COLUMNIST: The wine industry’s new buzz word is ‘craft’

Hand holding fresh bunch of grapes in the vineyard
Hand holding fresh bunch of grapes in the vineyard

There is a word that you just cannot get away from at the moment, craft..

It adds a certain caché to all manner of drinks, though typically beer and gin. And as well as marking out the item out as special, possibly upmarket and a little different from the rest, it also means it’s likely to add a few pounds on the price.

It seems that any marketing executive can use it in their campaign, which can mislead the consumer about the correct provenance of a particular potation.

So, what is the true definition of the word?

Is it about the person who makes the product – an artisan perhaps?

Or should it be decided by how much the brewery or distiller produces?

Although, if you follow the rule of the Brewers Association (USA), a craft beer brewer can produce up to six million barrels of beer - a huge amount by anyone’s standards.

Some have tried to outline the definition of craft and the most common (relating to beer) is ‘a beer made in a traditional or non-mechanised way by a small brewery’ and there is much agreement that ‘a craft drink should be handcrafted’.

This got me thinking about how this appealing little word could benefit the wine industry.

It might even entice millennials who are mostly absent from the wine world but who are feeding the fire of ‘craft’ revolution in beer and gin.

Whatever is decided, as consumers, we like to believe that a craft product is made by a small, traditional and independent company.

After all wine is inherently a ‘craft’ product – that is, not including sub £5 factory wines.

So, you might ask how you can make sure that you’re buying authentic ‘craft’ wine, and not mass-produced factory plonk...have a read of the label and if it says, ‘produced and bottled on the estate’ or, if it’s from France, ‘mis en bouteille au chateau’.

Then chances are doubled, perhaps even tripled that quality will be higher, production not too big to let standards slip and that the quality is consistent throughout the wine-making process.

It goes without saying that at Le Bon Vin we import from small, independent producers who are passionate about their products and make extra effort to create the best wine that they can.

Come to see us soon

Le Bon Vin can be found at 340 Brightside Lane, Sheffield S9 2SP; telephone 0114 256 0090.