminar Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity, organized by the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella.

Valpolicella Superiore - A Territory Opportunity

In the first part of the seminar, Consorzio Valpolicella President Christian Marchesini, and Il Corriere Vinicolo journalist Giulio Somma discussed the key figures of the annual report which includes detailed production data, historical information, climate characteristics and market trends. The annual report was prepared for the first time by the Consorzio.

Christian Marchesini

So, currently 2271 producers, 322 bottlers are working on the production of Valpolicella wines. 70% of the wine produced is exported to 87 countries around the world. The vineyard area is 8398 hectares, the annual turnover is more than 600 million euros. Almost 65 million bottles of Valpolicella and Ripasso DOC, as well as Amarone and Recioto were produced last year.

For small wineries, the percentage of wines produced is the following: Valpolicella Ripasso (44.6%), Valpolicella (30.7%), Amarone / Recioto (24.7%); for large wineries, Ripasso reaches 57.8%, Amarone / Recioto – 24.7%, and Valpolicella – 17.6%.

Giulio Somma

During a discussion between Consorzio President Christian Marchesini and journalist Giulio Somma, the region’s strengths were identified. They include:

  • an increase in the area of vineyards in the valley from 4600 hectares in 1972 to the current 8398 hectares, with an increase of 60% over the past 20 years;
  • consolidation of the main sales markets – Canada, USA, Northern Europe and Germany, as well as new opportunities on the Asian market, including China;
  • growing commitment to organic certification;
  • inclusion of Valpolicella in the Register of Traditional Historical Landscapes of the Ministry of Agriculture, which enhances further the attractiveness of the region.

Filippo Bartolotta

In the second part of the online workshop, wine journalist Filippo Bartolotta raised the question whether Valpolicella Superiore could be the wine of the territory, not the wine of the method.

Gabriele Gorelli, Italy’s first MW, took samples and investigated the future of Valpolicella Superiore using the wine profile as an example. The online event was moderated by wine marketing consultant, trainer, wine journalist JC Viens.

JC Viens

Experts noted that over time, it became necessary to clearly separate the oenological concept of the production of Valpolicella Ripasso and Valpolicella Superiore which compete on the international market and sometimes have similar organoleptic characteristics. The consortium conducted research among producers which made it possible to clarify the differences between these types of wines and find a certain scheme that will be introduced in the following years. In addition, wine experts agreed that Valpolicella Superiore wines should express the distinctiveness of the territory, without using the appassimento method.

Valpolicella Ripasso and Valpolicella Superiore

The second part of the online seminar also included tasting of 8 samples of Valpolicella Superiore, which were sent in advance by the Consorzio. The samples only indicated the alcohol level. According to Gabriele Gorelli‘s comments – and one cannot but agree with them – most of the samples retain the aromatic characteristics typical of Corvina, Corvinone, Molinara, Rondinella, such as currant, white pepper, strawberry, and have a velvety structure with light tertiary and spicy notes. Valpolicella Superiore wines clearly have a recognizable identity, Gorelli said, and online conference moderator JC Viens noted that significant economic support is needed for small producers to promote and define Valpolicella Superiore’s identity. And, according to representatives of the Consorzio, the producers are ready to begin their work that can strengthen these wines in the region as a whole.

Gabriele Gorelli

We would like to thank Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella for the opportunity to taste Valpolicella Superiore wines and take part in the online conference.

The Consorzio per la Tutela dei Vini Valpolicella, an association of grapevine growers, winemakers and bottlers of Valpolicella wine production area, hosted the second online seminar Valpolicella Superiore – A Territory Opportunity.

Solar panels, cannabis and blue jeans – helping to make the American craft brewing industry more sustainable

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, looks at what the American craft brewing industry is doing to become more sustainable.

The American craft beer industry is all too aware of the need to conserve energy and become more sustainable and environmentally responsible. It emits about half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. The world-class quality, full flavoured, expertly brewed American craft beer we have come to love and enjoy requires its fair share of natural resources and creates waste materials and by-products in equal measure. Consequently, the majority of small and independent American craft breweries are acutely aware of their environmental footprint and are constantly developing new and creative ways of becoming more sustainable, more energy efficient and more environmentally responsible. Here are just a few examples of both large- and small-scale initiatives taking place across America.

