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Behaviour at wine fairs

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 10:09
by Santiago
I've just come back from a wine fair in Hamburg. The experience was very different from the ones I did in the UK earlier in the year.

In Hamburg most visitors remained reasonably sober, they came with the mindset of trying to taste wines that they thought they might like to buy over the next 12 months, to discover new wines and to get a chance to meet and talk to the winemakers. Some people took the opportunity to taste only the expensive wines that they couldn't afford but most people were obviously concentrating on their price range.

In the UK a large number of the visitors got drunk, they had the mindset of trying to consume as much free stuff as possible in the allotted time. Only about 10% were there to discover new wines that they might like to buy. When I stopped serving to talk about the winery, some people were visibly irritated that they had to wait for their free sample. One woman actually helped herself to a large glass while I was serving someone else.

The question is - Is there a fundamental difference in the attitudes and behaviours of the nationalities or were the fairs advertised in such a way as to attract and set goals for the visitors?

Re: Behaviour at wine fairs

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 10:39
by Roger O
Santiago wrote:The question is - Is there a fundamental difference in the attitudes and behaviours of the nationalities or were the fairs advertised in such a way as to attract and set goals for the visitors?
Yes!

Germans, especially the older generation, are, in some ways, much more like the European equivalent of the Japanese.

Fundamentally,
Ordentlichkeit, Höfflichkeit und Stolz
Order, politeness and pride i.e. "correct, reserved" behaviour
would tend to predominate.

Please do tell me how you travelled to Hamburg from Perpignan - I'm interested!!

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 11:09
by opas
You should do one in Sweeden...............thqt would be an eye opener :lol: :roll: :wink:

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 11:43
by Roger O
Personally, I would think Oslo would be the next choice - but put on your anti-Viking armour!!

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 16:02
by Santiago
Please do tell me how you travelled to Hamburg from Perpignan - I'm interested!!
I flew from Barcelona to Hamburg with Air Berlin.

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 16:19
by Archies Beard
Not sure how it would work in Oslo, with their very strict alcohol rules. They have special shops for anything other than beer and the prices for wine are exhorbitant. We were there in Aug and a bottle of Jacob Creek at an ordinary street side cafe was the equivalent of £43....but if it were free there may be a huge interest

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 18:36
by Santiago
£43 for a bottle of that stuff!

How much does a decent wine cost? Probably not much more.

If Tesco can sell JC at £3 it must only cost about 50p export price so £42.50 is taxes and markup. Therefore a good wine at £5 export price would still only be about £50 in Norway. The customer would only be paying 15% more for a wine that is ten times better.

I doubt there exists such a thing as a free tasting in Norway. Can you imagine how much it costs to go to a wine tasting there? Probably £150. Which explains why they all stay at home making moonshine.

Re: Behaviour at wine fairs

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 19:03
by graham34
Santiago wrote:In Hamburg most visitors remained reasonably sober, they came with the mindset of trying to taste wines that they thought they might like to buy over the next 12 months, to discover new wines and to get a chance to meet and talk to the winemakers. Some people took the opportunity to taste only the expensive wines that they couldn't afford but most people were obviously concentrating on their price range.
Well I went to a tasting in London's Vinopolis last Saturday and your description of Hamburg fits what I experienced - well organised and civilised.

It was of generally available wines i.e. there were stands from the big supermarkets and some independents and organised by a group of eminent experts called thewinegang. The participants were only allowed to show wines that thewinegang had given a minimum score to so the dross had been filtered out. Not necessary for independents frankly (Wine Society, Adnams) but essential for Tesco.

There was also some big state/company presence e.g. Portuguese and Penfolds/Wolf Blass. No Sud du France and Langudoc was generally poorly represented.

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 19:12
by Archies Beard
I must add that we did not buy any of their £43 wine, which was advertised on an A4 laminated menu - I was too busy guarding my £9 beer.

Posted: Tue 10 Nov 2009 19:43
by mpprh
opas wrote:You should do one in Sweeden...............that would be an eye opener :lol: :roll: :wink:
I've done several wine tastings in Sweden. They are not free, and portions are very small !

In fact there are wine "bargains" to be had in Sweden. There is a set mark up which includes a flat rate depending on alcohol content. This means that expensive 12% wines can be cheaper than you would expect.

Both Norway & Sweden have govt controlled alcohol shops. All alcohol over about 1.8% is sold through these shops. They are open 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-17.00 , closed weekends, bank holidays, day before bank holidays, in fact any time you can get there. You were not allowed to touch bottles - it was ordered from a catalogue like buying at Argus.

Swedes claim that alcohol consumption is low. However sugar consumption is abnormally high. Pubs and night clubs have bars that are rather quiet, although it is not unusual to see people swigging from a hip flask as they leave the toilets !

I don't miss it very much !

Peter