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MW. Paper 5: Questions from your Twitter suggestions
I asked, you delivered. Some Paper 5 food for thought.
I tweeted this;
You lot replied, so I spent an hour working through as many essay plans as I could. This is super quick, largely unedited train of thought stuff.
I would WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS!
this might be interesting for some of you, and quite thoroughly dull for the rest of you.
Why is knowledge of wine considered a barrier to entry when beer and spirits don’t suffer from the same?
Huge complexity in product in terms of style. Beer is ostensibly more complicated to produce…
Business created around delivering education requires perpetuation of knowledge.
Constantly evolving landscape of products.
Emotive agricultural product, the growing and variety of the grapes is fundamental to the product, whereas less emphasis is placed on Malt & Hop variety.
The industry actively perpetuates this problem.
How can we improve the language we use to describe wine?
Essay would need to explain the current landscape of wine language.
Overly complex tasting notes / consumer education.
Greenwashing and disingenuous delivery (clean wine) - product labelling.
Sexism and inclusion through masculine / feminine language.
Would be worth addressing each of these points in turn with commentary, examples and potential evolution of ideas, and how it is changing already.
How does wine respond commercially to the rise of the cannabis industry?
I know literally nothing about the cannabis industry… would avoid answering where possible.
Big in America?
Consumables / variety / comparison with e-cigarettes
legalised in certain states, Portugal trials and Holland. Heavily regulated, and closer to Alcohol.
Bigger threat is from potential additional regulations that tobacco and cannabis are comfortable with, many people want alcohol to be as heavily regulated. Access & supply, consumption limits, lower abv rates
Infusions and collaboration is probs worth thinking about.
Is this the best time in history to be a wine drinker?
Fundamentally, we don’t know, because we don’t actually have context. We don’t know that consumers enjoyed wines in the way we do today.
This is a question around cleanliness, science, innovation and capitalism. The movement of goods around the world.
Key markets in history for wines, I.e U.K. thrived off Sherry and port. Fashion and fads in styles.
Super conventional big volume mass market production is the dominating wine in the landscape, many people making the argument for ‘best time in history’ are trapped in a very small niche of collectibles, investments and fine wine, and underground ‘craft’ wine, or they are relentless pro-mass produced consumerists.
Are all current trends just another reaction to what’s gone before it?
Fortified wines of post prohibition America, warm areas of Australia, large swathes of the Swartland rescued old vines for premium wines away from co-op and distillation.
For most wines, is terroir largely a marketing tactic?
Most wines don’t market themselves on terroir.
What is terroir anyway?
Prescribed wisdom is combination of soil/grape/climate/weather
Wines that market themselves with terroir of course will have two options;
Terroir as a fundamental part of their existance and of course it will be central to their marketing.
Brands and large producers trying to elevate their products into a premium category using some expressions of ‘place’ to signify its not mass produced.
Premium marker points - Soil - Maturation - winemakers signatures - places -
Sustainability argument, looking after the soil and regenerative is big business for Gen-Z and Milennial consumers. - They resonate with sincerity.
There is no stopping the relentless big machine co-opting every ‘small’ narrative for themselves. Pepsi got told off for their green cola, but no prescident for wine brands being held to account. (Natural labelling is not gaining traction)
Will EPR cause a fundamental change in how wine is packaged?
Very U.K. centric question, unlikely to come up. Although, is this being pushed through elsewhere? Will there be a wider conversation around waste packaging and sustainability?
Brands are already beginning to move this way, so will local gov look to capitalise?
EPR is extended Producer Responsibility, passing on waste obligations to the producer of the waste, I.e the manufacture, to move this cost away from consumers keen site recycling and reducing overall waste packaging.
Good on principle, passing the burden should reduce total packaging used.
Bad for producers as it’s really fucking expensive, plus some waste pack obligations are unavoidable, bottles, glass, labels etc etc. Lots of contentious thoughts around paperwork and record keeping.
Bad for consumers, prices at the till will go up. EPR is just additional paperwork, and record keeping, but inevitably consumers will pay. However instead of paying through local taxes, they’ll pay at point of purchase, feeding into purchase taxes and retailer margins.
Is the the no/low movement a hindrance or a help for the wine industry?
Massive hinderance. Lots of innovation wasted on creating a large reduction in abv
We can already use RO to loose 3-5% abv without detrimental effect. Beers can be brewed to 4% and RO is only removing a small proportion of the end product.