Kalamazoo Craft Brewers Recycling Cooperative

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co is the third largest small and independent American craft brewer in the States and prides itself on its approach to sustainability, regularly passing up the chance to brew more easily and cheaply. At the main site in Chico, CA, there are 3.5 football fields worth of solar panels which work in tandem with two megawatts of Capstone microturbines to provide over 90% of the electricity needed to run the brewery. Waste heat is captured and used to make steam and hot water for the brewing process.

Instead of venting naturally produced CO2 from fermentation, Sierra Nevada recovers it, cleans it and sends it back into the brewery to pressure tanks and assist in packaging. Recovered CO2 contains less oxygen than commercial CO2 improving the quality of the beer.

Water conservation is crucial in drought-stricken California and Sierra Nevada has eliminated water-based lubricants on the bottling and kegging lines which not only reduces water consumption but wastewater heading to the on-site treatment plant. The brewery recovers water used to rinse bottles prior to filling and uses it in vacuum pumps that dispense beer into bottles, saving about 2.5million gallons of water annually. This environmental stewardship is at the forefront of Sierra Nevada’s core values and as important as making great beer.

Mandi McKay, director of social responsibility at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, comments: “We have excelled at the philosophy of closed loop sustainability, and it’s proven to be a wonderful operating strategy. We’ve shown that waste coming out of one process such as heat, water or CO2 recovery can become a resource for something else. We’re very energy intensive in the brewing industry, we make a lot of heat, and we use a lot of heat so we’ve gone all in on recovering heat and steam and that closed loop philosophy has been a guiding principle for us. At Sierra Nevada we do a lot more than just brew amazing beer and the same commitment to continuous improvement and zero waste runs across the board. We’ve always been interested in connecting ourselves with our supply chain – early on we planted our own hop field – and that comes from the fundamental belief that everything is connected and our impact on the environment is impacting ourselves. In the future we’re hoping to look at a broader strategy outside our four walls and that could be through advocacy, partnerships or the supply chain.”

 Maui Solar Panels

In 2019 Maui Brewing Co in Kihei, Hawaii, became the first completely off-grid brewery in the entire United States. Solar panels cover the roof of the 85,000 square foot production facility and a recovery system to capture and reclaim CO2 is in place.  These efforts plus solar energy will reduce CO2 emissions by more than 2 million pounds per year.

“As we grew successful, we saw the opportunity to invest in sustainable energy and lead by example in sustainable manufacturing,” says CEO and Co-Founder, Garrett Marrero.

“We are focused on authenticity and that means using local ingredients, being innovative and being highly sustainable. We produce over 90% of our energy on site through solar and the remainder comes through bio diesel generators along with a measure of solar thermal for water heat and steam so that we have a low carbon footprint. We will continue to develop initiatives that not only help the company but also inspire our community,” he adds.

But it’s not simply innovative and creative beers that American craft breweries excel at; they are also developing highly creative uses for brewing industry waste products. Denver Beer Co, based in Denver, CO is capturing CO2 generated during beer’s fermentation process and reusing it to stimulate marijuana plant growth (legal in Colorado).  Instead of venting carbon dioxide from the fermentation tanks into the atmosphere it is routed into a pressurising foam trap and from there into a purifying box that removes unwanted gases, acids, aromas and volatile organic compounds before chilling and converting into a liquid. Once stored it can be transported to the cannabis cultivation centre, converted back into a gas and pumped into a 2,400 square foot grow room to provide supplemental carbon dioxide for the cannabis plants to aid photosynthesis.  This speeds up the plant’s life cycle when grown indoors. In addition to its CO2 capture program, Denver Beer Co converted its can works brewing and production facility to 100% solar power in 2018. The brewery also recently purchased a fleet of EVs for its sales team, which are charged using the 258 kW solar array installed on their roof.

