UK Sees Surge in Wine Tourism

WineGB has released its first wine tourism report, revealing a significant surge in visits to UK vineyards and wineries. The recent findings indicate that visits have surged by 55% in the past two years, underscoring the growing popularity of wine tourism in England and Wales.

The report further indicates that 1.5 million people visited UK vineyards and wineries last year, accounting for a quarter of the total income for these establishments. The industry anticipates continued growth and investment, with WineGB forecasting further expansion in the coming years.

WineGB’s 2024 Industry Survey, which captured responses from over 130 members accounting for more than 90% of UK wine production, provides a detailed snapshot of the sector’s forward momentum. The survey reveals that there are currently 300 vineyards and wineries actively engaged in wine tourism.

Among the top activities attracting visitors include:

275 cellar doors and shops
260 guided tours and tastings
103 venues for hire
97 self-guided tours
92 places to stay and eat
38 picnic areas

A notable 42% of inbound visitors expressed high interest in visiting a winery. According to Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB, commented on the report’s findings: “Our Manifesto for Growth identified essential policies for accelerating our sector’s development. Today’s report showcases the immense value and importance of wine tourism in our industry. It’s our call to action for policy changes in tax, planning, and marketing to unlock the full potential of wine tourism and reach 16 million visitors.

The 10 Most Expensive Wines in the World

Few things in the world improve in quality and value with age. Aged wine is one of those things, defined by elegance, rarity and finesse. If you are drawn to the thrill of owning something truly one of a kind, this niche market will certainly appeal to you.

We’ve all heard the expression “aging like a fine wine,” so you may not be surprised to learn seven of the 10 most expensive wines in the world are from 1947 or earlier. That includes three bottles that date back to the 18th century. No need to check the “best before” date.

Rank Wine Year Country Price
1 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Grand Cru 1945 France $558,000
2 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 United States $500,000
3 Jeroboam of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945 France $310,700
4 Cheval Blanc 1947 France $304,375
5 Château Lafite 1869 France $230,000
6 Château Margaux 1787 France $225,000
7 Ampoule from Penfolds, Block-42 Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Australia $168,000
8 Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1787 France $156,450
9 Henri Jayer, Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1999 France $136,955
10 Massandra Sherry de la Frontera 1775 Spain $43,500

France leads the way for luxury wines
What conclusions can we draw from the list? We all already knew that they like their wine in France, so the fact they produce the most expensive wines around won’t come as a huge shock.

Seven of the top ten most expensive wines ever sold hail from France, although special mention must go to the United States’ own Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, made in Napa Valley in 1992. Only 175 cases were produced at a time when Screaming Eagle Cabernet hadn’t yet established itself as a premium wine producer.

European Drinks Industry Unveils System For Developing E-Labelling

The CEEV – Européen des Entreprises Vins, and spiritsEUROPE have teamed up with QR code compliance solutions firm Scantrust, to unveil an updated version of the U-label labelling platform.

According to the groups, the strategic partnership will facilitate the easy creation of e-labels for both the wine, aromatised wine and spirits drinks.

The U-label by Scantrust aims to simplify compliance with the new EU labeling regulations for wineries in a cost-effective manner. Additionally, it assists spirits producers in advancing the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on consumer information, which was adopted in June 2019.

Empower Wine Producers
“When we conceived U-label, our goal was to empower European wine producers large and small with an affordable turnkey solution for navigating the new labeling regulations,” commented Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, CEEV Secretary General.

“This partnership with Scantrust represents a significant milestone in achieving that goal.”

In a statement, CEEV and spiritsEUROPE expressed their commitment to continue supporting and contributing their expertise in the wine and spirits industries to the U-label initiative.

The new U-label by Scantrust platform meets EU Regulation 2021/2117 requirements, including recent clarifications by the European Commission.

Comprehensive Information
“As European spirits producers, we are progressing fast in providing comprehensive, easily accessible consumer information via e-labels in combination with energy-information on-pack,” said Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE.

U-label will allow spirits producers large and small to roll out state-of-the-art digital labelling solutions together with an experienced and reliable partner.

Hedonism Wines Launches Auction Platform

Hedonism Wines, my favorite London wine shop, and Mayfair’s leading fine wine merchant has launched an online auction platform, which is due to go live November 13th!

According to CEO Tatiana Fokina, the inaugural sale will comprise 100 lots, featuring a selection of the world’s most exclusive labels of both wine and spirits. As a further enticement, bidders will be charged zero commission on their purchases.

