Going back to basics – Summer 2020 List

Never could we have anticipated that we would be designing and coordinating the updates to the Wine List 2020 via Zoom, WhatsApp, email, and phone call, from all corners of Dublin. It was an interesting and sometimes challenging task.

The new list is more minimal in style and concise in content. We hope you like the new format which will allow us to produce up-to-date lists on a more regular basis.

We have strengthened our selection from France with the addition of three new wineries – Domaine Serol (Cote Roannaise), Claude Riffault (Sancerre), and Gourtorbe Bouillot (Champagne). We also have some exciting new additions from Gramona, Niepoort, Aphros, Pittnauer and BlankBottle including delicious examples of Amphora-aged wines and Pet-Nat. The additions of these new wineries and new wines show our continued emphasis on biodynamic and organic wines.  

There have been quite a few changes within the team in the last few months. In March and April we welcomed on board Sinead and Gareth. Although they have joined us during unprecedented times, we are very excited to be working together. Gareth brings plenty of experience with him to his new role as Business Development and Sales Manager, and Sinead made the move from the restaurant industry to take on a role with us in Customer Support and Communications. 

To the topic that has preoccupied us all year, there has been much discussion and reports on the impact of Covid-19 on how we make, sell, distribute and consume wine.

Covid-19 has accelerated social trends that were already happening in the market, while it has also forced us to critically examine what it is we really want to do and what is viable. We have been through challenging times before and we remain committed to helping restaurants and independent retailers meet the challenges of competition and changing social trends. 

We are seeing a shift in where people buy wine. As restrictions are lifted and we go forward, we anticipate that those on-trade businesses who began selling wine to consumers to enjoy off premise will continue to do so. Those wine retailers who began to offer food are likely to increase their selections. This suggests a blurring of the line that previously separated on-trade and off-trade. The shift to buying online has also emphasised the necessity to have a robust online presence in e-commerce and social media.

In terms of consumers wine habits it is difficult in such a short time frame to properly comment and is likely to vary by demographics. Anecdotally some customers are spending more per bottle, especially those who ate out more frequently. However we also see people spending the same or less per bottle and while some may be consuming wine at home more often, others have maintained or reduced consumption. With less browsing time in stores, recommendations and referrals from trusted sources have become even more important. 

Strong retail sales and growing e-commerce have not compensated for the loss of ontrade sales. While domestically we work to understand the implications for our own businesses, wineries all around the world also face issues; how to protect their staff, manage their vineyards, the harvest as well as winery operations and bottling. Looking to the future, sources suggest that there will be closures of wineries, perhaps resulting in diminished choice and diversity in the wines that make it to market. On a positive note, many of our winemakers have said that with less time devoted to travelling and events, they have had more time in their vineyards and wineries, and perhaps most importantly- more time with their families and friends. 

Team zoom calls every morning during lockdown!

If you would like access to view the digital version of the new list online or if you would like a hard copy please give us a call or email info@winemason.ie. We look forward to working with you and supporting you as we all navigate our way through the next few months.