Oberon 2021 cans

Ska Brewing Co in Durango, CO has gone one step further. In addition to installing solar panels that generate enough energy to brew approximately 545,000 pints each year, the brewery also insulates the brewery’s walls with old blue jeans, the bar and tables are made from bowling lanes and the grass and flowers receive recycled water! What’s more, Ska is reusing old cans by re-labelling them and sending them out to market.

Sustainability is a core value for the vast majority of American craft brewers, the pursuit of quality is another borne out by the number of medals and top honours American craft beer wins at prestigious international beer competitions that are judged by the finest, most experienced palates in the world. One of the key reasons behind the success of American craft beer internationally is the proximity to the freshest examples of highly sought-after hop varieties. By visiting the hop fields, themselves American craft brewers are able to develop flavour profiles in beer that are difficult to control elsewhere. Combine quality and freshness of raw materials with American craft brewers’ technical expertise and it’s easy to see why American craft beer is renowned for its quality the world over.

The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association representing small and independent American craft breweries, is heavily invested in making a wide range of sustainability resources available to the brewing industry including the Brewers Association Sustainability Best Practices Manual and a Sustainability Benchmarking Tool.

Looking ahead, the Craft Brewers Conference®, the number one environment in North America for concentrated, affordable brewing education and idea sharing, takes place in Denver, Colorado September 9-12, 2021. Registration is now open. In 2022, the Great American Beer Festival, North America’s largest ticketed beer festival, will return in person to celebrate its 40th Anniversary in Denver, Colorado, October 6-8, 2022.

Many American craft beers such as Firestone Walker Brewing Co, Lakefront Brewery Inc, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Rogue Ales, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Stone Brewing Co. and The Bruery are available in Silpo or Good Wine stores throughout Ukraine, plus selected on trade venues.


Lotte Peplow

About the author: Lotte Peplow is the American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe for the Brewers Association and is based in London, UK.  She is a Certified Cicerone®, BDI accredited Beer Sommelier, beer writer, beer communicator, international beer judge, homebrewer and beer lover.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 5,500-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the World Beer Cup®Great American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food ExperienceHomebrew ConTMNational Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer® magazine, and Brewers Publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the U.S. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com® and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association® and the free Brew Guru® mobile app. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Lotte Peplow, the Brewers Association’s American Craft Beer Ambassador for Europe, looks at what the American craft brewing industry is doing to become more sustainable.

Decanter World Wine Awards 2021: Ukrainian wines are highly appreciated!

The Ukrainian wines received awards at the prestigious competition Decanter World Wine Awards 2021.

The 18th and one of the most influential international wine competitions was held in London. This time there were a lot of innovations at the Decanter World Wine Awards: the competition samples were judged by 170 authoritative wine judges, including 44 Masters of Wine, 11 Master Sommeliers, as well as wine experts from around the world. The number of wines presented also broke records of previous years: the jury evaluated 18,093 samples!

And this year, for the first time, so many Ukrainian manufacturers took part in the competition – and, what is especially pleasant, they were accepted triumphantly, having received many awards, including “gold”. But first things first. 🙂

The first pleasant surprise is two bronze medals of the young Odessa winery Odesos Winery. Note that the company was founded in 2019 – and already such an achievement at a prestigious competition in London! Apparently, the philosophy of Odesos Winery winemakers “Quality is more important than volume” is bearing fruit. Keep it up! 🙂

The company Artwinery is also celebrating the victory, two sparkling wines of which won bronze medals in the competition.

Wine at Decanter Awards

Another debutant of the Decanter World Wine Awards is Beykush Winery. The jury awarded medals to 9 samples of this winery: 5 wines received silver, and 4 wines brought the producer bronze. Well, after the recognition of domestic experts and the awards received at Ukrainian professional competitions, as well as the high assessment given to Beykush wines by one of the most respected wine critics in the world, Jancis Robinson, during the tasting of Ukrainian wines organized by Drinks+, the medals at such a prestigious competition seem quite logical and well-deserved. We wish Beykush Winery to conquer new international wine peaks! 🙂

