Two very different tastings...

I presented Pedra Basta at two very different tastings in the UK in the past ten days, both for the retail customers of independent wine merchants. The first was for Hanging Ditch wine merchants in Manchester where a large and noisy Friday-night crowd packed into a music-filled room above the Albertshed restaurant in Castlefield. The second was a more subdued event for Handford in London and took place mid-week in a rather dark room in the Kensington Hotel. But what struck me more than the difference between them was the high level of knowledge among the people attending, especially in Manchester where the average age was much lower and the enthusiasm for wine almost infectious. I doubt that either event will convert into greatly increased sales for us but it was worth being present at both just to talk to real wine drinkers. With the slow demise of the High Street wine trade in the UK there is a big gap opening up between the supermarkets and the small independents. The supermarkets do a reasonably good job providing ‘commodity wine’ i.e. large volumes of wine made to a price point and the independent wine merchants are better and greater in number than ever before. But I am worried how someone who likes wine and wants to take and greater interest in it bridges the considerable gap between the supermarket and the independent. With the downfall of Thresher etc., Oddbins and Majestic are the only names left on the UK High Street where one can walk in and pick a bottle off the shelf with a degree of confidence. Yet there is all that enthusiasm out there just waiting to be tapped.