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What's hot, what's not

Published:  23 July, 2008

Come January we're all prone to speculation about what the new year will bring. It's not that we're bored with our favourite wines, it's more that - as wine lovers - we know there's a great big world of wine out there, and I, for one, want to know about new wine styles. As a wine professional, I also want to know what innovations other people are putting into practice, so to find out, I canvassed opinion from a range of people: suppliers, restaurant wine buyers - both top end and middle market - and pub operators too.

Food and wine matching is still a controversial topic, but most restaurateurs find that it pays dividends if tackled correctly. Customers love it but worry they'll get it wrong, according to one buyer. What it takes is staff who are up to speed which brings us back to training.

What on trade buyers don't like is excessively alcoholic wines - 15% alcohol is hard work to drink'. Nor do some of them like food miles, preferring for environmental reasons to stick with European wines. While there is little sign that on-trade buyers are rejecting the New World, or indeed the warmer parts of Europe, if there is one overall trend discernible, perhaps it is that we are seeing the start of a new era for European and cooler-climate wines.