The shrinking number of suppliers, and the trend for smaller wine lists are having a major impact on the on-trade, according to Andrew Bewes, MD of wine merchant Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines.
‘Consolidation on the supply side can make sense,’ said Bewes. ‘People are writing out fewer cheques, and the supplying merchants are more likely to help with training.’
However, he is less convinced by the trend for more compact wine lists that list wines by style rather than country.
‘By the time you’ve ticked off the must-haves like New Zealand Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio and covered off the classics like Rioja or Chablis, the room for the eclectic and interesting wines is getting smaller and smaller. It’s disappointing when there’s more good and interesting wine out there,’ he told Imbibe.
At its portfolio tasting yesterday, Hallgarten Druitt & Novum Wines had new agencies from Swartland, Turkey and Croatia, to go alongside its large selection of Novum wines from Greece, India, Japan and Lebanon.
‘Of course these wines excite sommeliers,’ said Bewes. ‘But the majority of the on-trade is run by business-people, who are pretty hard-nosed about sales.’