Wine an overview

October 3rd, 2016 | Posted in: Features

Thumbs up for screw tops? “I think screw top wine is just as good. We’re finding a lot of our heavier, more expensive wines are coming in screw tops or use synthetic corks. I do think it loses the wow factor of being able to uncork a bottle of wine but I think people have accepted that now.”
Emma Tompkins, Operations Manager at Vroni’s Wine Bar in Glasgow, said.

Wine is going ‘au natural’ this year. Natural wine is made without chemicals and involves barely any technological intervention in the grape growing and winemaking process. According to Alliance Wine, a bottle to look out for is Sin Soulful from Spanish producer Abel Medozas.

Distribution of wine sales in the UK in 2016, by colour according to Statistica
White – 47%
Red – 42%
Rosé – 11%

The last three months according to the WSTA (Wine and Spirit Trade Association), has seen sparkling wine sales in UK pubs, bars and restaurants go up 19% to £97m.

Did you know Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine, is made exactly the same way as champagne, with the same sweetness classifications and categories? The difference is (other than the location) that it is made traditionally with indigenous Spanish grapes.

According to Berry Bros. & Rudd, in the UK, 36% of regular wine drinkers now drink prosecco compared with 29% in 2013.

Scottish wine drinkers are still seeing red. Emma Tompkins from Vroni’s said, “Last year there was a trend with Malbec and it still hasn’t faded away. Rioja and Malbec are still the most popular reds. We’re still selling typical grape varieties but people are more open to where they are coming from. There’s a lot of quirkier wines from Bulgaria and Romania that are coming into play. For example, the Romanian Pino Noir Cosmina on our wine list sells very well.”

The 2016 UK Chief Medical Officer’s revised drinking guidelines suggest drinking no  more than 14 units of alcohol per week. In terms of high-alcohol wines (14% ABV), that’s – One and a third bottles; four 250ml glasses; around six 175ml glasses or just under eight 125ml glasses.

According to Alan Brady, Head Sommelier at Hotel Du Vin in Glasgow, Sauvignon Blanc still reigns in Scotland. But drinkers are beginning to turn from the popular New Zealand varieties to something less tropical, like a French style with lighter citrus lemon flavours.

Those in the trade say Brexit will undoubtedly drive up prices in the wine industry. “Everything will suddenly cost the suppliers more – to physically get goods to the UK will cost more. I don’t think we’ll fully see the effect take place until February next year but prices will go up,” said Les Somerville, Director of Sales, Scotland and North East England at Enotria & Coe.

Over £80m worth of fizz was sold in UK pubs, bars and restaurants in the last 12 months – a rise of 13% on the same period last year.

One tonne of grapes makes around 60 cases of wine, or 720 bottles. One bottle of wine contains about 2.8 pounds of grapes.

Don’t think of Prosecco as poor man’s Champagne according to Catalyst Brands the only similarities between the two products are that they are both sparkling! Champagne is produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, produced in bottle and aged before release. Most Champagnes take a large part of their characteristics from the contact with the yeast in the bottle that gives toasty, biscuit flavours. Prosecco is made from Glera grapes which have totally different flavours to Champagne grapes, produced in a tank and is best enjoyed at its youngest and freshest. Producers like Bottega produce everything fresh to order, keeping their grape must at zero degrees throughout the year until it is required for fermentation. The tank fermentation means that the yeast does not add any flavour to the Prosecco, which is deliberate.

Sherry is no longer a drink of your grandmother’s past, it’s the next big thing and also one of the best food matching wines around. Sherries can be light and dry (like Fino), oxidized (like Oloroso) or sweet (like cream sherry). Phoebe LeMessurier from Alliance Wine recommends Manzilla’s Equipo Navazos.

Scotland’s first wine was released last year by Christopher Trotter, from Aberdeen, who set up his own vineyard in Fife four years ago. Sadly it was branded “undrinkable” as he failed to chill the grapes quickly enough, which allowed oxidisation to occur.

Wine grapes rank number one among the world’s fruit crops in terms of acres planted.

The smell of young wine is called an “aroma” while a more mature wine offers a more subtle “bouquet.”

In ancient Greece, a dinner host would take the first sip of wine to assure guests the wine was not poisoned, hence the phrase “drinking to one’s health.”

Alledgedly, the most expensive wine ever sold was a Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992, which sold for a whopping $500,000 in 2000 at a Napa Valley charity auction.

Bottega created their metallic bottles originally for their flagship Platinum grappa, in 2000. This was then introduced to their sparkling wine range. They were the first to market with this innovative packaging.

Women are actually better at tasting wine than men because they have a better sense of smell.

Celebs who have launched their own brands of wine include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who unveiled their Miraval Rose last year. Wonder what it will be called now.    

