In every issue of Take Stock we ask John Mansfield of The Society of Vintners about what’s happening in the world of wine. For this festive edition, John has gathered feedback from society members to help you know what to stock and serve this Christmas…
Champagne’s position as the luxury drink over the festive period will remain undiminished. However, customers are now more than happy to go for lesser known labels – sure in the knowledge that, in blind tastings, many of these outperform wines from major Champagne Houses. The Society’s Jules Feraud Champagne is a prime example of a quality, award-winning Champagne that offers real value – and it’s exclusive to us, so not on supermarket shelves.
Prosecco remains the drinkers number one choice of sparkling tipple this year, so there should always be an entry level offering available by the glass and bottle. However, we predict that many customers will use Christmas and New Year as an opportunity to trade up to better quality offerings like Famiglia Pasqua Treviso, so don’t hesitate to offer customers the chance to go premium. One upcoming trend of interest is mid to premium Cava’s, where we’re seeing stronger demand than in previous years as operators swap out their mediocre Prosecco’s in favour of something new.
Sauvignon Blanc remains the top selling still white wine in the UK and increasingly it’s New Zealand Sauvignon that is being asked for by customers – both by the glass and bottle. We are seeing huge interest in our Riversdale Single Estate and Neptune Point Sauvignon Blancs – both hailing from New Zealand’s famous Marlborough wine region. There will be demand for a good Pinot Grigio – especially now the new DOC quality standards have kicked in – with San Giorgio Pinot Grigio della Venezie a particular favourite rose. Demand for premium white wines will also be strong this Christmas and New Year as people try to end what has been a difficult year, on a high. Expect to see customers asking for French regional wines like Chablis and Sancerre, which are perfect accompaniments to pork and turkey. For drinkers looking for something different, a Zinfandel, which we’re selling more and more of, is a good choice and Out of America ‘Zin’ lets you serve a great tasting wine with a seasonally appropriate side story, as the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust benefits from the sale of every bottle.
Customers are demanding slightly more upmarket reds, so one good example is Old Station Malbec, which is being selected by operators at the expense of Pablo Cortez Malbec – our top selling red last year. The reason? They like the premium taste and are prepared to pay for it… and it goes brilliantly with beef and cheese too!The other reds we’re sure will be best sellers are good Riojas from Spain, Shiraz and Merlots from South America and Australasia, and for lovers of French red you should get a St. Emilion on your list.
Port & sherry
Sherry – for so long associated with granny at Christmas – is now becoming trendy with younger drinkers. Forget the classic Harveys Bristol Cream though, we’re talking about customers who are teaching themselves about Manzanilla and Fino, Amontillado and Oloroso, Moscatel and Palo Cortados. This is a fabulous opportunity for operators to offer something different, and our Lustau Pedro Ximénez is a great place to start.
Port – an essential accompaniment to the cheeseboard and a simple end of meal up sell. However, don’t stop there… the on trade is also starting to discuss port and tonic!
If you’d like to get specific advice from a Society of Vintners expert, check out www.societyvintners.co.uk for details of their members.