“This transparent approach ensures that bidders only pay for the lots they win, with no hidden fees,” said Tatiana Fokina.

“We are ecstatic to embark on this new chapter with our devoted clientele,” said Tatiana Fokina, CEO at Hedonism Wines. “This platform is not only a testament to our commitment to innovation within the industry but also our dedication to providing unparalleled value. By waiving commission fees and delivering on speed, we’re promising a seamless, customer-centric experience like no other.”

Hedonism also promises that “winners can expect their prized bottles to arrive at their doorsteps in just one to two days, marking one of the fastest delivery turnarounds in the industry.”

The initial offering is a collector’s dream: a magnum of Lafite Rothschild 1989, Dom Perignon 1990 and Meursault Goutte d’Or Comtes Lafon are among the luxury brands being auctioned, in addition to some rare bottles of bourbon.

Here is the link to the auction site:

https://hedonism.co.uk/auctions-at-Hedonism

Austria establishes an official Vineyard Classification System

The recently adopted “Wine Law Collective Decree” has established the legal basis for the official classification of Austria’s single vineyards. The Ordinance defines two tiers: “Erste Lage” (premier cru) and “Große Lage” (grand cru). Classification is carried out according to a strict list of criteria. The first vineyard classifications can be expected in 2025, at the earliest.

Various private initiatives in Austria, for classifying single vineyards, known as “Rieds” have been in place in Austria for many years. These initiatives identify those of its members’ vineyards that have gained a name for producing first-class wines. Following an intense preliminary phase, the Wine Law Collective Decree 2023 has established the legal basis for an official, nationwide classification system. It outlines two tiers of classification. The “Erste Lage” (premier cru) is the first level that a vineyard can attain. Once a minimum of five years has elapsed, the vineyard is able to be defined as a “Große Lage” (grand cru).

“The Collective Decree 2023 has defined the legal basis for enabling Austrian Rieds to be classed officially according to a standardized system,” explains Chris Yorke, CEO of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (Austrian Wine). “The decision whether to classify Rieds is up to each wine-growing region because the significance of single vineyards differs from region to region,” Yorke adds.

Lower maximum yield per hectare and harvesting by hand required

The decree outlines the general conditions required for the classification of a vineyard. For example, the use of “Erste Lage” and “Große Lage” is only permitted on DAC wines from classified vineyards. Furthermore, the wine-growing region from where the wine originates must have defined the three DAC levels of Gebietswein (regional wine), Ortswein (villages wine) and Riedenwein (single-vineyard wine). The decree also states that “Erste Lage” and “Große Lage” can only be used when the wine has been harvested by hand and a lower maximum yield per hectare than the legal limit is met.

Detailed documentation is essential

If a wine-growing region wants to classify its leading vineyards, the Regional Wine Committee must submit an application to the National Wine Committee. A classification document containing detailed information needs to be completed for each Ried. This covers facts such as the historical significance of the vineyard, the homogeneity of its soil, geological characteristics, climate and orientation, and the volume and value of the wines that the Ried produces. A Ried also has to provide evidence of other factors demonstrating its potential for producing high-quality wines, e.g. national and international wine ratings. For a Ried to receive the designation of “Große Lage”, it must have been an “Erste Lage” for at least five years and further requirements for the use of the term “Große Lage” will have to be defined.

“Establishing an official vineyard classification system at a national level presents considerable challenges,” emphasizes Yorke. “This is why we will be supporting the wine-growing regions with the process step by step over the next few years and continuously sharing our experiences.” The first “Erste Lage” classifications are not expected before 2025.

Here is a short overview:

Legal basis for an official vineyard classification system

The Wine Law Collective Decree defines the legal basis

Two tiers:

  • “Erste Lage”
    “Große Lage” (at least 5 years after having been designated an “Erste Lage”)

Conditions for the use of the terms “Erste Lage” and “Große Lage” include:

  • DAC wines from classified Rieds (single vineyards)
  • lower maximum yield per hectare than the legal limit
  • harvesting by hand

The classification process:

  • Regional Wine Committees submit an application to the National Wine Committee on behalf of the Ried(s)
  • Classification document for each candidate Ried, including information about:
    • the historical significance of the vineyard
    • homogeneity of the soil, geological characteristics, climate and orientation
    • national and international ratings of the Ried’s wines
  • The first classifications are expected in 2025, at the earliest.