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Delhi Wine Club
Brits still Ignorant about Wine

Posted: Monday, 06 December 2010 11:47

Brits still Ignorant about Wine

As an Indian you may relax if you cannot tell more than the difference between red and white wine as a recent survey in Britain discovers that despite centuries of wine drinking and the best of wine education available, half the Brits are ignorant and still confused, in particular about the crucial difference between the grape and the regions of the wine.

More than half, 58 % Britons still think that Chablis is a type of grape when it is actually a region-part of Burgundy in France where white wine is made from the Chardonnay grapes. About 43 % think Chardonnay is a region in France when it is actually a grape (although strictly speaking, it is also a small town of less than 200 inhabitants in Burgundy, from which the grape has supposedly taken its name). Another 43 % failed to recognise that Beaujolais is a region in France (The region south of Burgundy, which produces Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais Village and Cru Beaujolais-in that order of complexity and quality- fruity red wines from Gamay grape, many of which are imported in India).

Brits are the second biggest consumers of sparkling wine in the world, but 16 % still do not recognise that Champagne is in France rather than Spain, Italy or Germany- it is East of Paris, less than an hour away by fast train. (It should be heartening to know that 84% are aware of it, though!) .

Instead of looking for quality and tradition, Britons rely on price to judge which wine bottle to buy, according to the report in the Telegraph. The research by Morrisons Supermarket showed that 74 % of Brits claim that price is their main motivation when choosing a wine ahead of the label (44 %), colour (42 %), or the wine-food match (38%). Almost 23 % say that a pretty bottle will sway their decision to its purchase.

However, the cliché that being knowledgeable of wine is true. A third of those surveyed admitted that they are impressed by someone with knowledge of wine and 16 % admit to lying about their knowledge of wine to impress someone. Almost a third of Britons don’t think it is important to match their wine and the food, with only 3 per cent saying that this is essential to their choice.

The survey might be limited in its scope since the knowledge of wine from other regions like Italy, Chile or South Africa may even be much less. Many people would also opine that knowledge of wine is not critical for its consumption. 

For the record, England has one of the world’s most coveted wine courses available, with various levels available from WSET-Wine and Spirits Education Trust and IMW- the Institute of Master of Wine where one can get the MW diploma-ranking one the highest in levels of wine qualification globally.

One hopes Indians don’t take centuries to take their level of wine knowledge beyond where Brits are today. Although it is not necessary to have wine knowledge to enjoy wine, but some level of knowledge does help increase wine awareness and consumption. 


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