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CAMERON DOUGLAS MASTER SOMMELIER
2018 should be a very good year for New Zealand’s wine sector.
With a decent harvest and better than average quality, all wine
regions should benefit. There will likely be some continued purchase
opportunities of 2017 vintage wines but try before you buy. It’s a
mixed bag of results from that vintage, so don’t let fancy labels lead
you – let the wine speak for itself first.
A trend that I find somewhat exciting is the number of visitors to
New Zealand with ser ious wine tasting and buying desires on their
agendas. But more importantly, reaching out for specific guidance as
to which producers and places to see. There are plenty of drivers to
take them around but a dearth of experts to guide them.
Visitors from the USA and other countries are keen to buy wine
to take home, but sometimes don’t buy at the thought of schlepping
their wine around with them - so the need for more efficient and
cost-effective means to transport their wine to the airport (at least)
Another potentially exciting trend is the way in which
restaurateurs are embracing Sommeliers to sell more beverages and
increase tur nover. Note I said ‘beverages’– Sommeliers are responsible
for all liquid refreshment. Restaurateurs who roll their eyes at this are
wasting precious time and should begin to incor porate a Sommelier
into their complement of staff or pay a consultant.
Embar rassingly, many front of house staff do not know how to
use a cork screw to open a bottle of wine! We might be a screw-top
dominated country, but we still release (and import) wines under
cork. Another reason to get a Somm’ on board and start training.
A trend that I find somewhat disturbing is the slow-yet-obvious
erosion of the smaller family owned and operated wine company.
It is cr itical that we taste, invest and buy from the small, locally
produced wine as well the easy buy options from the big guys.
One final trend I find disturbing is the emergence of sub $20.00
at retail Pinot Noir! This is not good and does not do the var iety or
company that produces it any favours. We should not be exporting
such wines and it is teaching the buying public that cheap Pinot
Noir is good Pinot Noir. We have to be so very careful this version
of Pinot does not become the expectation of our overseas consumers.
It happened with Sauvignon Blanc, so let’s be very careful with this
Brewers Guild of
EMMA MCCASHIN PRESIDENT
FOUR TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2018
Local brewer ies are popping up all over New Zealand. Now
commercial brewers are operating in Kaikoura, Twizel and Kaka Point
(North Islanders might have to Google that one!). It’s the same in cities,
with small brewer ies focusing on local neighbourhoods. Being part
of a community gives small new brewer ies a point of difference over
established national brands. Consumers are also looking for beers with a
local advantage – the shorter supply chain means a fresher product with
a smaller environmental footprint.
More demanding consumers
We’ve come a long way from “Don’t know much about beer but I
know what I like”. 2017 saw the successful start of national training for
hospitality staff and beer judges. 2018 customers are prepared to spend
well on quality beer. But they’re better infor med and they expect well-
infor med staff and beer that’s stored and sold in prime condition.
Contract brewing will continue to grow this year as small brewers seek
economies of scale. Established small brewer ies are contracting-out
their core ranges, giving themselves the opportunity to exper iment
with innovative small batches at their or iginal brewery.
Growing demand for sour beers, wild fer mentation and hazy unfiltered
IPAs shows New Zealand beer drinkers are ever-more willing to
exper iment with unusual styles and flavours. What was once weird and
wacky is now a sought-after product at a premium price. But the beers
themselves must be well-made and drinkable. Brewers and beer consumers
are quick call out products that are jumping on a bandwagon. n
8 | February 2018 | HOSPITALITY BUSINESS | TheShout NZ
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