Monday, 14 April 2008

Same wine - different lable

Have you ever wondered if you are continually drinking the same wine but with a different label?

Well your concerns may not be unfounded.

A recent industry report flagged up a frightening statistic - there are currently an estimated 3000 second labels floating around the worlds wine racks.

So what is a second label? Lets be clear, it is not a second wine. Merely a bottle with a differently designed label to disguise the fact that there are thousands of wines on sale in the high street that are exactly the same in every detail. Except for the name and the price - yep, the price.

Second labels are a valuable, cost effective tool for the the majors to make more money without over stocking. It enables them to widen their range of wines and spread it out around different stores, without actually having to buy new wines from different growers. There are many growers that will quite happily label many of their wines to suite your requirements. Therefore if you have a chain of shops you can label the same wines to suite the expectations of your clientele. For example if you have two shops, one in a fairly affluent area and one in an area where the customers are a bit more price sensitive. You can label the same wine differently to appeal to both sets of customers.

It also enables you to charge a £1 or so extra depending on what you think it will bear.

It is a useful tool for the majors who stock their wine departments according to the demographic of each particular stores customer base. It also enables the producers or their agents to sell the same wine to different companies without conflicting overlaps.

Is it illegal? No it certainly is not. There are strict EU laws governing the labeling of wine.

According to the Food standards Agency these are the legal requirements.

'Specific mandatory items must be shown, in one field of vision. These include nominal volume (eg 75cl), alcoholic strength (eg 11.5% vol), bottler's details, country of origin, type of wine. In addition a statement about the sulphur dioxide content will be required on any label when this exceeds 10mg/litre.'

That is all you legally need to have on the wine label and it doesn't even need to be on the front label. It is perfectly OK to print all this info on a back label.

You may now feel as though you've been had but is this any different than buying cheaper own brand products rather paying more for the leading brand that is made by the same manufacturer? You may well be paying more for the same product because of the way it is dressed up?

A case of 'The King's new clothes' maybe?

Credit crisis? What crisis?

While the global credit crunch has forced many consumers to curtail their spending, one Beijing-based billionaire has splashed out a record $500,000 on 27 bottles of red wine.

The anonymous Chinese entrepreneur bought a mix of vintages of Romanee Conti, a Burgundy wine and considered to be among the world's most exclusive with only 450 cases produced each year.

The price is the highest that has ever been achieved for a single lot at auction.

And the best part of the story? Apaprently, he hasn't bought the wine as an investment - he's bought it to drink!

Monday, 7 April 2008

New contender for the world's most expensive wine

Champagne house Krug has announced the release of it's new 1995 Clos d'Ambonnay. This is their first new release since launching their Rose 25 years ago. It's also the House's first 'Blanc de Noirs' - meaning that it is made entirely from Red grapes, in this case Pinot Noir.

But the real headline grabber is the price which is £1500 - £2000 - per bottle, not per case! This phenomenal price puts it above the price of other heavyweights such as Dommaine de Rommane Conti and Chateau Petrus.

So how do Krug justify such a price? Well at the risk of sounding glib, they won't have to. The fact's are it was produced from one tiny walled vineyard the Clos d'Ambonnay which is just 0.6 of a ha. In 1995 it yielded a paultry 250 cases. So it is inevitable that demand will outstrip supply - even at such an exorbitant price. One London merchant is reputed to have claimed that he could sell the whole lot with one phone call.

But never mind the price, does it taste any good? Well according to Serena Sutcliffe MW who tasted the wine last year "It is quite sensational" and more then worthy of the Krug name.

The question is "could you tell the difference between the Clos d'Ambonnay and a glass of traditional Moet et Chandon? I think the answer has to be an emphatic 'Yes!' But, could you justify the price?

Hmmmm ....... better sleep on that one!

Read more about super expensive wines

Friday, 4 April 2008

Italian officials block shipment of Brunello di Montalcino wines

Italian officials have blocked the shipment of Brunello di Montalcino's wines.

The magistrate of Siena, an appointed judicial authority, has questioned the controls exercised by the consortium of Brunello di Montalcino, which governs the stipulations of how the wine is made in both the vineyard and the cellar.

Authorities are scanning thousands of documents, including winemaker notes, harvest and bottling records, Consorzio registrations and DOCG stamps.

If the slightest discrepancy is found, even if subject to interpretation and explanation, the existing stocks of the 2003 vintage Brunello, the year in question, will be sequestered from distribution, the company said in a statement.

Stocks already on store shelves and restaurant cellars will not be affected.

"The situation has quickly become political and threatens the commerce of innumerable small businesses and the pleasure of millions of consumers around the world,” Marc Goodrich, chief operating officer of Banfi Vintners, a US importer of the wines, said.

“The promise of Brunello to the consumer remains valid and unquestioned, but has been caught in crossfire between warring factions in what amounts to a political disgrace.”

Goodrich claims the majority of Brunello producers are likely to come under scrutiny. This could lead to the sale of the 2003 vintage suspended, potentially for several months if not longer.
“We will not know what really happened until all the political dust settles and the authorities retreat,” he said. "But in the meantime, they have put at risk the commercial, social and governmental reputation of all Italy.”