20 June 2018

What is good wine?

Posted by Dino Joannides

EVENT: Dino Ioannides chairs a panel of experts on the subject of ‘everything you always wanted to know about wine but were afraid to ask’ at the Bookshop on Thursday 21 June. Book tickets here. Below, he introduces the event with an exploration of what makes good wine.

We are bombarded with views and recommendations on how to select a good wine by experts, friends and a myriad of other ‘trusted’ sources, ranging from the wisdom of crowds to apps of varying levels of sophistication. Some people blindly follow a rating system from internationally known wine experts like Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson, or from publications like Decanter or Wine Spectator. Others may look at wines that win awards at regional, national or international competitions.

Wine labels are generally unhelpful unless a person already has enough prior knowledge about the given wine be it the region, grape varietal, wine maker and so on. Most wine labels don’t in fact inform consumers on what is in the wine, how it is made or how the grapes are farmed.

The global wine market is worth around $300 billion and large proportion of wines are owned by big companies, many of which are multinationals. The marketing spend on wine can represent a significant part of the cost of production, especially for the so-called industrial wines and the Grandes Marques Champagnes.

Determining what is a good wine is essentially contested and subjective, but having said that, I thought it would be interesting to invite some experts with real domain expertise and strong views to try and shed light on the subject. We'll be joined on Thursday 21 June by Anthony Rose, founding member of The Wine Gang and author of forthcoming book, Sake and the Wines of Japan; Professor Kathleen Burk, UCL Historian and author of Is This Bottle Corked? The Secret Life of Wine; Ruth Spivey, wine consultant and founder of Wine Car Boot; and Matt Day, Chief Wine Officer at Corkscrew.

The focus of this evening will be on trying to understand what factors are needed to produce ‘good’ wine. We will cover topics that may help in determining what is good wine as well as drinking some! We’ll discuss the role of the winemaker, place/terroir, farming methodologies, high and low levels of intervention, wine pairing, whether you should drink wine without food, old world versus new world wines and 'natural wine'.

Join us on Thursday 21 June for what promises to be a very informative evening, with strong opinions and some top notch food and wines provided by our sponsors, Andreas, Maltby & Greek, Artéis & Co Champagne, Alpha Estate and Corkscrew.