Berkmann ballot puts Portugal on top

Jo Gilbert

Berkmann Wine Cellars took the opportunity to take the temperature of up and coming grapes, styles and regions likely to cause a stir in 2017.

Tastings are usual viewed as opportunities to ask the experts, but Berkamnn’s annual tasting took the unusual step of asking visitors their perceptions and predictions for the rest of the year.

Among others questions on a ballot sheet, visitors were invited to vote for what emerging wine region will break through into the mainstream.

From a pool of over 500 guests, almost half of voters (48%) named Portugal as the emerging wine region to watch in 2017, followed by Slovenia (23%), Hungary (13%) and Brazil (9%).

Portugal increasing its fan base is back up by figures which show that Portuguese wine exploded in the on-trade last year.

Despite forming a tiny percentage of the market – less than 1% - value sales rose by 25% in 2016, according to figures from Bibendum.

The wholesaler’s data tool found an equal representation of red and white on lists in the off-trade, compared to the on-trade where white accounts for 26% of sales verses 37% red and 37% rose.

Bibendum head honchos also singled out Portuguese wines for success in 2017.

Back at Berkmann, guests also picked Italian grape Vermentino as a strong contender to Sauvignon Blanc, with more than a quarter (29%) of respondents saying they’d recommend the relatively unknown grape to customers looking for an alternative.

Out of fashion Beaujolais was voted the region voters would most like to see make a comeback (27% of votes), ahead of German wines (26%), Sherry (21%) and Languedoc (19%).

As well collecting industry predictions, the portfolio tasting also focused on how to help guests set themselves apart from the competition.

A spotlight was placed on pale reds in a ‘Pale and Interesting’ masterclass with Alex Hunt MW, highlighting the rapid rise in lighter coloured reds.

This shift towards paler reds was backed up by the results from the ballot, where Gamay and Grenache came out on top.



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