Trading-up has been an underlying trend worldwide over the past twenty years, driven by new, more inquisitive and more demanding generations who prefer to drink less but better. This social change has benefited from technological innovations. “There was a time when you would think twice before uncorking a bottle of wine at certain price points if you were only intending to drink one glass. Nowadays, the issue has been resolved because we know that we will be able to keep it for several days before the wine spoils”, says a delighted Gérard Basset, 2010 World’s Best Sommelier, owner of the TerraVina hotel and restaurant in Southern England and consultant for the Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts group.
New solutions for serving wine by the glass, equipped with systems for preserving wine after opening, respond to the aspirations of wine drinkers who have fewer and fewer hang-ups. Although the average price of a glass of wine in a country like France was 3.80 euros in 2014*, Fabrice Moisan, owner of the gourmet bistro L’Univerre in Bordeaux (France), willingly serves prestigious labels by the glass: “At lunchtime, we have a board offering wines by the glass for 10 to 12 euros, because new systems for preserving wine make it possible... and because our patrons also want to be able to drink top wines by the glass!”
A more relaxed approach to wine means that drinking occasions are increasingly spilling over from the sacrosanct mealtime. “It is not a taboo anymore to order a grand cru and drink it al fresco at 5pm”, comments Gérard Basset, who also points to new drinking occasions in the day such as after work or in the evening. The trend is mirrored in the success of wine bars in London, Paris, New York, Berlin and elsewhere, which are open late into the night.
* “Wine and you in restaurants” survey, Bettane & Desseauve, April 2014.
Wine Bar 2.0
photo Studio Guy Renaux