Celebrate the return of boxed wine!

If you thought boxed wine was relegated to 70s dinner parties or student soirees, then you may be surprised to hear that it’s back with a bang in the UK. Ideal Wine Company reviews the growing popularity of boxed wine.

Following the trend for all things retro, it seems that UK consumers can’t get enough of the old favourite boxed wine. Data from Amazon shows that sales have rocketed so far this summer, making 2017 the year or the boxed wine revival.

Slightly rebranded to be known as ‘bag-in-box’ wine, the product has jumped a massive 200% in terms of UK sales at Amazon. What’s behind this resurgence?

Ideal Wine Company boxed wine
Boxed wine is making a return within the UK!

Convenience and choice

It seems that there a few factors involved with this product’s come back, including the convenience it offers and the fact that there are much higher quality products available. Add these to an increase of consumer interest in environmental awareness, and it seems logical that boxed wine sales would jump this year.

Amazon.co.uk shows a 212% increase for sales of boxed wine during June and July 2017, when directly compared to the same months in 2016. Bristol has been at the forefront of the sales, with a 650% surge in the south-western city. Next up is Leeds with sales up 325% and then London with sales increased by 137%. (These figures are as at 27 July 2017).

New ranges announced

Always a retailer that’s on board with new trends, Waitrose announced recently that it’s launching a range of premium bag-in-box wines for eager customers to enjoy. The first of these is a boxed Provence rose, which combines the two trends of the 2017 UK summer.

Amazon reported that its most popular boxed wines are JP Chenet Cabernet, which is up 362% for the June/July period, followed by El Emperador Sauvignon Blanc, which is up 216%. Next comes Banrock Station Chardonnay up 150% and Banrock Station Shiraz is close behind with sales up 123%.

Easily transportable

As it can easily be moved from picnic to barbecue, it’s no wonder that having more choice is helping boxed wine become more popular. It seems consumers are happy to move past the unfair preconceptions boxed wine used to suffer and fully embrace the convenience and environmental upside to boxed wine.

Beaujolais affected by adverse weather

The weather woes continue for many vineyards across France and Spain, which have been hit by unseasonal weather. Ideal Wine Company discuss the weather conditions hitting Beaujolais.

While the late spring frosts are finally history, unexpected weather conditions are still taking their toll. For example, some of the 2017 Beaujolais harvest looks likely to have been lost following a brutal hailstorm in mid-July.

The summer hailstorm hammered the Beaujolais region, leading to damaged crops and uncertainty for the vineyards. It’s something that will feel familiar to the vineyard owners, who suffered a similar fat in 2016. However, this year’s storms have caused more damage on a wider scale.

Ideal Wine Company damaged vineyards
Adverse weather has hit vineyards across Europe.

Beaujolais Crus worst affected

Situated up in the north, the Beaujolais Crus vineyard looks to have been one of the worst affected. The storm also hit Chiroubles, Morgon, Chenas, Fleurie, Moulin a Vent and the north of Régnié.

Fleurie is a picturesque village and was one of the worst hit, with the violence of the winds damaging not only the vineyards, but also many houses. The affect on the infrastructure throughout the villages and towns affected show the extent of the storm and the strength of the winds.

Rarely seen tornado

The president of InterBeaujolais, Dominique Piron, said: “It was a tornado. I have rarely seen this. The small hailstones and the wind have a sandblasting effect on the vines.”

The full extent of the damage is still being assessed, and it’s clear that many vineyards and people have been affected. Dominique added: “In our modern world, it is difficult to accept such a sudden event. But it is unfortunately the lot of those who work with nature.”

Run of bad weather

This year has seen a plethora of destructive weather conditions affecting vineyards across France, Spain and Italy.

Late frosts in May and early June, along with freak storms later on in the summer have led to many crops being affected. It is likely to affect both the price and the amount of wine available on shelves next year, although just how much remains to be seen.

A review of affordable wine storage systems

Collecting wines is one of the greatest pleasures of life – but the prospect of looking after and storing fine wine can sometimes seem a complicated and daunting process. Ideal Wine Company reviews the affordable wine storage systems, perfect for any wine collection.

It doesn’t have to be. Not all wine is suitable for long-term storage – many are best consumed within a few months or years of the vintage – however some wines will improve with age. Here’s our guide to how to store your wine at home – without having to invest a huge amount of money.

Ideal Wine Company wine storage
How can wine storage systems make storing wine easier?

Why store wine anyway?

There are two key considerations that you need to bear in mind when storing wine. The first is that you will be protecting your wine, while the second is that you are attempting to age it. The first consideration – merely protecting your wine – is most probably the most important aim of short term storage. The second, aging, is obviously only a factor if you’re looking to store it longer term.

Affordable options

So, what are the options? For short term storage, we recommend keeping things simple. For most wines that will be consumed within a few weeks or months, there is no need to worry too much about factors like humidity, vibration or temperature. Try to keep it at around 12C – but the most important consideration here is maintaining a relatively constant temperature. That means that the places people usually store their wine – in the kitchen, in the garage or in a shed – are completely unsuitable due to the fact that there is usually a broad temperature differential depending on the time of year – hot in summer, and extremely cold in the winter.

