A few years ago two Harvard Business School professors penned organic wine’s post-mortem: “the history of organic wine . . . provides a case study of failed category creation,” they said in 2017. When the Harvard Business Review published an online summary of the paper in April 2018, the title expressed a bit more optimism: “How Organic Wine Finally Caught On”. Still, the overall tone remained sour: “If you cannot remember the last time you had a glass of organic wine, you are hardly alone. Overall, less than 5% of the world’s vineyards are organic. In the United States, the world’s largest consumer of wine, only 1% of wine sold by volume was organic.” The esteemed business experts pointed to one ray of light: “we also found that the recent success of a related category — biodynamic wines — shows a possible way forward.”
Oh, how times have changed, especially from the sommelier’s perspective. Eco-friendly wine is a large market, with tremendous on-trade growth potential. Limited production natural wines are now highly-allocated treasures whose price can soar almost exponentially in the “gray market” due to consumer demand. Among Wine Intelligence’s five predictions for 2022 is: “luxury wine will need to burnish sustainability credentials,” while prediction number one is about lighter glass bottles for carbon footprint reduction. IWSR’s report on 2022 trends finds that both producers and consumers increasingly expect to find a clear commitment to sustainable practices when making purchasing decisions. “Consumer research shows that 48% of US alcohol drinkers say their purchase decisions are positively influenced by a company’s sustainability or environmental initiatives; rising to 72% among Brazilian alcohol drinkers, and 70% of urban affluent Chinese alcohol drinkers.”
Continue reading at Sommeliers Choice Awards . . .
A rare chance to raise the curtain on the inner workings of the Bordeaux wine world is available to those starting out in the wine trade.
Bordeaux wine expert Jane Anson and business consultant Chinedu Rita-Rosa have teamed up to offer a new and exciting immersive experience to “get behind the scenes of a region that is key to the global wine market”: Bordeaux Mentor Week. Aimed at anyone commencing a career in the wine trade, Mentor Week will introduce participants to Bordeaux wines, winemaking, and distribution methods alongside rare access to select Chateaux. The program will take place in September of this year.
An example of the week´s program includes accommodation at Château La Lagune, Haut-Médoc 1855 3ième Cru: harvest work in vineyard and cellar; meetings with wine business innovators; as well as a Masterclass on The Place de Bordeaux, how it works, and how it is evolving. Mentor Week will emphasize organic and biodynamic farming techniques and philosophy, and also involves personal development, with mentoring sessions and instruction in olfactory analysis with focus on older wines.Accommodation and transport within the region for the official program is included for selected participants, and travel bursaries are possible for those who are not able to personally fund travel to this incredible French wine region.
Industry supporters include Quo Global, Wine Services, Château La Lagune and Bernard Magrez Grands Vignobles.
This promises to be an incredible experience for those entering the world of wine business.
Jane Anson has lived in Bordeaux since 2003 and is author of Inside Bordeaux (BB&R Press 2020, called a “category buster” by Wine Anorak and “the Bordeaux bible” by Le Figaro), Haut-Bailly (First Press Editions 2021), Wine Revolution (Quarto 2017), The Club of Nine (Katz Publishing 2016) Angélus (Editions de la Martiniere, 2016) and Bordeaux Legends, a history of the 1855 First Growth wines (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013), as well as co-author or translator of over a dozen wine and travel books. She has won several awards for her writing, including Louis Roederer Wine Online Communicator of the Year 2020, and Born Digital Best Editorial 2020.
Chinedu Rita Rosa is the CEO and Founder of Vines By Rosa, the first black-owned wine export and marketing consultancy in Bordeaux France. With over 22 years of experience in the wine trade, she brings a friendly but firm African approach to the wine industry with a passion for success. Chinedu is also the President and Founder of the Bordeaux Business Network, an organization created to help English-speaking Entrepreneurs in the Aquitaine Region in France.
This opportunity is available to all subscribers of janeanson.com – or through nomination by a subscriber. “All you need to do is join up first or ask your employer or friend who does subscribe to nominate you,” says Jane Anson. Applications are open until April 30, 2022. Simply send your details, with information about your current role and why you would be interested in attending the week, to email@example.com, clearly marked The Mentor Week. All applications will be reviewed by a panel including Jane, Chinedu, and the industry partners, with the successful candidates announced by mid May 2022.
Charlie Leary earned his PhD in history at Cornell University. He has served as a wine director for restaurants in New Orleans, southern France, Canada, Costa Rica and Panama since 1995. He is a certified Spanish Wine Specialist, Cava Educator and Expert and has studied wine through Washington State University, the Wine Scholar Guild, California Wine Institute, and the Rioja Academy. Charlie is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers.