Wine is a constantly evolving product; in the glass, in the bottle and in the vineyard. Innovation, experimentation and the will to constantly improve is the mantra that winemakers live by. This is especially the case in the modern Spanish wine world. Spain is currently the most dynamic wine producing country in the world.

The wine industry is a very male dominated world. All facets of production, appreciation and sales have traditionally been the domain of men. This has, of course, undergone a considerable change in recent years, and the wine business is becoming much more balanced. But wine styles and marketing are still very much skewed towards attracting male consumers.

I was talking with a customer the other day and when I asked what wine she would like to drink, she proudly proclaimed that she was a member of the ABC club.

Wine appreciation is a funny thing. Most people discover wine by having a sip out of their parents’ glass. Maybe they like it, maybe they don’t, but either way it is a very ‘grown-up’ thing to do. Growing up through the teen years, most young people try alcohol but more often than not it is in the form of beer or cocktails. But once people discover the magic of wine there is usually no turning back. A whole world of flavours, smells, language and confusion awaits.

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again already. Christmas in Saigon is quite a spectacle, with Saigonese fully embracing the commercial spirit of the festive season.

Consumer perception is everything when choosing a product. If we are buying a television or a new computer we want to buy the best, and usually we associate this with the biggest or most popular brand. This used to be the way we chose our food and beverages, the bigger the company or brand, the better. Over the last 20 years, however,there has been a gradual consumer move towards smaller, boutique products; small artisanal cheese makers, craft beers and of course, boutique wineries.

Photo from penfolds.com

Making wine is a very complicated thing. I mean the theory is simple; pick ripe grapes, crush them, extract the juice, ferment… and then drink, right? If only it were so easy. Ever since humans have discovered this very simple process, we have set about trying to work out how we can best manipulate, influence and control the variables that determine the quality and character of the resultant wine.

An organic vineyard in the US

In the first of a series of new columns on wine, take a sip of biodynamic wines with sommelier and wine guru, Jim Cawood

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