Finding a happy balance

A clean basement then is your best option – and we’d highly recommend you invest in a wine storage system to keep the bottles off the floor. You have a few options here too – wire racks are cheap, but can bend, while hardwood racks are odour-free and strong enough for the job. Try and avoid softwood systems as they can warp in the damp atmosphere. If you don’t have a basement, then under the stairs – or any cupboard away from the outside walls – is a great alternative. Remember again that a nice constant temperature is by far and away the most important consideration. There are plenty of plastic storage solutions that work well in these smaller spaces.

Longer term

If you’re looking to store bottles of wine at home for longer, but aren’t able to invest in an expensive wine cellar, then a wine storage cabinet is a viable – but still relatively costly – option. Once again, the idea is to maintain a constant temperature, away from light, in which to store your wine – fundamental principles that you’ll need to bear in mind when it comes to wine storage, however much money you’re looking to invest.

You can find out more about storing wines at home on our website.

Is wine beating beer for Brits?

According to information from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), the UK is fast turning into a nation of wine aficionados. Ideal Wine Company reviews the increased popularity of wine.

Wine has now taken over from beer as the most popular alcoholic drink in the country. People across the UK spend £108 million on wine every single week, compared with just £45 million on beer. That equates to 38 million people in the UK choosing wine – around 74 per cent of adults in the country.

This means that each wine drinker spends about £148 per year on wine. And they’re not just kicking back and relaxing with a glass at home in the evening, they’re heading out to drink too. Ten million bottles of wine are sold every month in pubs and bars across the UK.

Ideal Wine Company wine vs beer
Is wine becoming increasingly more popular than beer?

Importing prices are rising

The country’s wine bill is constantly rising as Brexit has force import costs up until the average price of a bottle of wine reached £5.56, an all-time high.

So, despite the fact that we’re just a small island, the UK is the sixth largest market in the world. More than 1.8 billion bottles of wine are imported into the UK every year, which includes one billion from inside the European Union. Only the USA beats our £3billion per year import market, and they have five times our population.

Growth of domestic market

It’s no longer just other country’s wines we’re drinking. The UK is finally a wine making nation in its own right, with vineyards now the fastest food and drink sector in terms of growth in the country. There were 64 brand new vineyards in 2016 alone.

Our wine industry is one of the few benefits of climate change and we’re also benefitting from improved wine growing techniques. We now have 500 vineyards and look likely to catch up with our 1,700 breweries before too long. VAT on the average bottle of UK wine is about £2.80, so the industry is now pouring a decent amount of money (£9.1 billion) into the country’s coffers.

From luxury to every day

There was a time when quaffing Prosecco or a decent red was reserved for meals out or special occasions. Now that it’s possible to buy excellent quality Prosecco in the supermarket for as little as £5.99, it’s perhaps not surprising that people are choosing wine over beer more often and enjoying it at home as a matter of course.

Is our love of wine good for our health?

While drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is universally considered a bad idea, experts do say that wine in moderation has distinct health benefits.

Some studies suggest that women who are aged over 55 can benefit from drinking five units or less of wine a week. It seems that antioxidants in the wine, including resveratrol and quercetin, could protect against heart disease.

However, it can’t be emphasised enough that moderation is key and no one is suggesting that people knock back a bottle of wine every night!

Research to Combat Drought in California

Global warming is changing approaches to agriculture and wine growing all around the world. And nowhere more so than in California, which has recently emerged from a devastating five year drought. Ideal Wine Company investigates into the matter.

While the drought is over in many areas, the urgent need to combat expected future droughts is mounting.

Ideal Wine Company california vineyard
Research is continuing to combat the drought seen in California.

Drip irrigation being tested

Wine growers and researchers are working hard to work out ways to grow crops using as little water as possible. One possible solution is subsurface drip irrigation, which places a tiny trickle of water specifically at the roots of the crop. By preventing evaporation, it ensures all the water is used where it’s needed.

So far, it’s being trialled across grain growing land in California in conjunction with the University of California and appears to be working.

Agriculture affected

Vineyards and farms are enjoying a bit of breathing space after the winter brought record rainfall, finally leading to full surface water for irrigation purposes. But scientists and the industry as a whole are under no illusion that a similar drought won’t happen again.

Spencer Cooper is California’s new senior manager of irrigation and water efficiency. He said: “We’re working right now to try to develop more precision irrigation systems and help growers irrigate on a smaller scale.”

It’s not only California’s wine industry that’s at stake. California boasts 80,500 farms, which provide almost three million jobs and irrigation is at the heart of its success. Around a third of California’s 25 million acres of working farmland is irrigated.

When will the next drought be?  
While research is ongoing, it’s possible there isn’t much time left before the next drought hits. There have been two extremely severe periods of drought over the last decade. Stanford University scientists have said that the drought is ‘very likely’ linked to global warming and they expect droughts will become more frequent, last longer and become more severe.

The last drought devastated the agricultural industry, costing more than $5.2 billion. Around 40,000 agricultural jobs were lost and 1 million acres had to be fallowed. Although groundwater pumping was employed on a massive scale, this isn’t sustainable long term.

Scientists, wine growers and the wider agricultural industry agree that lessons have been learned, and growers will be more prepared next time. Precise irrigation, where plants are given a small amount at the root seems to be the best way forward.