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COVID 19- What’s next?

COVID 19- What’s next?

For more than two weeks, we have all been locked up in our houses, trembling at the thought that COVID 19 would knock on our door at any moment and will look for its toll. We read news that is full of negativity. In every one of these articles, reports and videos on health and economical topics we spot exact the same sentence. “The pandemic will lead to a deep and unknown economic crisis so far.”

By repeating this sentence, we slowly and surely immerse ourselves in a world of fear controlled by the survival instinct, and forget to analyze the situation, reading the information from articles written after past crises. The information there will be coming from sources that impartially share facts from events that have already happened. That is why, as a passionate wine lover, I decided to do a study of how things went in the wine world over the past recession.

There have been and will always be economic crises. As a rule, every 10 to 15 years there is a recession, a decrease in consumption, which, in addition to the devastating effects on the economy (including the wine industry), has a corrective, purifying, cathartic nature and gives birth to new models of development. Yes, it clears the market from oversaturation, low-quality products, and unnecessary consumption.

How does this affect the wine industry? Here are some of the trends we could see in the coming months and years, and some of us may have already observed:

Picture : Irene Credenets, Unsplash

The wine industry will increasingly focus on the production of wines without maturing in oak barrels.Or at least not new ones. With prices over € 1,000 for a brand new good quality oak barrel, very few producers would be able to buy one for the next few harvests. And what does that mean – a possible boom in terroir wines with all their associated definitions – the expressiveness of varietal character, less human factor, organic and biodynamic wines, or in a nutshell – closer to nature. (https://winesvinesanalytics.com/features/article/64854/Whats-Good-About-The-Recession)

2.Lack of market glut.If certain brands, which are not particularly distinctive, could break through during an economic boom, they would certainly not succeed in a shrinking demand. It will eliminate the quality and so-called craft wines from the mass producers. It should be mentioned here that this will only happen if these manufacturers have already established their sales channels. The prominent players in the market have long-established their trading networks and will only maintain the already paved roads.

Picture : Irene Credenets, Unsplash

  1. Automatically creates a higher value in the lower price segment.Luxury or premium customers will always exist, and many will not be affected at all by the economic crisis. By contrast, middle-class consumers who tend to shop for luxury goods during a boom and bust will limit the amount of shopping and move to at least one level down the ladder. Namely – in the middle price range, where the price/quality ratio is difficult to beat. It will also happen to the average grower who has his own vineyards. Instead of producing bottles that cost more than 30 euros, it will target 10-15 euros, and grapes used for high-end will be used in the middle. Thus the winner will be His Majesty, the ultimate consumer. And this same manufacturer will create a sales channel in this segment that will continue to grow beyond the end of the crisis. During a boom, this is a much slower and more complicated process, requiring more marketing and advertising investment in a more competitive environment. Or, in other words, smaller volumes but less competition.

Picture :  Unsplash

4. Victory over the established trend for insufficient bottle aging of wines. The habit, especially of the Bulgarian consumer, not to wait enough for the vintages with potential for aging, but to finish them young and green, will be limited. Due to the fact that it will reduce purchasing power, certainly a large number of higher class bottles from the last few successful vintages will remain in the cellars. They will be given a chance to reveal their true self. Here again, in the context of Bulgarian wine, the underestimated Bulgarian varieties will be given the opportunity to show their potential and also to a wider audience.

Picture : Jean Luc Benazet, Unsplash

5. The discovery of a fine wine asset as a shelter for the savings. Viewed as commodity indices, the world’s top wines (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Italy, California) prove that during all previous recessions they do not record as sharp declines as stock market, for example. Of course, as with any asset, they decrease in value initially, but over time they return to pre-crisis levels and even surpass them. Therefore, many investors around the world include in their portfolio wine in the form of buying units in indices or physical wines. For a period of 10 years it has been confirmed that the portfolio containing ” fine wines ” has the highest value compared to other investments in stocks and bonds. (https://www.wineinvestment.com/wine-blog/2020/03/market-turmoil-cult-wines-perspective/

Picture : Random Institute, Unsplash

6. Some will still benefit from the diversity of the market. During a recession, the conservative approach to wine selection is usually reinforced – buying what is known without unnecessary risk and adventure. This is not true of the millennial generation or those who like to experiment. They certainly spend more time online and tend to compare prices, search, and take advantage of great deals. Adding to this the fact that many of them spend their day at the computer and work from home, the development of online wine sales will be a real boon for them. On the other hand, many customers with no online shopping habits will rediscover the online space. It will also be reviewed by winemakers, distributors and retailers. This will lead to higher computer education of the employees, development of new advertising and marketing approaches, and from there – bold steps towards the inevitable digitization of the Bulgarian society. And it will certainly close many jobs, but will also allow new jobs to be created. Of course, it will only be for those who want to study and requalify.

