Hong Kong (15 May, 2018)– What’s hot in the wine & spirits world and which way is the trend wind blowing? Celebrate a boom in light, bright red wine, raise a glass to sherry and vermouth roaring back into fashion on the back of mixology and cheer on the ‘cork with a twist’ as one of the industry’s most novel innovations, says Lizzy Rudd, the new Chair of Britain’s original wine and spirits merchant, wine and spirit merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd.
In her first year at the helm of one of the ten oldest family-run businesses in the UK, and as a leading figure in the wine and spirits industry, Lizzy Rudd notes key trends to look out for this year:
Lighter, brighter reds -“We see a continued move away from over-extracted, full bodied red wines toward lighter, brighter styles,” says Rudd. The trend is most obviously apparent from the startling renaissance of Beaujolais. Having shed its over-bearing reputation merely for ‘nouveau’, the French region’s artisan winemakers celebrated a 70% increase in volume and 60% in sales last year.
Next in line, perhaps, is the Loire, with predictions that 2018 will witness an increase in popularity. And at the same time, Bordeaux had a “cracking campaign” last year, with 20% increase in volume and 35% in value. At the ‘serious’ sector of the market, the revered region of Burgundy also “romps onwards”, with a 28% increase due in part to a very successful en primeur campaign, but also a “huge trade in the secondary market” for key producers, with Domaine de la Romanée-Conti at the front of the pack.
Italian Focus - The ‘light, bright’ movement is also extending to Italy, where she tips Langhe Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Barbera for gaining from the same trend, for their higher acidity and more primary focus on red fruit character. On the slopes of Mount Etna far south in Sicily, Etna DOC is also “quite possibly the last fine wine frontier in Europe”, tipped for recognition “as a quality wine producing region”. In particular, watch out for the high altitude, volcanic-soil white wines made from Carricante, and reds from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio.
Looking to England and further afield -Elsewhere across the globe, she forecasts English wines will continue to grow, especially with Brexit on the horizon.“The quality of English sparkling wines is already fully recognised, so it could be single site still wines that are the next big thing for our home-grown industry,” she said.
And as customers continue to search for value and quality, South Africa’s ‘New Wave’ of “innovative and exciting winemakers will continue to make a name for themselves.” Look out for wines from Mullineux, Craven and Eben Sadie, to name just a few.
Mixology, Sherry & Vermouth - With the boom in mixology and exotic cocktails, Spain’s ‘forgotten treasure’ Vermouth is enjoying a long overdue return to recognition, with a 40% increase in sales last year.Another beneficiary of the mixology trend is soaring sales of ginger liqueur, with Berry Bros. & Rudd reporting a 95% boom in sales of its The Kings Ginger, while the house’s multi-award-winning No.3 London Dry Gin has rocketed by over 200%.
Sherry, the “neglected wine treasure” of Jerez, also “continues to soar”, with sales of the aperitif up 68% last year, led by older and rarer styles plus en rama, the so-called ‘biologically aged’ categories of fino and manzanilla sherry. “2018 will see the continuation of the great Sherry appreciation trend, especially for Oloroso and Palo Cortado which has been carefully aged by almacenistas – responsible for the maturation of sherry over several years before they are sold on to the Bodegas,” she said. This ageing is “supreme artistry at work”, now rewarded by soaring sales.
New Innovations -Berry Bros. & Rudd is “excited” to be one of the first UK importers to launch the Helix ‘cork with a twist’, a twist open/close cork solution that targets the popular premium, fast turnaround still wine segment. Threads inside the bottle neck ensure an airtight seal and enable effortless opening with a light twist – and the bottle reseals easily. Unlike the screwcap, you still get the pleasant cork-out-the-bottle ‘pop’, she noted.
The result of four years of research and development, the Helix closure is treated to be ‘cork taint’ free – ensuring no corked bottles of wine, plus the fact that the cork can reseal the bottle means it’s great for reusing and upcycling - for water or olive oil etc. An unexpected twist to wine packaging.
The innovation was launched on two new wines earlier this year – 2017 Protea Chenin, Anthonij Rupert and 2017 Protea Chardonnay, Anthonij Rupert – but expect it to catch on fast.
As for packaging, some brand new trends on the horizon include keg wine. Following the lead from wine lovers in the New World, she asks: “Is 2018 the year for the next big wine dispensing trend? We’ve had bag in box and wine in a can, but what about keg wine? After all, it is taint free and easy to pour by-the-glass with no wastage.
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Lizzy Rudd started her career at Berry Bros & Rudd in the marketing team, where she was responsible for building the global reputation of the firm’s renowned whisky brand Cutty Sark.
When Lizzy left the company almost a decade later to concentrate on her young family, she was appointed to the Board as a Non-Executive Director. She was appointed the role of Deputy Chairman in 2005, working alongside Chairman Simon Berry and in December 2017, Lizzy took on the role of the company’s Chairman following Simon’s retirement. Lizzy has played a fundamental role in the establishment of the Family Board which sits alongside the Executive Board, and has played an integral part in the work carried out on the restructuring and governance of the Executive Board.
With the appointment of a new CEO to the business in 2015, Lizzy has also been central in communicating the vision of Berry Bros. & Rudd on behalf of the Rudd and Berry families. This vision has been essential in guiding the planned direction of the company and feeds directly into the overall strategy for Berry Bros & Rudd.
When back home in Norfolk and well away from the wine and spirits industry, Lizzy has a particular interest in plants and botanicals. She is a qualified nutritionist and naturopath and enjoys creating tinctures and infusions with a wide variety of herbs and botanicals that she grows and collects herself.
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