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13 things we remember from 2010 - New BKWine Brief out!

>> Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Welcome to the BKWine Brief nr 89, December 2010

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2010 is rapidly approaching its end. It is often the occasion to summarize what’s happened over the year, and in our case it is the wine year. What will we remember of 2010?

1. One of the first things we remember is the record breaking prices on the Bordeaux en primeur wines, in spite of a financial crisis elsewhere in the world. And the price roller coaster (so far only going upwards) has not stopped since for the most exclusive Bordeaux wines.

2. The vineyards had a lot of coulure (poor flowering and fruit setting) in the spring which was very evident on the vines in September. The harvest was small, very small in some places. 30% less than normal was not unusual.

3. EU chose a new symbol for organic products – through democratic voting on the internet! The design may be peculiar but it will be used on all organic products in the EU.

4. We also remember all the wines from Châteauneuf that we have tasted during 2010. Châteauneuf was “wine village of the year” in Sweden with several tastings and we had two fully-booked wine tours to the region.

5. We will not forget the earth quake in Chile and the remarkable recovery by the wine industry. Britt had the opportunity to travel in Chile shortly after the catastrophe and experienced a few of the after-shocks.

6. The Swedish debate on if wine sales should be allowed at wine producers’ or not (yes, there are a few) – bizarrely the only point of real debate around a proposal for a new alcohol law. No discussion about the monopoly itself, nor about how to make the alcohol policies more effective (alcohol consumption is on the rise, in spite of the supposedly effective monopoly).

7. South African wines were in focus during the football world cup – and they will be in focus in 2011 too in Sweden since Stellenbosch has been named Wine Village of the Year.

It’s also interesting to take a look at what trends we predicted at the beginning of the year. Were we right? Well, at least to some extent.

8. Environmental concerns, for example, continue to be on the agenda, and in 2010 even more so. 2010 is the year when the organic wine trend or fad has almost turned mainstream. Not a day goes by without a new article or book on organic wine farming, solar or wind power, CO2 emissions etc. Be it trend, fad or not, it must be a good way forward to think about the environment. What does it matter if it is done with due to a conviction or due to it being trendy? Biodynamics would not agree of course, if it is not done with heart and soul it is not enough. The future will show where this leads.

9. What is most environmentally friendly, the screw cap or the natural cork? 2010 was a year when the cork industry hit back (albeit not always cleverly) and stopped the downwards trend for cork-cork in public opinion. It is important to keep the cork forests in Portugal in good health – habitat for many rare plants and animals. And if someone can, it’s the wine industry. At least that’s what the cork industry says.

The environment is a complex issue and there are many parameters in the equation. In some countries it is not only the treatments in the vineyards that are important but also how you treat vineyard staff. All countries (or wine producers) should take good care of the staff of course but what’s called “fair trade” wines come mainly from South America and South Africa. Consumers are have nothing against a low price tag on the wines, but sometimes it would be good if they gave it a thought how come some wines can be so cheap. Perhaps underpaid staff?

10. Talking about fairness, we also remember the sale of Domaine de la Romanée Conti wines in Sweden. The monopoly retailer Systembolaget had pondered for a long time how to launch those wines “fairly” – with only a few hundred bottles and 9 million people, what can you do? Naturally, the Systembolaget launch failed miserably in being “fair”. “Fairness” and Romanée Conti does not function well together of course. (Nor does “fairness” and monopoly, by the way, unless you think a lottery is a reflection of fairness.)

And then we have our activity here at BKWine. We can’t forget that. In particular not this year.

11. 2010 was actually for our little niche in tourism (wine travel) a reasonably good year. We will remember it as a year of quite a happy recovery after a 2009 marked very much by the financial crisis. The “crisis” is still there in the background (with currency uncertainties and national debts) but not so much so.

12. 2010 was also the year when BKWine was given the label “world’s best wine tours” by the American publication Travel & Leisure Magazine, something that made us very proud and that we’re not likely to forget any time soon. We just have to make sure we earn it in the future too!

13. Last but not least another memorable event for us was receiving the letter that, as a great surprise to us, announced that we had won the prize for Best Wine Book of the Year i Sweden for our book A Wine is Born. An unusual book about wine growing and wine making that apparently pleased the jury.

Talking about books, this Brief will be full of book reviews. You will have plenty of suggestions for other good things to read.

Britt & Per

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