Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
12:45 AM 20th November 2021

Christmas By The Glass

As restauranteurs are braced to lose millions this Christmas due to wine supply chain issues Tom Berresford, Managing Director, Bermar, and urges us to choose wine by the glass when dining out this Christmas.

Image: ponce_photography /Pixabay
Image: ponce_photography /Pixabay
A mixture of global supply shortages, Brexit, and poor harvests due to the current climate crisis means consumers will have to either switch their choices of wine or trade-up this Christmas season, meaning enjoying wine by the glass has never been more relevant.

Starting with supply shortages, people ask, why have hospitality venues not planned for this and purchased winter stock ahead of time? Well, the hospitality industry is currently going through the ringer, having just survived an incredibly tough and challenging 18 months which has seen all their cash reserves obliterated, so they just can’t hedge that much stock ahead of time.

With the climate crisis causing poor harvests, covid causing huge disruption to the global supply chain, and Brexit causing customs and staffing issues for drivers and beyond, the ones who feel the lasting effect of these issues is the you, the consumer. When visiting any hospitality or retail venues in the coming months, you may need to change your wine choices as some of our favourites simply won’t be available, or prices may be eye-watering.

Image: photosforyou / Pixabay
Image: photosforyou / Pixabay
Factoring in all of these issues and challenges simultaneously, our drinking habits will most certainly need to change. With recent situations seeing major wine regions such as Malborough in New Zealand having a harvest down by 30%, and the Champagne region hit even harder with a 36% reduction in their harvest, it has been a real struggle for certain areas of the wine industry!

This might sound scary, but these changes bring with them a world of opportunity. Wine menus will have new stars in place of tried and true favourites which will force us to switch or trade up. New and emerging players will undeniably come to the forefront.

In some instances, your favourite bottle may have managed to retain its place on the wine list but could have skyrocketed in price. Opting for a by the glass option is still a great way to enjoy your favourite wine without breaking the bank.

Not only is by the glass the perfect opportunity to try something different and discover something new, it is actually the nation’s favourite way of enjoying wine. A new study commissioned by Bermar revealed that over a third of people (35%) prefer a glass of wine, versus just 20% who prefer to order by the bottle.

Premium wines by the glass should absolutely be on your radar this Christmas. Rather than just settling for a switch, trading up will allow you to experience something new, making the experience about delicious discoveries, not a disappointment due to lack of availability.

Image: pasja1000 /Pixabay
Image: pasja1000 /Pixabay
There has never been a time where wine has been so constrained in getting into the country. One positive side effect of this challenge is that wine lists will surely explode with regions and varieties like never before. English wines which were already enjoying a rise in popularity will have an increasing major role to play, as they have the advantage of already being in the country!

The UK’s top five favourite wine regions in order are France, the UK, Italy, Australia, and Spain. While many of these favourites are in shorter supply, this leaves plenty of scope for us to develop a newfound appreciation for some of the overlooked but astounding wines produced closer to home in the UK, or, discover other interesting wine-making regions such as Israel, Hungary, or even Georgia!

Whilst in this age of discovery, it is important we remain eco-conscious as a nation. Did you know you can drink by the glass and be more environmentally conscious? We know that Brits prefer to splash out more when the environmental impact is less.

Tom Berresford
Tom Berresford
Bermar’s research also revealed that we prefer to spend in bars that are conscious of their carbon footprint. Over a third (38%) said they would be more likely to choose a bar that was more environmentally conscious and three in ten (31%) would be inclined to spend more at a “greener” venue.

Consumers care about the environment, with a large portion prepared to spend more for a greener service, but many know very little about how to address these concerns. As wine is the UK’s favourite choice, there are some steps they can take when seeking a greener service.

First, take a look! Does the wine menu demonstrate or highlight the venue's policies, tech, a preservation system, ideas, or draw your attention to information regarding what they are doing to deliver a more sustainable service?

Second, ask! Don’t be afraid to ask a venue how they look after their wine. For example, what do they do to prevent wastage? Venues should be proud of how they care for their wine, so be bold and enquire.

Image: stevepb / Pixabay
Image: stevepb / Pixabay
Finally, call to action. If a sustainable service is requested by the masses, use your voice to help move those mountains. It may be slow going at first, but if enough people enquire about the methods put in place to care for the wine they are purchasing, venues will have to think carefully about their current measures and how they can continue to improve their overall wine offer.

It is a huge effort for wine producers to deliver our favourite drink into our glasses. It is heart breaking to think if wine isn’t cared for, a significant portion ends up down the sink. With wine, it can be years in the making for it to be down the drain in a moment if due care isn’t taken. Not only is this detrimental for the venues’ profit, but very detrimental for our planet, as well.

With a carbon footprint of around 1.2kg per bottle, it is evident we really need to consider and analyse not just the product, but the way it is served and cared for.
Hopefully, particularly when our favourite wines are in short supply, we will all feel more compelled than ever to ask a few more questions; how is that glass of wine cared for, or what does this restaurant do to control their wastage? In turn, venues should feel excited to give their consumers the answer as it makes for a more positive and profitable bounce back post-covid.

We know that it can be daunting to try new and unusual wines, not knowing whether it’s going to be your ‘thing’. There are great switches and trades all over the wine map. Your favourite Chillien Merlot might no longer be on the list but might be replaced by a new and interesting Stellenbosh Merlot from South Africa, as an example. Your favourite Californian Red might be missing but you could try something from South Africa’s western cape.

Overall, we can expect to see higher average prices on most established popular wines, some wines totally AWOL from stores and menus, but in their place plenty of opportunity to drink some new, fascinating, and premium wines by the glass, and you can even be environmentally conscious while doing it this Christmas season. Something we can truly raise a glass to.

Bermar are manufacturers of one of the world’s professional wine & Champagne preservation systems.

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