Wine is 12-15% of final product being removed, and alcohol is a big factor in wine structure.
Who are no/low wines for?
Should be we moving to compete at 5%? Wine isn’t legally wine st this abv, requires legislation change, or labelling as a soft beverage.
Beer can be still called beer at 0.5%.
Wine is simply not up to scratch at the moment with this product, yet every retailer is telling wineries they need to get better, do they?
Who will be the winners and losers of tomorrow? Why?
Complex question, lots to unpack.
Anyone getting ahead on climate change
Marginal climates, benefit from climate change.
The innovators looking at Mitigstion.
Mitigstion / Innovations
Anyone looking at soil health.
Barron land is dead, degenerative farming will have to end. Herbicides and synthetics are a human reaction, the next plastic, remove from supply chain.
Big producers are embracing soil and regeneration.
Big brands who don’t keep up with the narrative of Gen-Z, storytelling, less but better, local produce
The Fine Wine Market,
Cost of living, inflation, global economic pressures
Bubbles bursting in fickle markets, tarriff and trade.
Driving the prices up arbitrarily
Legislation, testing, labelling and trade paperwork may impact worthiness of wines imported globally.
En primeur is the folly of the traditional markets.
Liv-Ex 100 is slipping, when usually considered very stable.
NFT and digital currencies can easily take advantage of trading fine wine as an unregulated associated asset
Authenticity. I really liked a talk by Felicity Carter about how Authenticity is potentially going to struggle in a world where what you see isn’t always what is actually happening.
It’s hard to officiate what is authentic.
It’s hard to guarantee AI hadn’t moderated images, copy, targeted ads.
Is the age of democratising wine over?
No. It’s thriving, you’re just not looking for it, because they’re hard to find.
Why does justification for anything require it to have global presence?
Debate the presence of prescriptive normative behaviours in wine purchase and discovery. Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it ‘normal’,
U.K. has 1000+ indies, who have a 1% market share between them, many owner operated. Plus hybrid, deli, coffee/wine bar/retail, micro merchants (copyright many thanks) - Starplane Stores, pubs with takeaway, cellar door,
Hiyu Wine farm, regenerative polyculture farm
Viticole wine club, brian McClintic effectively believes shipping natural, local, wine around the world is juxtaposed, wants to get to a point where the wines are made, produced and collected through community.
Notyetnamed wine co, it’s project based, there are other wine clubs. Darren at TFWATH - cross country collaborations.
The fact that trends exist show that brands are always reacting to demand.
Wine just takes years and years to innovate. Grow more grapes.
We expect wine to be able to react as quickly as beer or spirits, but innovation in wine is simply not that quick.
So we are a trend, make a statement and when notilhing changes in 5 years we claim wine is out of touch. The pioneers democratising wines are the ones who don’t follow the trends, but set them.
After decades struggling with what container to use for wine “bottles” what will become the best option?
Is this a P3 question! Or a P5?
Technically, bottle is a shape, and so the question leaves open the idea that a bottle can be made in any size and from any material
Assumption is this question is “75cl glass is bad we need an alternative”… fine, but…
Glass is only full where technical analysis is less complex, from barrel to bottle is easier, as stability is in sync.
Cans and SO2, BiB and OTR / Shelf Life etc etc.
The ‘best option’ could be argued that after 300+ years the 75cl glass bottle is doing pretty well, because nothing else has caught on.
Is that a product of tradition or the fact it is already the best option?
Do we need a ‘best option’ anyway? Is there ‘best for situation’, channel segmentation argument.
Wine is not at the Liberty of the Which? Magazine.
DRS schemes that exempt glass will perpetuate glass, if all other formats (PET / BiB / Can ) will require deposits and returns.
Kegs are obviously the best format for on-premise wine
Low diversity of styles required
High volume output
Less wastage, longer shelf life
Less wate packaging, circular system, kegged at source or on market on same system.
Low take up, narrative change required, big players need to move.
Home consumption is big, cans and kegs will not take on at home. Bottle seems to be the best size / format.
Off premise, travel, single serve and recyclables cans just work? But so do
Market for glass production / manufacture and carbon narrative, moving empty glass around. TWE only big producer with viability for own glass production.
Multiple formats require shipping empty packaging around the world.
Packing production in market of packaging makes sense, but globally fragmentation is unsustainable
If you made it this far, give yourself a pat on the back.