IWSR announces acquisition of Wine Intelligence

IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, the leading authority on the worldwide beverage alcohol industry, today announced the acquisition of London-based Wine Intelligence, the top global experts on wine consumer research and insights. The combined offering provides the industry with robust insight into consumption trends, consumer behavior and growth opportunities for the global beverage alcohol sector.

Founded in 2002, Wine Intelligence conducts projects on behalf of wine businesses in more than 35 wine markets. This acquisition enables the IWSR and Wine Intelligence teams to build a world-class consumer behavior division focused exclusively on the global beverage alcohol industry.

“As Covid-19 reshapes consumer behavior and beverage alcohol drinking occasions, industry stakeholders are looking for a deeper understanding of the consumer attitudes driving the market,” remarks Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR. “Our vision is shaped by our clients, and this acquisition is a tremendous opportunity for us to expand on our existing offerings and work with the Wine Intelligence team to provide the industry with access to comprehensive consumer insight across all categories of the drinks industry, including beer, wine, spirits and the ready-to-drink sector.”

This acquisition follows a successful decade-long relationship between IWSR and Wine Intelligence. Recent collaborations include the IWSR Covid-19 Consumer Tracker, an in-depth consumer sentiment research report series tracking the on-going impact of Covid-19 on the consumption of and attitude to beverage alcohol over an 18-month period.

“We are delighted to join the IWSR family after nearly 10 years of our organizations partnering on behalf of our client base,” says Lulie Halstead, CEO of Wine Intelligence. “I share Mark’s vision of us building a world-class and comprehensive offering of data and consumer insights to support the global beverage alcohol sectors, which we are uniquely positioned to do.”

About the IWSR

The IWSR is the leading source of data and intelligence on the alcoholic beverage market. The IWSR’s database, essential to the industry, quantifies the global market of wine, spirits, beer, cider, and RTDs (ready-to-drink) by volume and value in 160 countries, and provides insight into short- and long-term trends, including five-year volume and value forecasts. The IWSR tracks overall consumption and trends at brand, price segment and category level. Our data is used by the major international wine, spirits and beer companies, as well as financial and alcoholic beverage market suppliers. The IWSR’s unique methodology allows us to get closer to what is actually consumed and better understand how markets work. The IWSR boasts a team of global analysts, each of whom is equipped with local market expertise and an expansive network of on-the-ground industry contacts. Our analysts meet and speak with their industry contacts throughout the year in order to capture local insight, key market trends, and the ‘why’ behind the numbers. For more information about the IWSR, please visit www.theiwsr.com

About Wine Intelligence

Wine Intelligence is the global leader in wine consumer research and insights. Founded in 2002, we now conduct projects on behalf of wine businesses in more than 35 wine markets. With a team made up of wine industry and research specialists, we offer a broad range of research, insights and strategy services to help wine businesses make better and more profitable business decisions.

Silicon Valley Bank: The US wine industry will bound back in 2021

The US wine industry is poised to bounce back in 2021, according to a report by Rob McMillan, Founder, Silicon Valley Bank, with a consumer desire to celebrate set to help drive wine sales this year.

Silicon Valley Bank’s 20th annual review of wine industry prospects predicts that temporary gains will yield to long-term declines. The report raises doubts that this year’s expected sales momentum will carry very far into 2022.

Wineries that have established strong direct-to-consumer sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as online retailers, can expect more gains in 2021, the report says, while bricks-and-mortar retailers, urban-based grocers and restaurants will take years to recover.

Restaurants will drastically need new investment to survive or to re-appear. Yet, the report predicts a quick recovery for the industry as a whole, although the relative importance of individual sales channels will shift dramatically.

Online wine retailers had major growth in sales during 2020, and that is expected to continue into 2021. This channel, and wineries’ own online efforts, “will represent 20% of an average winery’s sales within five years,” the report predicts.

McMillan stressed that wineries, in spite of the loss of tasting room sales, are not in the same financial straits as restaurants. “Wineries seldom go bankrupt,” he said, “even if they are over-leveraged. If they have financial problems, there’s always a willing buyer.”

One problem that was lurking in the US at this time last year, according to the report, was an over-supply of wine. But damage to crops from last year’s fires and smoke, as well as diminished tasting room sales, resulted in supply now being back in balance with demand.

However, one problem that has not gone away is the changing ages of wine drinkers. As Baby Boomers continue to retire, they are being replaced by younger drinkers with different agendas.

While the decrease in demand by Boomers for wine purchases at all price levels has not been as precipitous as once predicted, the decline is not being offset by younger drinkers, who often see better value in craft beers and in spirits.

“The digital world parallels the real world,” McMillan said, “and the new consumer is not one who wants to rely on advice from most current sommeliers. We need to consider the values of younger drinkers, and they value things in the wine world differently.”

Download the full report

https://www.svb.com/trends-insights/reports/wine-report

Seven Oregon Pinot Noirs Make Wine Spectator’s Top 100 List

Wine Spectator’s Annual Report names 100 of the best, most interesting wines in the world, with seven made in Oregon

Around this time every year since 1988, Wine Spectator gathers the best of the best wines its editors have tasted throughout the year, bestowing their favorite, most excellent wines made in or imported into the U.S. with a spot on the highly coveted “Top 100 list.” Oregon wines are often overrepresented on this prestigious list, garnering around five or six spots annually, or 5 or 6%, which is no small feat considering that Oregon accounts for far less than 1% of global wine production.

