View this email in your browser
The wine trade is founded on a series of sometimes archaic traditions. En primeur must seem bonkers to an outsider – why on earth would you publicly publish ratings which will determine sales of an unfinished product? Trade in-fighting about whether it’s best to bottle wine at source or at point of consumption. What kind of closure is best. 

These series of ‘supposed tos’ dictate more than just how the wine trade works. They also filter down to consumers. ‘What’s it supposed to taste like again?’. 

It seems an innocuous question, overheard at umpteen tastings, in WSET classrooms and wine shops. Sav Blanc is supposed to taste like this. You’re supposed to enjoy a big, structural red with a steak. Sweet wines are supposed to be for dessert. 

But what happens to our understanding of or appreciation for wine if we flip preconception on its head and dive into the grape unknown. 
Abe Schoener came to winemaking from the perspective of learning about wine in a practical, hands-on sense. His subsequent Scholium Project has redrawn the boundaries of what wine can taste like, “selling the experience of extreme authenticity, of something pure and irreplaceable” to a generation of new wine drinkers who are hard-sold locavores when it comes to food.

The renaissance of traditional winemaking processes like qvevri fermentation and ageing has a similar, though less overt, effect. Qvevri, for example, flip the consumer’s perception of taste, colour, ageing – everything – on its head. Yet the fundamentals of wine quality - balance, integration, intensity, length - remain universal.

Opening minds to wines which don’t fit the ‘supposed to’ mould could insure against a future in which wine no longer fits the traditional script. A future where wine may not even be made from grapes. The key to environmental sustainability is diversity – which in wine means embracing native grapes. The growing consumer interest in Eastern European wines, such as wines of Georgia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Greece, is indicative of the consumer’s open minded acceptance of unusual grapes when marketed in an approachable way.  


  • It’s harvest season! As winemakers across the northern hemisphere bust a gut to make the very best of their harvest, we take a look at the best wine festivals and traditions.
  • Six new MWs announced. Sarah sympathises and celebrates with you.
  • A worrying pronouncement from Social Market Foundation and the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS). We’re sure @WineDrinkersUK will have something to say about it.
  • London and Manchester are set to play host to the Wines of Georgia Trade & Press Tasting. If you’re remotely interested in expanding your tastebuds’ horizons, this is one tasting you can’t miss. Sarah Abbott MW will also be running a masterclass – these typically sell out so bag your place now. 
  • Speaking of Georgia, the first annual Wines of Georgia Festival is kicking off in October. Click here for the lowdown.
  • Pleased to see Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey giving the Marathon du Medoc a run for its money with the #bacchushalf, plus #bacchuslite (a 10k). A much more sensible option we think! 

Our Feed

Enjoyed this newsletter? Share the love.

Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Did someone forward your this email? Subscribe Now
Copyright © 2019 Swirl Wine, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp