The Oenophiliac

Bringing you stories from the world of wine and beer.

Harpers – Mike Matthews writes on why we should take a leap of faith into the unusual

Harpers New Logo 2013I’m someone who searches for the unusual when it comes to wine. I like to champion those producers and countries that generally struggle to get a sniff when it comes to gaining recognition for precious shelf space.

This is reflected on how I approach tastings whilst looking to source new wines. France: seen it! Main land Spain and Italy: been there, done it…got the T-Shirt! With a glut of average wine on our shelves, when do we begin to take the time to offer something, new, varied and interesting to the public? Who’s going to take that leap of faith and say “Here, try a Lebanese?” How about “Fancy some Corsican or Mallorcan? Go on; take a sip of Croatia if you like?”

We are blessed to be able to work within such a diverse field that can offer a multitude of tastes, across a whole spectrum of price points and yet the adventurous nature in our buyers would appear to have been lost. But whose fault is that? When wine education amongst the everyday consumer is minimal, it’s easy just to fill shop units with bulk, recognisable brands. To begin with they are cheap to bring in, whereas small parcels of boutique wine costs more money. People feel comfortable in the knowledge with what they will get with their Pinot Grigio. In short, its risk free! I’m not saying you won’t find these alternative nations’ wines out there; they’ll just be hidden away, top or bottom shelf, a token gesture really!

Wines of Balkans Logo

Now though might be the time to give these emerging wine nations a boost. New Zealand and Australia are becoming more expensive to deal with, so why not start swapping some of these out with Macedonia, Slovenia, Greece or Turkey for example. These countries have a long history within wine; but have been lost in the mire of mass consumerism, even internal conflicts. If we as communicators of wine were to give a bit of time to each of these countries; start to expand the public’s viewpoint then perhaps there is hope. We can begin to assume a bit of parity in the trade and start to offer customers a far more dynamic choice than the usual fair we continually see today.

Story by me!

Featured in the October 2013 issue of Harpers Wine & Spirit

Harpers New Logo




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