Alan Brady, Head Sommelier at Hotel Du Vin in Glasgow, says a rise in craft beer is actually encouraging Scottish wine drinkers to become more adventurous. He said, “With the craft beer and craft cider scenes being very strong, there’s more inclination to go for different flavours and textures rather than having a set wine, as people want to experiment more. I think there’s more of a wine culture developing in Scotland as a whole. Customers are more up to speed on trends and different grape varieties and are willing to try something new.”

Did you know a wine-powered car actually does exist? It’s a vintage Aston Martin owned by Prince Charles.

Customers who won’t touch wine might not just dislike the taste, they could suffer from Oenophobia – the official term for people who have a phobia of wine.

New gin to help raise funds for Doddie Weir’s MND charity

Mon 18th February 2019

English spirits ­producer 45 West Distillers, which produces Burleighs Gin, is working with ­Scottish rugby ­legend Doddie Weir’s chari... Read more.

Absolut creates new bottle label in support of LGBT+ History Month

Mon 18th February 2019

Absolut vodka has taken ink used in hate signs from around the world to create a new limited edition bottle to celebrate LGBT+ History Month... Read more.

All four Majors live on Sky Sports in a spectacular 2019 beginning with the Masters Tournament in April

Mon 18th February 2019

The drama and emotion of all four Majors will come to life for Sky Sports customers this year as the biggest names in golf hunt down the mos... Read more.

William Grant & Sons announce new Chief People Officer

Thu 14th February 2019

William Grant & Sons has appointed Kerry Christie as its Chief People Officer effective June 2019. Kerry will be based in Scotland and w... Read more.

Andy McCue to step down as The Restaurant Group boss

Thu 14th February 2019

The Restaurant Group, whose brands include Frankie & Benny’s, Wagamama and Chiquito, has announced that chief executive Andy McCue... Read more.

Scotch Whisky exports on the up in 2018

Thu 14th February 2019

Official figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have revealed a strong year for Scotch Whisky exports in 2018, with global growth by bot... Read more.

Year-on-year revenue growth of over 300% for Scottish craft gin brand McQueen Gin

Wed 13th February 2019

Stirlingshire-based true craft spirit brand McQueen Gin has announced year-on-year revenue growth figures of over 300%. ... Read more.

BrewDog reveals more details of first US bar outside Ohio

Wed 13th February 2019

Scottish brewer BrewDog has revealed more details of the ‘Doghouse’ bar it will open in Indianapolis, which will be its first US... Read more.

Buzzworks Holdings reports another year of growth

Tue 12th February 2019

Buzzworks Holdings has reported an increase in turn over, up 9 per cent from £14.8m to £16.2m, for 2018.... Read more.

Diageo submits plans for flagship Johnnie Walker visitor attraction in Edinburgh

Tue 12th February 2019

Diageo has announced that plans have been formally submitted for the flagship Johnnie Walker visitor centre in Edinburgh. The Edinburgh attr... Read more.

McGinty’s Group set to serve up £500k bar and restaurant in Aberdeen

Mon 11th February 2019

The McGinty’s Group has lodged plans with Aberdeen City Council to transform the former Esslemont and Macintosh (E&Ms) department stor... Read more.

Beer sales in UK on-trade up, says BBPA Beer Barometer

Mon 11th February 2019

Sales of beer in the on trade increased by 0.1% on full year 2017 sales, according to the latest Beer Barometer sales data from the British ... Read more.

Carlsberg reports full-year UK volume down 3%

Thu 7th February 2019

Carlsberg has reported total volume fell 3% in the UK for the year ending 31 December 2018 in a slightly growing beer market. Of its UK perf... Read more.


Thu 7th February 2019

It’s not every day that you come across a family-run business that’s celebrating 50 years of successfully supporting and supplying the S... Read more.


Wed 6th February 2019

A long-held dream to distill fine single malt whisky in the East Neuk of Fife has become a reality for the founders of Kingsbarns Distillery... Read more.


Wed 6th February 2019

Oro Gin, from the Dumfriesshire-based Oro Gin Distilling Co, picked up the silver title in the London Dry Gin (UK) category at the World Gin... Read more.

New rum for Deeside Distillery

Wed 6th February 2019

A North-East distillery has launched an exciting new venture with the creation of the UK’s first single cask cask-strength ... Read more.

Plans to extend historic Melrose pub given the green light

Wed 6th February 2019

It’s always tricky trying to secure planning permission when a pub’s steeped in history but The King’s Arms in Melrose High Street has... Read more.


Tue 5th February 2019

The Edinburgh Grand has added a further art deco inspired bar and dining experience with the launch of Lady Libertine. Lady Libertine is the... Read more.

Elliots to be renamed Vic’s & The Vine following refurbishment

Tue 5th February 2019

Buzzworks Holdings has closed Elliots bar and restaurant in Prestwick for a refurbishment and rebranding that will be unveiled at Easter. It... Read more.