Drink Feature


Mark Roberts, Head of Sales, Lanchester Wines.

Mark Roberts, Head of Sales at Lanchester Wines, is inviting Venue Insight readers to help shape the UK’s wine trade in 2018 and beyond.

Wine is made to be enjoyed, it’s probably the most social drink in the world. Yet, as with everything, our trends come and go and today’s favourite wine will not be tomorrow’s.

Each year, wine merchants like ourselves carefully study purchasing patterns and consumer trends to select the wines your customers will want to drink. The world of wine would be easier to navigate if we had been able to predict 10 to 15 years ago that we would all now be drinking Prosecco, Malbec and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

In the last edition of Venue Insight, we looked at three key trends which will shape the on trade in 2018 – more wine by the glass, premiumisation of the wine list and consumer education. Now it’s time to drill down into the detail to find out which wines you’ll be pouring.

Looking back to look forward When shaping the future, it often

16 JANUARY 2018 WWW.VENUE-INSIGHT.COM helps to review the past.

The last couple of years have undoubtedly seen the ongoing rise of the ‘super varietal’. A great example of this is Malbec, undoubtedly the on-trend wine of the moment, so much so that its becoming its own category. However, its traditional homeland of Argentina has had challenging harvests so we’re seeing a move towards Chilean Malbec which is showing both excellent quality and excellent value.

This also demonstrates another key trend - consumers will select a wine variety they prefer rather than a wine from a specific region. For example, they’ll drink a ‘Pinot Grigio’ rather than specifically searching for an ‘Italian Pinot Grigio’. As such, wine merchants, like ourselves, have been afforded licence to source premium products without regionality restrictions and we’re seeing more emerging wine areas than ever before, and traditional ‘regional’ wines being grown in ‘new’ areas

We’ve also seen a change in perception of bulk wine – wine which is shipped in containers (ISO tanks, Flexitanks etc) rather than in bottles, and then bottled in the UK.

This can be a credible way for operators to source premium wines without the premium price tag, with bulk wines consistently winning awards such as our Nika Tiki Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc which has recently received Silver Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017 amongst others.

And, bulk wine offers considerable environmental savings to boot.

The increased sophistication of the global bulk wine market has led to greater availability of wines at all levels, which offer customers superb value for money. Now, around 50% of all wine sold in the UK is bottled here, and the numbers are growing. The further away the wine is produced, the higher the likelihood it’s been bottled in the UK – around 85% of all Australian wine imports are now bulk rather than bottled.

For the on-trade we’re really looking to bring in more interesting varietals. In the past the bulk thing would have been a tank of Shiraz, a tank of Chardonnay, but these days we’re working with a lot more interesting blends, whether it be Shiraz-Mourvedre, Chenin-Sauvignon. These really quirky, on-trade-driven varietals that consumers are really getting behind now.

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