Picture : Erik Mclean, Unsplash

7. Return to Mother Earth or in other words to the roots. We will face the closure of hundreds of restaurants, hotels and physical retail outlets. In practice, this means that between 50,000 and up to the worse forecasts, as many as 500,000 people in Bulgaria are at risk of losing their jobs. Bulgarian agriculture has long complained of depopulation of small villages, the outflow of workers from the industry to large cities and the services sector, and the increasing difficulty of finding people willing to work despite rising wages. And if so far this was a chance for retirees to add income to their pensions by doing seasonal work, then many people of working age, faced with the dilemma of survival, would consider returning to work on the farm and in the field. Some would do it for the season, while others may rediscover the coziness of the villages and the proximity to nature for longer. And if wine growers have been struggling to find grape growers so far, it is likely that this year may turn in opposite way.

Picture : Maja Petric, Unsplash

8. Improvement of service in hotels and restaurants and higher level of education. The hotel and restaurant business is inevitably linked to the wine industry and is one of the driving centers of sales. And when, after the long-awaited opening of the sites, some of them are half empty, the level of service will inevitably be increased, and with it the wine culture. The few business customers will be treated as pleasure and honor, not as given. Staff and owners will think about how to impress them to spend more, and to come back. The people who remain will accept their job not only as a job, but as a profession in which wine knowledge is of the utmost importance.

Picture : Jay Wennington, Unsplash

9. Return of Bulgarians from abroad and partial increase of consumption. A considerable number of Bulgarians have already returned from abroad, facing greater risk of facing the virus in countries such as Italy and Spain. Many more may return in the coming months and years. This may increase the unemployment rate, but it will also increase the consumption in the country, albeit to a minimum. And although overall consumption will decline, things can turn pink to some extent thanks to this wave. Will this affect the consumption of wine? At a time when alcohol is recommended as a safeguard – why not. When it comes to alcohol, Bulgarians are capable of miracles.

The trends described above, and some of them that are my own thoughts, may not happen, or at least not exactly in their form, but one thing is for sure. The perfect storm is here and will change the whole world and together with it the wine industry. It is up to us to look positively at what is happening and to be flexible and adaptable in the times ahead. Let us look back and learn from history from time to time so that we do not make the same mistakes as before. Let’s build a new wine world together!

Picture : Allie Smith, Unsplash

Picture : Jereny Bishop, Unsplash

Author

Pavlin Ivanov

Does our mood influence our choice of wine?

Does our mood influence our choice of wine?

Wine is a magical liquid, evoking many feelings and emotions, awakening old memories and opening doors to new worlds. Many people would ask me: “What is your favourite wine? Which is your favourite grape variety? “I personally always say that I do not have one and I make my choice depending on my mood right before I buy or open any wine bottle. And I really follow my feelings, my intuition when I make that decision.

Seasonality and time outdoors at this point are essential factors for the overall mood. If it is sunny, green, summer or springtime, everything whispers in your ear – white wine, fresh, fruity, elegant, aromatic, mineral, floral. Your mind subconsciously records the pictures of green fields with soft flowers, the smell of spring and wants to keep them there safe for long. A sun that scents the waters of a mountain stream and leaves a feeling of radiant heat and lightly penetrates every drop. Or this playful, sparkling wine that gives us a sense of ease – the ease with which we do everything during the warm seasons.

Winter, cold, chilly days, darkness. That creates a sense of lack of warmth, a desire to snuggle by the fireplace, and taste a robust, luscious, rich in flavors, concentrated red wine that will shelter and warm your soul as the fire and leave inside your intense love, burning and reminiscent of this experience. And what is the common between Japanese tea ceremonies and the drinking of red wine? Following the concept of seasonality, according to the Japanese tradition, the most suitable time for a tea ceremony is winter, when it is cold, dark, freezing winds blow outside, and inside the home there is an atmosphere of warmth, light, tranquility, silence, connection with the divine or real Zen for the soul. A glass of red wine can bring into being the same experience – elevation, mystery, mysticism, contemplations.

