Issue six: heavy going

Apologies to anyone whose cat or toddler was injured by the arrival of the latest edition of The Wine Merchant. It is a bit weightier than usual. In fact it’s our biggest-ever issue.

Oh, we realise we’re not in the same back-straining territory as Decanter or The World of Fine Wine, but we’re quite chuffed with our 32 hand-crafted pages, even if there is a gigantic mistake in the David Williams article on Champagne. Yes, we know, the article stops two-thirds of the way through and goes back to the beginning again, so you can stop calling now. The person responsible (not David) has been ordered to take a good, long look at themselves and charged with bringing the game into disrepute.

The digital version has no such technical glitches, and won’t cause muscular-skeletal pain. Read it here, with our compliments. You don’t have to be over 18, a UK resident, or sign up to any terms and conditions.

What’s inside? Too much to mention here. The results of our exclusive survey about online wine sales in the indie sector; news from Borough Wines, new Birmingham specialist Loki, Market Row in Brixton, Buon Vino in Settle and HarperWells in Norwich; wine reviews; and diary dates a-plenty.

There’s a three-page special on sherry, two pages on The Wine Pantry in Borough Market, an interview with Steve Daniel, seven pages of updates from the best suppliers to the independent sector, and – thrillingly – an in-depth investigation into alternatives to polystyrene packaging. If we ever win an award, it will be for that.

Thanks for reading, for supporting, and for being you.

Graham Holter, Editor

Fizzy logic

A decline in Champagne’s fortunes has been greeted with some churlish sneering. But the Champenois obsession with luxury-good status isn’t particularly endearing, either. By David Williams

Scarlett Johansson relaxes after a hard day of pruning and canopy management

WHAT IS IT about Champagne that brings out, in the modern parlance, the haters? The recent news, via market researchers Mintel, that, by the end of this year, UK sales of the world’s greatest fizz™ will have lost a third of their value since the start of the recession in 2007 – and that rival sparklers such as Prosecco and Cava will have grown 55% over the same period, overtaking total sales of Champagne for the first time in the process – was greeted by a chorus of approval on the places where haters gather, the Twitternetosphere.

Looking at the below-the-line responses to the story across the web reveals a startling level of hostility to Champagne, a sense that it is, in the words of one commenter on the Guardian, “vastly overrated. Well done to the French for managing to make people believe that it was worth paying the premium price for all these years. That’s a good lesson in marketing”.

Continue reading “Fizzy logic”