London, Wine Trade

How to find a wine treasure (now wash your hands)

vintage glassware

How much are you willing to put your hand in the muck to find buried wine treasure?

Never has there been more choice in wine. Never has there been more rubbish, too. Ten years ago, the wine trade bemoaned the supermarket and the lack of diversity. Now we have more diversity, more wine suppliers, more regions, more access than ever before.

“What are these wines,” asks the bewildered customer, “can anybody tell me?” The poor staff looks up from studying their master sommelier examinations thinking, does it all come to this.

Since the last recession, this strategy has been happening across retail, including wine. When no one has heard of the product, the product is always new. When no one has even heard of who it is or where it’s from? How new. How exciting. But is it any good?

It’s good for the seller as they don’t sell anywhere else. Especially not on the producer’s own website. Unlikely to be fully referenced on the supplier’s website. Or, anywhere else online for that matter.

Of course, that’s the beauty of it for those who sell. You can’t compare it with anything else. The price can go unchallenged. The quality can go unchallenged. Will there even be a next vintage to compare? Probably not. Sellers are not really in the business of taking care of small producers with high fixed costs for the long term.

Here’s the thing though: some of them taste very good. You can still find a wine treasure. But be prepared to put your hands in deep and wash your hands afterwards.