But in 2020, the number of Oregon wines set a new record in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list with seven Oregon Pinot noirs earning their way on to this list. Put another way, this means 7% of the most exciting wines in the entire world are made in Oregon.

How hard is it to get onto Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list?
The magazine receives about 11,000 wines each year for evaluation, so the odds of getting on this list are more than 100 to 1.

According to Wine Spectator, “Our selection prioritizes quality (based on score), value (based on price) and availability (based on the number of cases either made or imported into the United States). These criteria are applied to the wines that rated outstanding (90 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale) each year to determine our Top 100…These wines are a diverse group—ranging from emerging labels and regions to traditional estates exploring new directions—and all generate the excitement we call the “X-factor.”

Winners this year include a top ten entry, Beaux Freres Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge The Beaux Frères Vineyard 2018 with a score of 95, (the Beaux Frères Vineyard pictured above, photo by Carey Critchlow). Senior Editor Tim Fish described this wine as “A wine of presence and expression, impeccably structured yet elegantly layered, with evocative raspberry, rose petal and brown baking spice notes that pick up richness and tension toward fine-grained tannins.”

The other six winners and their respective spots on the list plus ratings are below. According to the magazine, a rating of 95-100 is deemed as a “Classic.” and a wine rated with a 90-94 is “Outstanding.”

#19: Résonance Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2017, 93

#29: The Four Graces Pinot Noir Dundee Hills Reserve, 2017, 94

#33: Ken Wright Pinot Noir Willamette Valley, 2017, 91

#37: Bergström Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Cumberland Reserve, 2018, 94

#64: La Crema Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2018, 92

#79: Stoller Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2018, 90

“Placing a record seven Oregon wines among the world’s Top 100, and five in the top 40, is welcome recognition for Oregon and a reflection of the exceptional fruit and winemaking talent here,” notes Oregon Wine Board President Tom Danowski.

Stoller Family Estate appeared for the first time on this list in 2020, and the designation is not lost on founder and owner Bill Stoller. “Wine Spectator is one of the most influential publications in our industry, and it’s an incredible honor to earn a spot on its Top 100 list,” he said. “Our Vice President of Winemaking, Melissa Burr, has been honing her craft over the last 15 years. She created an everyday Pinot Noir that embodies the spirit and complexity of our region. To have our 2018 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir place alongside some of the best in the world is a testament to Melissa and her team’s dedication.”

FIVE LAWS IMPACTING THE DRINKS WORLD IN 2021

Five Laws Impacting the Drinks World in 2021

http://www.spiritedbiz.com/five-laws-impacting-the-drinks-world-in-2021/

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Rob Symington on Climate Change: “We Have To Be Activists”

At an online conference this week, members of the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA) spoke of the need to “be activists” in order to bring about real change in the fight against carbon emissions.

Founded last year by Familia Torres and Jackson Family Wines, the IWCA is a small but growing group of wineries dedicated to ‘de-carbonizing’ the wine industry and combatting the effects of climate change.

Crucially, the group requires its members to commit to actively lowering its carbon emissions. The requirements upon joining are:

A complete end-to-end (through Scopes 1-3) Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory (which must be completed six months after joining).

At least 20% of power generated through on-site renewable energy.

Demonstrate a reduction of at least 25% in CO2 emissions for every litre of wine produced after a baseline of emissions has been established.

A commitment to reducing total emissions by 50% by 2030 and ‘climate positive’ by 2050.

Speaking at the conference, Familia Torres’ sustainability manager, Josep-Maria Ribas, explained that all the objectives are, “science based”, to allow members to work towards producing real results in how their companies and wineries operate.

Also speaking was Rob Symington of Symington Family Estates, one of the first wineries to sign up to the IWCA. He said that the big challenge when it came to meaningful change in environmental initiatives was to “avoid greenwashing”.

Not wanting to be criticized and being seen to do something had been the “usual approach” in this area for many years and many sceptics are all too eager to pounce on projects – even good ones – that lack some sort of robustness to their processes.

This is why as well as setting its own goals, Symington said that the family-run group had been, “seeking external frameworks where we’re being held accountable to things we said we would do and that’s the most effective way to avoid falling into the trap of greenwashing”.

And while Symington Family Estates, alongside Torres, Jackson and other members, are able to take control of certain emission hotspots in the vineyards and winery more directly – producing their own energy, cutting energy use, adapting their vineyards to the changing climate, etc – there’s also a strong case for ‘activism’.

As Symington continued: “Over 85% of our emissions are beyond our control – they’re produced by the brandy makers we buy spirit from, glassmakers and transportation and so on,” but, he continued, customers at all points are able to “act as lobbyists to change those emissions from our partners”, and “put positive pressure throughout the chain”.

He added that it sometimes seemed at odd for very traditional wineries to act like activists but countered it was also important to, “stick your neck out and sign up to things like the IWCA. We joined to hold our feet to the fire and to justify the steps we need to take”.

Having goals and being held accountable is vital if not only the structural systems are going to change but the culture behind them that enables those structural systems are going to change too.

But given the challenges and threat posed to vineyards and longstanding family companies by climate change, there is also a (perfectly) legitimate form of “enlightened self-interest” in being a champion for the cause, as Symington admitted.

The IWCA is currently comprised of nine members across the Americas, Europe and Antipodes, with another two apparently close to signing up. Membership is not restricted by size and Ribas added it was currently compiling an emissions calculator that would help smaller wineries be able to join and identify where to focus their efforts to meet the entry requirements without the need to hire expensive consultants.

IWCA website – https://www.iwcawine.org/

Sources:  Drinks Business and IWCA