Change in Champagne, Brexit Blues and Cork Bounces Back

A time of change, a time of stress, but also a time of opportunities. That’s in a nutshell the times we seem to be living in. This week’s news roundup explains why. Here’s the JollyCellarMaster Weekly:


New Vines and the Consequences of Votes

Champagne Supernova

We already covered the potential changes to the wine regulations of Champagne (using the same titles – apologies, but it seems to hit the nail on the head) and I pointed out that there are probably two sides to the story.  Now, the Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne (SGV), which represent about 99% of the region’s winegrowers has voted to introduce an additional vine-training system that permits more space between vines and as such results in a lower number of vines per hectare. A higher density is often considered to produce higher quality. Also, Champagne proudly talks of its tradition of artisanal production, but the changes also benefit greater mechanical working of the vineyards.  That’s one side. The other is that the effects of climate change are to be the primary reason for the modifications. A study commissioned by the SGV found that lower density vineyards would reduce greenhouse gas emissionsby 20-percent by allowing the use of better equipment. Again, I’d encourage you to build your own opinion, the decision to approve the changes has however already been taken by a vote last week anonymously.


Brexit Blues

I’ll be upfront with you: I’ve been against Brexit and was saddened when the UK left the EU. I was particularly upset because many people voted in favour of leaving because of (in some cases obviously) false promises. The consequences in some cases are severe and last week the news of a British wine merchant hit the outlets describing the reality of Brexit. It’s an interesting read (or listen if you check out the interview on the BBC) as it describes how his company faces the biggest threat to its future since it began in 1992 owing to issues caused by Brexit.

Again, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion and I can understand why someone might be in favour (though I don’t have to agree with it). The problem is that it appears to have been a conversation that was based on representations that were entirely unfounded or plain wrong. A real pity, as I said.


Opportunities abound

We covered change and we covered the stress and struggle I promised above. Let’s turn to the opportunities then. The first one is about the remarkable rebound of cork. In the latest podcast episode, I spoke to Keith Grainger about cork taint (among many other things, so make sure you check it out) and you might remember the bad press cork received a decade or so ago. Many improvements were made since, but cork producers were equally hit as the entire wine industry by the Covid crisis. Although, things have turned for the better: last week, the world’s largest cork products company, Corticeira Amorim, posted on Tuesday a 63 percent jump in second-quarter net profit as the easing of COVID-19 rules boosted its core wine stopper business. Not bad, eh?

The second opportunity is more forward looking: a recent report claims that the Global Wine Market is to reach $434.6 Billion by 2027 with substantial opportunities outside Europe.

I’m always prudent when I read such numbers (remember that the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself according to a quote attributed to former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill), but I’d like to believe the positive trend. After all, the wine business has been getting tougher over the years it seems and it’s nice to get some good news every now and then, isn’t it?



And that’s all for this week, folks! However, if you have an interesting story to tell or simply want to chat about wine as a guest on the Podcast, connect on Twitter or drop me a line. And if you want to stay in the loop about things happening at the JollyCellarMaster and the world of wine, make sure you sign up to our newsletter.


Disclaimer: As always, I’d like to be completely transparent about affiliations, conflicts of interest, my expressed views and liability: Like anywhere else on this website, the views and opinions expressed are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. The material information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. I endeavor to keep this information correct and up-to-date, I do not accept any liability for any falls in accurate or incomplete information or damages arising from technical issues as well as damages arising from clicking on or relying on third-party links. I am not responsible for outside links and information is contained in this article nor does it contain any referrals or affiliations with any of the producers or companies mentioned. As I said, the opinions my own, no liability, just thought it would be important to make this clear. Thanks!



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