WHY FOCUS ON LOCAL WINE? COMING OFF THE BACK FO THE PANDEMIC

 Official: US wine drinkers increase affinity toward Californian wine during pandemic. 

One of the hottest trends at the moment is the desire to support and buy local. As city centres became ghost towns through lockdown, everybody turned their attention to the local businesses on their doorstep. Not a terrible amount has changed really. Sure, Zone 1 is back open, but we are still seeing the neighbourhood establishments thrive. A great example of this is the team at Top Cuvee, who pivoted to open Shop Cuvee during the pandemic. Their great social media strategy and an interesting wine offering has been a real Covid-19 success story.

But what does this mean for the modern wine list. I have spoken before about where the opportunities lie for premiumisation. Get the more esoteric wines on your list at the entry end and premiumise the more popular varieties. However now we are seeing a much greater affinity to buying local. When I say local, in terms of wine, I mean national. The UK wine scene has come on leaps and bounds in the last decade. We now have some of the best sparkling wine in the world, as the still wines are getting better and better, too. 

It doesn’t even have to be out of a blind patriotic obligation anymore. Now, English wine is a must for all wine lists, period. Not only is it in-keeping with how so many of us have been buying over the last 18 months; but the quality is there to support it. 

Blackbook. An urban winery in Battersea, London are a top example of amazing still wine from the UK.

I was catching up with Ben Porter the other day. He is the wine man at Bristol’s Harbour House. A must-visit venue if you are in the city. He told me that they are looking to eventually phase Champagne out of the list entirely, in favour of English Sparkling wine. This is a BIG move indeed. But Ben thinks (and I agree) that as an industry, we are now in a place where we can make this happen. It’s also on brand with consumer buying behaviour through the pandemic. 

Whether you are writing your next wine list, or simply looking over a wine list and wandering what to order. Take a moment to consider English wine. You might find that the effects of lockdown have amplified consumer demand for it. 

Cheers

Harry Crowther

Founder & Legend