Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

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Cork manufacturer Amorim has got together with O-I, the world’s biggest glass company, to create what they call ‘a new generation’ of stoppers.

 
Helix is a grooved agglomerated cork stopper, which fits into specially-cast bottle with a matching thread in is neck.

‘It offers user-friendly “twist and pour – twist and close” opening and resealing, alongside all the premium image and proven performance of natural cork and glass,’ the companies say.

The new bottles are made by Ohio-based O-I, which operates 79 plants in 21 countries, including in every major wine-producing region. It has evolved ‘in tandem’ with the wine industry, it says.
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The Bourbon brand, Jim Beam.

The Bourbon brand, Jim Beam.

 

The drinks business has compiled a list of the current top 10 spirit brands by global volume sales.

While the majority of entries in this year’s top 10 retained their 2012 ranking, there was a new entry from innovative Bourbon brand Jim Beam, while movers in the pack included German digestif Jägermeister and Irish cream liqueur Baileys.

The ability for brands to refresh and reinvent themselves was a core contributing factor to our top 10’s success this year, with new flavoured variants being released thick and fast in the vodka category, and Bacardi giving two new flavours a go on the rum front.

White spirits put in a strong performance this year, but was it enough to stave off the seemingly unstoppable charge of super Scotch Johnnie Walker, voted the number one brand in The Drinks Business Power Brands 2013 list?

 

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I saw a he-said, he-said argument about sexism in wine media this week and it got me to thinking about the state of sexism in the wine industry.

About 20 years ago, the wine industry was male-dominated at every level. Today, women winemakers are common, and some wineries have advertised specifically looking a woman to take the post. Women general managers are more rare, but they exist.

Women sommeliers were rare as recently as 10 years ago, but don’t seem so anymore. One place I don’t see a lot of women is in wholesaling, which is the most consistently profitable occupation.
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The brewing industries in many countries are undergoing dramatic changes, with increasing numbers of craft breweries challenging the traditional volume-based business model of major corporations.

In the US for example, more than 400 breweries opened in 2012, an increase of 17% from the year before. Craft beer continues to grow even when beer consumption overall is declining in many markets around the world. This certainly seems to be the trend in countries like the US, Canada, New Zealand and indeed Australia.

In 1990, the centralisation of the Australian beer industry seemed complete; three companies controlled the market and the whole country had just 11 breweries. Yet this seems to have been the turning point rather than the end state: 20 years later the craft beer sector had well and truly made its entrance so that by 2013, Australia’s beer industry consists of over 130 breweries.

The trend suggests craft breweries have found a niche market where the large breweries find it hard to compete. Craft beer is often differentiated by taste, as a food companion and by the raw material used to produce it. Enthusiasts sometimes refer to the common beers in derogatory terms as “fizzy yellow lagers”. Some may reject mainstream beer products based on a perceived lack of flavour; others reject it based on ownership of the label.

Some pub mangers around Melbourne refuse to serve beers that are not produced by small independent companies due to negative attitudes towards large multinational businesses, and a belief that craft beer can only be produced by small and independent businesses. Independent craft breweries have been able to make something positive out of their small size by framing themselves as unique and it is resonating with drinkers and pub owners alike.

While beer consumption in Australia has decreased steadily every year since 1979, consumers increasingly demand quality beers and the consumption of craft beers is increasing. ABC news reported that the consumption of craft beer in Australia is increasing by 6% every year. Nevertheless, the beer industry in Australia is still largely centralised, with multinationals SAB Miller (UK) and Kirin Holding (Japan) controlling about 90% of the market.

Yet it is this very high centralisation of the industry, where the large players can be regarded as “generalists”, that provides the opening for small players to enter the market as “specialists”. For craft breweries, such concentration of power in the industry is actually good news because these breweries serve a different market.

The specialists are often focused on selling more than just beer. They are selling an experience, quite often centred on educating consumers about beer styles and how to match it with food. As such, the craft beer industry is tapping into the monopoly of the wine industry as being the natural beverage to accompany a meal.

 

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 © Roy Morsch/CORBIS

© Roy Morsch/CORBIS

She is eyeing up the wine shelf. But how do you convert this “browser” into a “buyer”?

Studies from the Yale School of Management 1 have shown that it’s all about shifting a consumer’s frame of mind, from what psychologists call “deliberative” mode – where you’re busy weighing up practical factors like value for money, into a more “action-focused” purchasing gear.

Switching “browsers” into a buying mentality can be kick-started by offering products that need very little consideration such as a highly practical and low cost product e.g. an umbrella if it’s raining. Once one purchase decision has been made, shopping momentum builds up. A study has shown that once consumers have decided to buy a first item, they buy more items overall.

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wine-intelligence-liwf-2012-think-tank-session-the-science-of-choice-in-the-wine-category.pdf

 

Chances are that at least once in your life you’ve found yourself at a restaurant, sitting next to someone who claims to know everything about wine.

They usually hold their glass up toward the light to see the color of the wine, talk about tannins, grape variety, soil quality… Of course, the most expensive wine always seems to be the best one.

But recently, several studies have shown that the price itself of a wine can actually influence its taste.

In 2001, Frederic Brochet carried out two experiments at the University of Bordeaux. In one of them, he got 54 oenology students together and had them taste a glass of red wine, and a glass of white wine. They described each wine with as many details as they could. What Brochet did not tell them was that both glasses were actually the same wine. He had simply dyed the white wine red – which did not affect its taste. In the second experiment, he asked experts to assess the quality of two bottles of red wine. One was very expensive, the other one was cheap. Once again, he had tricked them, filling both bottles with the cheap wine. So, what were the results?
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Winemaking is an 8,000-year-old tradition, and the first wines tasted … well, terrible.

