In a move that many will consider as entirely politically motivated, Russia has announced that imports of all Ukranian alcohol products, including beer and wine, were banned as of last Friday, August
15th. The reason given is becasue of labelling inaccuracies, but the ban is strangely reminiscent of the ban placed on Georgian wines, beers and spirits in 2008, just as tensions increased and a minor
war broke out over the breakaway Russian-leaning regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Then, health and safety fears were cited as the reason, but few doubted the real motivation for the ban.
Millennial Wine Drinkers
America's 29 million "Millennial" generation wine drinkers are set to reshape the US wine market into a more diverse and culturally mainstream sector, according to a new report published by Wine
Intelligence. Monthly wine drinkers under the age of 35 now account for over 30% of the American wine drinking population, and have grown in both size and influence over the past five years. Researchers
found a large disparity in terms of behavior and attitude among younger drinkers. The highest involved group, dubbed "Epicureans", exhibited high spending, high frequency of consumption and involvement
in other aspects of the category, such as wine tourism. At the other end of the scale the low involved wine drinkers (known as "Peripherals") saw wine as just another drink, and one which they
generally consumed only when their peers were doing so. The research team discovered a correlation between high involvement in wine and whether a bottle made a regular appearance at the family dinner
table when these consumers were growing up. The connection with wine at home was a stronger predictor of high involvement in adulthood than any other factor. Lulie Halstead, Chief Executive of
Wine Intelligence, said: "As an industry we need to recognise the growing importance of Millennial consumers. It's also gratifying to refute any theory that involved, engaged wine drinkers are
born rather than made. The data strongly points to the influence of parents, in the home, in educating their children on the pleasures of food and wine, and how much of an impact this has on their
behaviour as adults".
Wine & Science
The American Chemical Society (ACS) held a symposium between August 9-13 2014, in which two research findings were presented and discussed, one on 'terroir' and one on how wines age in bottle. The former study
evaluated 41 different lots of Malbec wine, from Argentina and California. ACS's Susan E. Ebeler, Ph.D. said her research was unique in that the Malbecs from different regions were from the same winemaker,
yet the Argentinean Malbecs tended to have more ripe fruit characteristics, sweetness and higher
alcohol, while those from California were more bitter, and had more artificial fruit and citrus aromas. The samples
were evaluated both by trained wine experts and gas chromatographic analysis of the wines' volatile compounds. The ageing study placed 400 bottles of Italian red wine into two different environments for
24 months, one a professional cellar with strictly controlled temperature (59-62 degrees Fahrenheit) the other mimicking a dark room in a home (68-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
"We discovered that a relatively small difference in the temperature speeds up several chemical reactions associated with wine aging and even promotes new reactions that are not observed at lower
temperatures," sais study leader Fulvio Mattivi of Fondazione Edmund Mach Research and Innovation Centre in Italy. "After six months under domestic conditions, the wine in the bottle was
approximately as 'old' as a bottle from the same lot stored for two years under cellar conditions. The house-stored wine was aging approximately four times faster."
Pilot and former First Class stewardess Jon and Sara Saunby are about to open Salut Wines, a wine bar and wine merchant in Manchester, that claims to have the largest wine preservation and dispensation
machine in the city. The new business was supported by a Business Finance Solutions loan, designed to help businesses across Greater Manchester access finance, grow, and create or protect jobs.
Sara and Jon from Salford say Salut Wines will marry a traditional wine merchant with a wine bar offering 32 different wines by the glass, all dispensed using a state of the art Enomatic wine dispensing
system. Customers can try a 50ml sample before choosing 125ml or 175ml glasses, or a full bottle to drink or take home.
Sara said: "There can be a lot of mystery surrounding wine and people tend to find one or two that they like and stick with them. Our big difference is that we are coming at this from the customers'
side and we want Salut Wines to be somewhere that people can come to relax, have a bite to eat and feel free to explore the wine and get some help if they want it."
Guest Wines Pop-ups
Staying in the north, Tyneside couple Kelvyn and Ruth Guest are "aiming to share their love of wine and take the snobbery out of wine tasting," with a series of events and pop-up bars on Tyneside.
Their company, Guest Wines, has already appeared at the Eat Festival and one of the first events they organised was a pop-up wine bar for an art gallery's monthly exhibition launch.
Rather than having a permanent base, the business focuses on popping up in different, often unusual venues. Kelvyn said: "Different wines are like different music. Sometimes, you want a symphony
and other times you want it brash, loud and in your face. The couple will be demonstrating their wine skills at a free wine tasting at Waitrose Elson Square on Sat 23rd August, between 12-3pm.
The pic shows Ruth and Kelvyn at a pop up punk themed wine bar, but as a real punk in his day, Tom says "ditch the high heels Ruth."