Bob Campbell

OPINION: If you have watched the television programme Escape to the Chateau you may, like me, have been tempted to put your house on the market and trade up to a magnificent chateau in a desirable corner of France.

Flaxmore 2020 Pinot Gris

OPINION: Any mention of slow-cooked lamb has me fossicking around in my cellar in search of a big, well-aged red.

Mr Grumpy - Dinner party etiquette

OPINION: It is frustrating to take a special bottle to a dinner party and have the host murmur thanks before consigning the bottle to his or her wine cellar.

Bob Campbell

The late professor Émile Peynaud was not a fan of aerating wine by decanting it, claiming that the action of oxygen dissolved in a sound wine when ready to serve is usually detrimental.

Once a year, when capsicum prices bottom out (which means they’re at their freshest best) I make the Big Dipper, a kick-ass mix of red capsicum, cashew nuts, garlic and olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper. 

An increasing number of winemakers are employing ancient winemaking techniques to produce wines with gustatory as well as historic merit.

Our annual Christmas Eve party put pressure on my modest stock of champagne flutes. I have about 30 champagne flutes of all different shapes and sizes. Six or seven glasses are identical while the rest are orphans.

The general convention for serving order is dry before sweet, ordinary before fine, and young before old.

Market research organisation Wine Intelligence looks into the future each year and makes quite specific predictions. They have scored a high hit rate in the past. Here are their five predictions for 2021.

  1.  Wine volumes will decline and spend per bottle will rise – though this may be largely due to rising alcohol taxes. Taxes on alcohol are a popular way for governments to re-charge the coffers drained by Covid-19. I would add that Australian wine producers will be seeking alternative markets after China, their biggest market, placed restrictive taxes on Australian wine. New Zealand is an obvious target.
  2. Alternative packaging formats will make serious inroads into the traditional glass bottle market. Bag-in-box and cans have a smaller carbon footprint than bottles, which could become a victim of measures to battle climate change.
  3. Wineries will forge more meaningful and lasting direct relationships with their consumer bases, but wine tourism will take a long time to recover. The pandemic has motivated producers to ramp up their online sales to good effect. The momentum is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace. Cellar door visitors will continue to be depleted until borders are opened.
  4. The surge in online retail usage will continue, and investment and growing competition will reshape the online channel and enhance delivery speed. Consumers have been encouraged to make purchases online. That is likely to continue as deliveries become faster and more efficient.
  5. The wine seltzer market will take off. Hard seltzer has tripled in the US over the past two years and is expected to continue.

Premature oxidation (premox) is a scourge that has affected white Burgundy since the mid-90s. It needs to be distinguished from natural oxidation, which occurs in all wines over a long period.

Misha Wilkinson’s description of “pirouetting” through Covid-19 seems apt, given the industry’s need to stay on its toes throughout this pandemic.

» Latest Print Issues Online

Editorial

Perfect pivots — Editorial

Perfect pivots — Editorial

Misha Wilkinson’s description of “pirouetting” through Covid-19 seems apt, given the industry’s need to stay on its toes throughout this…

Save our soils — Editorial

Save our soils — Editorial

There’s been something of a makeover in New Zealand vineyards in recent years, as the clean-cut look of sprayed rows…

Popular Reads