 

People added ash, resin and even lead to “enhance” the flavor . Luckily, most wines today are pretty darn tasty on their own, thanks to modern fermentation techniques and innovations in packaging that help your wine stay fresher longer, and you certainly don’t have to worry that a wine-maker used lead to improve his product’s flavor!

We’ve also seen a big shift in where we produce wine. Once considered a hoity-toity European beverage, wine is made and drunk all over the world, and you’re as likely to find a decent glass of red at your neighborhood pizza joint as at a fancy French restaurant.

Winemakers have also gotten more conscious of their environmental impacts. Since a good wine starts with the grape, and good grapes start with good soil, the wine industry has stayed on the cutting edge of sustainable agriculture. Any vintner worth his salt knows that protecting the environment is more than just good for the planet — it’s good for his wines.

With such a long history, there have been lots of innovations through the centuries, from how winemakers grow grapes to how they market those bottles. Let’s look at 10 of them.
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Ways to prevent this ...

Ways to prevent this …

 

In the world of wine, air is the enemy. Or more specifically, oxygen is the enemy.

Let me step back a second. Air serves a very important purpose when you’re drinking wine. Most importantly, it “opens up” a wine and helps to bring out its character. When you slosh wine from a bottle into a glass, a lot of air gets mixed in. This causes those aromatic compounds to fill the glass and makes the experience of drinking a good wine all that much better. There are decanters and aerating gadgets to speed up this process, too, if swirling’s not your thing.

But once air gets to the wine, the cat is out of the bag. While it will taste fantastic for a few hours, it will then slowly lose its fruitiness, its aroma, its body, and just about everything else. Eventually the wine will oxidize due to exposure to O2 in the air, which starts a chain reaction in the wine, forming hydrogen peroxide, then acetaldehyde, neither of which you want to be drinking a lot of. Once a wine is uncorked (or once the cork starts to fail), this process begins in earnest.

So what do you do if you want to drink a single glass of wine but not throw away the other four-fifths of the bottle? You turn to a wine preservation system. There are three main tactics to arrest oxidation, and gadgetry is available for each. They are:

1. Suck the air—including the oxygen—out of the bottle, leaving a vacuum.
2. Replace the bad air with good air; some inert gas that won’t interact with wine.
3. Form a physical barrier between the wine and the air. (You can also do this by pouring the remainder of a larger bottle of wine into a half-bottle and resealing it such that no air is left between the wine and the cork.)

Which one works best? I’ve been writing about wine for more than a decade and have tried all three of the above strategies many times over. I have developed opinions about each method, but until now I’d never done any formal, controlled testing between multiple devices. For this report, I used my informal test results as a guideline but am largely relying on this fresh, formal analysis.
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Bag-in-Box dispenser; chillers; aerator
 
Publications and other media are bombarded with unsolicited product samples from suppliers seeking publicity. As the North American wine business has surged, so has the flood of innovative “accessories” intended to enhance the drinking experience and enrich their inventors/promoters.

While some of these gizmos look like foolish or overpriced trinkets, others at least appear to have practical application. Wines & Vines editors evaluated a few recent entrants last week.

Most striking is the Boxxle: A sleek countertop container that dispenses bag-in-box wines while dispensing with the actual box. Designed and produced by Tripp Middleton, a former banker in North Carolina, the Boxxle would be especially useful for on-premise, by-the-glass sales.

First described in our October 2011 print edition, the Boxxle “came out in spurts,” according to Middleton. Seeking perfection for his vision, the fledgling inventor took time to refine and retool the Boxxle, which is manufactured in China.

“We really just started pushing in the last month,” he said. Already more than 200 of the devices have been sold through Boxxle website, Amazon.com and deals with Wine Enthusiast and Preferred Living.

Middleton is negotiating with distributors in Tennessee and on the West Coast, and, he said, has heard “a lot of interest from wineries themselves, plus wine and spirits distributors to the restaurant and bar industry.” His sales goal for this year is 10,000 units, a figure he considers doable.

Boxxle has a non-skid base and stainless steel/black exterior. Unlike conventional 3L bag-in-box packages where the spout at the bottom demands placement at the edge of a shelf, Boxxle dispenses the wine from the top: Even a tall glass fits under the spigot for a clean and easy pour.

Middleton believes the growing demand for on-premise by-the-glass service will fuel his sales. Any 3-liter BiB package can easily fit inside, where a spring-loaded dispensing devise pushes the remaining wine up and out. This helps ensure an oxygen-free environment that preserves wine for a month or longer and allows every last drop to be poured out as the package is depleted.

Middleton hopes that wine producers or distributors will begin to provide the Boxxle as a premium or an add-on to top on-premise clients. He said he can provide custom, peel-off, self-stick labels to identify the wine brand and varietal in commercial settings. He also hopes to tap winery tasting rooms, although it’s the rare winery that serves tasting room pours from BiB packages.
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Drinking for pleasure...

Drinking for pleasure…

 
As the Chinese economy slows, new figures confirm that Chinese consumers are seeking out less expensive wine brands.

 
Analysts Wine Intelligence found that in the first quarter of this year, 60% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 50 spent less than CNY200 (€25) on imported wine.

€25 is generally recognised as entry-level wine in China. An earlier survey in January this year had found that fear of buying a fake wine was the biggest barrier to entry for imported wines, with 44% of respondents saying it put them off buying.

‘There is a growing trend for drinking wine for pleasure rather than serving it at banquets or giving it as gifts,’ Maria Troein, China manager for Wine Intelligence told China Daily.
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