Civilised knees-up sparks a wine revolution

Have you ever wondered why artisanal wines in those nice wine shops are so expensive?

Let me explain how a south Dublin street tasting in a pandemic might have helped solve this problem for you.

Life as a small independent winemaker is rewarding. But it’s also tough

You see, the best winemakers are farmers and artists, not salespeople. And wine is really hard to sell.

Because it takes a big effort to sell their wines, they tend to keep their volumes small. And then need to charge a decent price in order to make a living.

And so the prices end up high in the shop, and as a result the wine sells slowly. Repeat year after year. It’s a vicious cycle that’s impossible to get out of.

They haven’t a hope of competing with the big producers of the soulless, mass-produced plonk you find in the supermarket.

The first spark

Let me take you back to May of last year. Lockdown one is starting to ease, and we all tip-toe carefully out of our houses. We can’t go very far, so we reconnect with those foreign creatures that we call neighbours.

Our street in south Dublin is no different, and we gather on the occasional Friday night for a few socially distant drinks. It turns out the neighbours are great fun after all!

Given that my house is never shy of wine samples, I kindly volunteer to be the booze supplier.

And even kinder, my neighbours drink me dry.

We may as well drink the really good stuff

I’m pouring samples from places like Tuscany, Napa, Ribera del Duero, Stellenbosch… some of the dreamiest wine regions on earth.

The kind of wines you find in really good restaurants when you’re away in these places. Made without compromise, from the best fruit and by the best winemaking talent.

They don’t cost the earth over there, but if they ever make it back here — with middlemen, taxes, standard retail markups added in… forget it.

Suddenly the penny drops

As I stand there, in my element, watching the smiles on peoples’ faces enjoying good wine, the big question hits me…

Why are these wines so expensive, and so hard to get?

The more I think about it, the more I know the way around this.

Which is to connect normal wine drinkers (just like my neighbours), directly with the amazing winemakers behind these wines.

A ‘wine spark’, you could say ☺

The vicious cycle can be broken

I reckon that by making the wines affordable to start with, and by delivering amazing value and service, there’s a good reason to ask people to stick around and subscribe.

Customers drink better wine, the winemaker sells more wine, and everyone wins.

It’s putting the cart before the horse.

Only a few weeks to go now.

Follow the WineSpark adventure here. And please tell an Irish wine-loving friend!

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