Customer awareness is growing when it comes to the origin, production and transportation of our favourite tipples. Savvy wine-fiends are searching for high-quality, fairly priced wines that they can trust in a world where industry shortcuts and mass-production are the still unfortunately the norm.
Reckon that red on the rack is trustworthy? Think about these points the next time you’re deciding which bottle to go for.
Find out what matters to you
Responsible wine drinking doesn’t just mean managing your weekly unit intake; thinking about how, where, when and by whom the wine was made are important factors to consider before you crack open the Chardonnay.
The wine industry isn’t immune to scandals, which can include everything from the addition of oak essence to mass-produced wine to the overuse of dangerous industrial additives. Rob Bevis, President of Roque Fine Wines, reminds us that here in China ‘some unscrupulous importers buy cheap wine, put it in a fancy bottle, and sell it for too much money.’
How to guarantee your glass of vino is authentic? You’ll find that getting it from smaller wineries that specialize in small-scale traditional techniques is one way to do so. Speaking of which…
Considering the origin of your wine is an easy way to make a solid choice. Choosing any bottle from your local store might be convenient, but what do you really know about the origin of the wine or the production practices that put that bottle on the shelf?
Try trustworthy curated selections from independent wineries. ‘Independent suppliers are much more personal, dedicated and friendly’ says Diego Tornel, Sommelier and Manager at Sabor by Diego Guerrero in Shanghai. ‘They know all their products well and sell them with dedication, passion and love.’
Basically, independent vineyards can offer high quality wine produced on a smaller scale, with accountability from grape to glass. Not only does this ensure that your wine and your supplier can be trusted, you’ll be actively supporting independent wineries that emphasise ‘a vision and mission [over] corporate culture’. It’s a win-win solution; happy producers and even happier drinkers!
Check the bottle
It can be easy to forget that good bottles of wine don’t magically just appear at your local store. The importer is the middleman, with a range of priorities that differ from your simple need for a sound glass of wine at the end of a long week.
A regular wine importer will be aiming to keep profits high by offering bottles from larger wineries destined for the mass market. Going for importers that foster relationships with trustworthy, independent wineries is one way to ensure your wine has been chosen with quality, flavour and trustworthy production practices and not just the bottom line in mind.
Why should you care?
Keeping your wine rack stocked with trustworthy bottles doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Ask yourself three key questions the next time you buy a new bottle:
1. Does this wine offer value for money?
The myth that expensive wine offers higher quality than cheaper varieties has been debunked, but it’s important to really think about the value of a good bottle of wine. 20 dollars might get you great imported Bordeaux, but how about that 25 or 30 dollar bottle that can guarantee the wine has been handled properly at every stage of export?
2. Where is my money going?
Knowing who is importing your wine and the portfolio of wineries they’ve curated will help you to understand exactly who and what your cash is supporting. Remember: ‘a good retailer supplied by a trusted importer will ensure fair and consistent pricing.’
3. How does this affect me?
Most importantly, it’s super important to draw the battle lines in your search for trustworthy wine. Understanding exactly what is important to you and how your choices impact your physical and ethical well-being are key to making better decisions. Worried about industrial additives or the impact of large wineries on local ecosystems? Make a stand and get in touch with your supplier.
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