Wine writer says pricey wines need weighty bottles. Huh? Do you agree?

on 03/03/11 at 10:25 am

Wine

Do lightweight wine bottles mean 'cheap wine'?

Wine writer Robert Joseph has spoken out in defence of heavy wine bottles, saying they are an essential way of differentiating luxury wine from commodity wine.

Speaking at the drinks business’ annual conference at the Commonwealth Club on Monday, Joseph said: “The UK wine market is dysfunctional.

“The fact that there’s so much wine being discounted in an extraordinary yo-yo fashion means consumers have no idea what the wine is actually worth, which is an unhealthy situation.

“One of the big mistakes we make is that we put cheap wine in the same packaging as expensive wine – a £4 bottle is very similar to a £100 bottle, and that doesn’t give the consumer a good enough reason to trade up.”

Joseph ruffled a few feathers at the conference by suggesting that the UK should follow North America’s lead and put cheap wine into cheap packaging and keep premium wine in heavy bottles.

“There is far more intelligence in what you’re seeing in the US, Sweden and Australia, where cheap wine goes into a bag in box or a Tetra Pak,” he said.

“I disagree with the idea peddled by journalist such as Jancis Robinson MW and Tim Atkin MW of going away from heavy bottles because they’re environmentally unfriendly. There are proportionally so few of those bottles sold, I don’t really think it’s going to make a huge difference to the environment.

“For some people, paying a bit more and getting a really nice heavy bottle for a Saturday night is part of the experience. Saying you can’t do that is like saying chocolates have to come in a paper bag, rather than a box,” Joseph added.

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