3 minute read
For our latest ‘Southpaw Bears All’ podcast, strategy director Niki Macartney welcomed Sam Caporn, aka ‘The Mistress of Wine’, a woman who seriously knows her grapes and whose 20-year devotion to the Nectar of the Gods makes her best placed to help us answer this burning question:
How can those involved in the wine industry break down some of the barriers people face when it comes to learning about, choosing and enjoying wine?
To listen to our full podcast head over to our Soundcloud or, watch our behind the scenes filming below!
If you haven't got time to listen to the full episode, check out some of our takeouts below.
3 simple ways the wine industry can demystify the category
Let’s be real: wine lovers we may be, but sometimes it’s hard to tell your terroir from your tannins.
The wine industry has remained unchanged for decades (and in some instances, centuries). While we salute this commitment to tradition, our beloved grape is usually marketed and sold by region first, with things like flavour profile and variety coming second.
Feeling like a dunce in the supermarket aisle isn’t the best motivation to buy. So before you give up and hit the cider section, here are three ways Sam and Southpaw think those in the wine industry - from producers to supermarkets - can encourage more drinkers to leave fear at the door and embrace their oenophilic side.
1. Show Off Your Values
People want to buy products that do good in the world, or to make healthier choices for themselves. They want to see a reflection of their own values mirrored back to them.
Let’s take the environmental impact of wine production. How was it shipped? Is it carbon neutral? This information could be made available on-shelf or via QR codes and has the potential to make a big impact on purchase decisions.
When it comes to health, the difference between organic and natural wines is a slither of sulphites. But where can you easily find that out? Building on terroir and age information, winemakers could open up about their vinification practices so consumers can connect with the brand values and therefore the wine itself.
2. Lower Alcohol Doesn’t Mean Lowering Your Standards
People are making smarter decisions around their alcohol consumption by choosing lower ABV, or drinking fewer higher quality drinks. But in the wine world this translates into no or low alcohol - both of which get a bad rap with serious winemakers (and many people’s palates).
But there are naturally low alcohol wines out there. Seriously tasty varieties such as Riesling and Muscadet clock in at 8-10% ABV. That’s around two thirds the alcohol content of a heavy-hitting Californian Chardonnay or Argentinian Malbec. Winemakers could use this insight to attract a consumer who wants a lighter - yet still refined - choice.
3. Kill Confusion In the Shopping Aisle
Whatever wine you’re into, trust us, it exists. But how do you find it? We know enough about wine to know there’s very little that links all of a country’s output, but still we are confronted with a geographically organised shopping experience.
Retailers should take a tip from all good gastro pubs, who help navigate a wine menu by grouping wines by taste. Big bold and fruity reds, or flinty and fresh whites, for example. Food pairings and ideal occasions could give further context and take education in-store to a whole new level creatively.
Bottom line is that if we redesigned how wine is sold from scratch, we wouldn’t do it the way it’s done now. The great artist Dali said, “He who knows how to taste does not drink wine but savours secrets.” We think it’s time to shake up the category and unlock those secrets for everyone.
With thanks to Sam Caporn, The Mistress of Wine, for her time and insights.