Wine news0705 v2

Fine wine news roundup: 1-7 May


Petrus’ space-aged wine set to fetch $1m

The bottle of Petrus 2000, which recently returned from orbit following an extensive trial in ‘space aging’, is set to go on sale for something in the region of US$1 million.

The lot – offered by Christie’s via a private sale – will also include a bottle of ‘terrestrial’ Petrus 2000, a corkscrew fashioned from a piece of meteorite, and a commemorative decanter and glasses. The items will come packaged in a specially-designed trunk made by Les Ateliers Victor in Paris; the result of more than 900 hours work and designed to include a secret vault hidden behind a solar system inspired by science fiction writer Jules Verne.

Christie’s said proceeds from the sale will go towards funding future space missions. 

“This bottle of Petrus 2000 marks a momentous step in the pursuit of developing and gaining a greater understanding of the maturation of wine,” said Tim Triptree MW, international director of Christie’s wine and spirits department. “Christie’s is delighted to bring this first of its kind bottle to the market and to support Space Cargo Unlimited to continue their research into the future of agricultural practices.”


London Wine Fair unveils action-packed digital event

The London Wine fair, taking place this year 17-19 May, has revealed what promises to be an action-packed schedule of events for wine fans and those in the trade.

This years’ event – marking the 40th anniversary of The London Wine Fair – includes more than 30 sessions ranging from briefings, panel discussions and tasting masterclasses. More than 500 wineries will be exhibiting, showcasing over 3,000 wines. Visitors are able to book their tickets now, to ensure samples arrive ahead of the event.

Highlights of the event will include talks and discussions examining the wines of India, diversity in the wine industry, organic and biodynamic tasting, wine’s role in the circular economy and more.

Headlining the schedule is a double bill from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), with chief executive Miles Beale set to host a panel debate on the first two mornings. The first, ‘Wine Trading 2021: Where are we?’ will explore the impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on trading conditions, with the second event, ‘Wine Trading 2021: Are we there yet?’ planned for Tuesday morning.


UK appetite for Australian wine continues to grow

Australian wine exports to the UK continued to rise over the last 12 months, with both value and volume seeing double-digit growth.

According to Wine Australia’s latest Export Report, value increased 33% to AU$461 million, while volume rose 21% to 264 million litres. This growth extended the UK’s lead as the biggest destination for Australian wine exports by volume, and saw it jump over the USA into second place by value. 

However, Australia’s overall total export saw declines in both value (4%) and volume (1%), due largely to a significant drop in exports to China, and the cumulative effect of three consecutive lower-than-average vintage yields.

As Andreas Clark, CEO of Wine Australia, commented, “Notwithstanding the impact of China’s tariffs, we were still looking at a potential downturn in exports over this period simply due to the supply situation.” 

However, the report noted that had exports to mainland China been excluded for the period considered, Australian wine would have seen positive growth in both value and volume, climbing 10% and 8% respectively.


Study debunks ‘urban myth’ around second cheapest option on a wine list

The long-held notion that the second cheapest wine on a restaurant’s wine list has a bigger mark-up than other options has no factual basis, according to new research.

Analysts from the London School of Economics (LSE) and the University of Sussex Business School examined 470 wine lists from 279 London restaurants and found no evidence of the so-called ‘rip off’ theory.

“It has been a long-held assumption that the second-cheapest bottle on a restaurant wine list is priced with a greater mark-up to exploit naïve diners embarrassed to choose the cheapest option,” said Professor David de Meza, a study co-author from LSE’s department of management. 

“Our study challenges the notion and finds that the percentage mark-up on the second cheapest wine is significantly below that on the third, fourth, and fifth cheapest wine and well below the peak mark-up, which tends to occur around the median wine on the menu.”

The research, recently published by the American Association of Wine Economists, also debunked the idea that buying wine by the bottle represents better value for drinkers, with the researchers stating that buying wine by the glass “does not put drinkers significantly out of pocket”.

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