Decanter World Wine Awards 2021

The main Ukrainian triumphant of the Decanter World Wine Awards was the SHABO company, whose wines won 16 (!) Awards, including two gold medals – for Grande Reserve Chardonnay 2015 and Grande Reserve Cabernet 2017! The professional expert jury of the competition evaluated these two samples at a record 95 points. Separately, we note that wines from a special collection of Iukuridze Family Wine, were also awarded. The premiere of the collection in Ukraine was announced for the fall by SHABO CEO Giorgi Iukuridze. We are looking forward to and wish the entire team of the leading Ukrainian wine-making company to conquer new international heights! 🙂

We indicate that several Crimean enterprises also contributed to the collection of awards of the Ukrainian winemaking “team”: the jury of the competition noted the wines of “Massandra” and “Zolota Balka”.

This year, our wine-making partner countries, Moldova and Georgia, took part in the Decanter World Wine Awards. Moldovan winemakers won three gold medals: the jury noted the wines of the Purcari, Radacini and Kazayak wineries. Georgia brought one “gold” which was received by the Binekhi Winery from Kakheti.

Drinks+ once again congratulates all Ukrainian producers who have been highly evaluated by the expert jury of the prestigious competition and believes that ours is just beginning its triumphant march to the international wine arena.

Photo: decanter.com

The Ukrainian wines received awards at the prestigious competition Decanter World Wine Awards 2021.

OIV general principles of sustainability at Wine Paris and Vinexpo

The OIV representative dived into the OIV general principles of sustainability: environmental, social, economic, and cultural aspects during the last day of the Wine Paris & Vinexpo.

During the Wine Paris & Vinexpo webinar, Tatiana Svinartchuk, Head of Unit Economy & Law at the OIV, shared the structure and working mechanism of the OIV, the organization’s objectives and the historical timeline of the OIV resolutions regarding sustainability in vitiviniculture.

Wine sector is a significant contributor to the sustainable development goals. For the OIV guiding in vitiviniculture sector, an understanding, adoption, and application of the concept of sustainability has been one of the priorities for a number of years.

At the last general assembly of November 2020, the OIV has adopted an important document – The OIV Guidelines for the implementation of principles of sustainable vitiviniculture. This step constitutes the finalization of the entire cycle of works and discussions, which started in 2004 when the first definition of sustainability was developed.

sustainability definition

The document underlines the importance of collective strategies and actions in the sector. It provides various management tools and advice as well as a library of already accepted best practices for each principle of sustainability. These recommendations were accepted via consensus by 48 member-countries.

The OIV devoted 16 years of groundwork to this issue starting from 2004. At that time, the first document was adopted – Development of Sustainable Vitiviniculture. In the following discussions, the OIV started to work on the document explaining how to implement this sustainability definition in practice. Two resolutions were adopted – OIV Guidelines for the sustainable vitiviniculture production, processing and packaging of products (2008) and Guidelines adopted to table grapes and raisins (2011). Before the final resolution, the OIV arrived at the definition of general principles of sustainability in 2016.

Sustainable Vitiviniculture Resolutions

According to the Resolution, there are five principles of sustainability:

  1. The globality – the sustainable approach integrates environmental, social, and economic aspects.
  2. The development of sustainable activities is based on an environmental risk.
  3. Sustainable vitiviniculture is sensitive to social and cultural aspects.
  4. It seizes to maintain economic viability.
  5. Sustainable initiatives require planning and assessment.

To implement the concept, several management tools is proposed such as notification of stakeholders and influencing organizations, prioritization of actions, examples of potential indicators, etc.

Tatiana Svinartchuk

Tatiana Svinartchuk presented a holistic vision of the connection between culture, wine, and sustainability: “Wine is an internationally recognized product. It has impacted the societies’ cultures and landscapes. Cultural heritage nourished by the wine sector cannot be sustainable without considering the undenied cultural product and its impact on producing and consuming societies.”

She underlines that the opposite is also true: “The agricultural product – wine – needs to consider the deep impact it has on the landscape of structure of raw societies, on engaging a collective strategy to share the added value and traditions.”

The OIV representative dived into the OIV general principles of sustainability: environmental, social, economic, and cultural aspects during the last day of the Wine Paris & Vinexpo.

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 French 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.