Wine as a memory of a pleasant moment of life. Beautiful memories leave pleasant feelings in the heart, and often this happens accidentally or not, in the company of the magic drink. Years later we sit in the restaurant and on the wine list we would meet the same old acquaintance with whom we shared dinner with our beloved person, a family holiday or that fabulous summer vacation. It could look at us from the store shelf and ask us to turn it back to a part of the moment. One of the secrets why many people go back to the same wines – to get back to their favourite part of themselves, which they may forget in their hectic daily lives.

Wine is also a symbol of exploring the unknown, adventure, a new beginning, a gateway to a new world. We all have had that thrill in ourselves, the desire to try something new and unrevealed, to experiment, to experience an unknown feeling. And then we tend to open that bottle of orange wine, try the region we did not even remember the name of. And that grape variety – the one almost extinct, the last plant of it, rescued and grown at home. And here wine is a journey – a journey that teleports you to the winemaker’s passion, love, and tireless work. The same one who does believe that his desire to make wine that expresses the sense of his terroir and the attachment to his land, will connect him with the one who would appreciate and understand it. In this sense, wine is a search for perfection, which makes us rediscover an unfamiliar part of ourselves. And the more we try, the more we find.

Should we listen to our mood and feelings before choosing the next bottle of wine? In my opinion – let’s stop, take a deep breath, close our eyes and listen to the voice of our hearts. This voice that leads us to the truth – to make choices that bring us true happiness.

The wine – poetry, and life in a glass…

The wine – poetry, and life in a glass…

Wine is this lively and enigmatic magic that unlocks doors to new and unknown worlds. This potion, from the moment it is poured into the glass, conceals mysteriousness and mystery. Manages to untie the tongue, enlightens the soul, unites, shortens distances. This magical beverage contains in itself authenticity, history, eternity, a balance between lusciousness and maturity, and many more undisclosed secrets.

Moderation and balance are not only the basic ideas involved in the production of the liquid wine itself but also the guides to the way we should enjoy it – in moderate quantities, in the company of favorite food and people. It is then that this drink reveals its true nature, brings pleasure and benefits to our health. The army of antioxidants in red wine fights actively against enemies of our body – cardiovascular diseases, type-2 diabetes, reduces the risk of death and even prolongs life expectancy. Tannin, one of the main chemical components of red wine, causes that cholesterol does not build up on the walls of the blood vessels and promotes longevity. But as with anything else in life, too high consumption damages us and our health. Hangover, headache, lack of energy are just a few of the consequences of overuse.

Like many other things in life that can be recognized by color, the color, and tannin of red wine are indicators of its potential for aging and reaching its aristocratic maturity. A Young wine, as youth is filled with energy, has a high concentration of tannin, sparkling and purifying blood, and mature wine loses its vigor but complements the enjoyment of sipping with new nuances, stories, mysteries.

An old Bulgarian proverb says that ” wolf can change its skin, but never its temper.” Wine can be made of white and red grapes. Interestingly, white wine can also be made from red grapes. It is achieved by a skillful and precise pressing of the fruit. In this case, wine is given the opportunity to express its femininity, sophistication, grace, but not without the intervention of refining of the winemaker.

Diversity and changeability are leading factors in human life, but also evidence that wine can be treated as a human being. Ten thousand are the world’s wine grape varieties, and the combinations of these are millions. Four hundred are the oak varieties used to make barrels that mature wine. The origin of the oak determines different flavors in the aged wine.

If the wine is a living matter, then the glass for it is like the cloth for the human. Cloth fits only one human body in itself, and one glass contains as much liquid as the amount of juice from one cluster of grapes. The same way dressing highlights the beautiful shapes of the body, and the shape of the glass – the different characteristics of each type of wine. The glass spills up every little drop to different parts of the tongue and nose that are responsible for a variety of flavours. It is done in a way that no part of this romance has been missed.

Very often the world’s poorest and behind-the-scenes regions give birth to the greatest talents, and creative people with strong characters, who are then emerging in the cosmopolitan capital cities of the world. In the world of grapes, the poorest and inferior soils give life to the best quality and finest wines, as if to prove that the thirst for beauty and the inner strength of character are invincible and always overcome any obstacles.

The parallels in the human world and that of the wine extend to infinity. Where does the border end between them? This question can only be answered by us, giving freedom to our curiosity and looking for naturalness in each of our meetings with wine. Our romance with the magical liquid can begin here and now and at all times and continue, echoing in eternity.

Author Pavlin Ivanov