Wine is a big part of what makes up the fabric of our lives, and so it’s an important topic of conversation.
As we grow up, our sense of what’s best for our food, and our expectations about the world around us, will shape what we make for our dinner table, our takeaway from the supermarket and our personal favourite wine.
And it’s a conversation we need to keep having, as we consider how we’ll enjoy our own wines next.
The global wine industry is booming and there’s a new wave of small-scale producers and winemakers making wine in places like South Africa, where the global population is rising by an average of about 10 per cent a year.
And while the US is in the midst of a national celebration of wine, its only growing by the year, with a total of about 4 million hectares now under vineyards.
It’s an opportunity for small producers to make wine in a country that’s often criticised for not producing enough of it.
The US has produced more than a million hectolitres of wine since 2006, but only about half of it is exported.
This year, the US Department of Commerce said it will be sending a total $3.4bn to the US wine industry, which is a record.
The wine industry has struggled to find its footing since the financial crisis, with many small producers struggling to find buyers for their products, or to secure financing.
“The US wine market has a lot of potential, and is still growing, but we need a big shift in the US mindset,” says Daniel Wieden, director of the Wine and Spirits Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
“I think the biggest hurdle right now is the lack of visibility.”
Wiedens research into the US market has found that while there’s been a dramatic increase in the amount of wine sold at US supermarkets since 2011, the quality of the products is falling.
“It’s like trying to grow a vineyard in a desert,” he says.
“You can’t do that.
Wiesen and his team are developing a system for small wineries to grow their own wine and export it, using a system called CSA, which stands for commercial agriculture as a service. “
So, we need an entirely different perspective of what the market needs.”
Wiesen and his team are developing a system for small wineries to grow their own wine and export it, using a system called CSA, which stands for commercial agriculture as a service.
It aims to give small producers the same kind of flexibility that the wine industry enjoys, with the ability to grow the vineyard as they see fit.
“There are all sorts of ways in which you can produce grapes for the consumer, but you don’t have the right to do it for a fee,” Wiesens says.
That’s because the cost of growing grapes is prohibitive.
In the US, wineries must pay a fee to get a licence, which means they must use a certain amount of money to buy the grapes they want.
This is often a lot less than what small winemaking would cost, which can be prohibitive for the small farmer who’s trying to get by.
So Wieses team is developing a solution that allows small winery to pay a set amount of rent for a certain number of years.
The winery then sells the grapes to the consumer for a set price, based on their rent.
And Wiesenes team is looking at ways to make that model work better.
For instance, a winery could offer a wine for a fixed price, which the consumer pays for the same amount of time.
This way, the consumer can buy a wine, and get paid on that date.
The system would then give the winery a discount on the wholesale price for that particular wine, which would make it easier for small growers to get their products into stores and then sell them on the market.
Wine producers like Wieseners are also interested in the idea of making wine from plants that they have grown themselves, instead of buying from big growers that they can’t afford.
“If you can grow your own grapes, you don.
But if you have a company that grows them for you, then you’re not the one that gets to pay for that product,” Wiedes says.
The solution to the problem of the wine producer who can’t grow his own grapes is called a ‘rental model’.
This model is a way of giving the winemaker the freedom to grow his grapes and sell them for a profit.
If a winemaker is going to rent the grapes for a price, they are entitled to rent that price for the next 12 months, which will keep the winemener in business.
“What we’re trying to do here is provide a way for a winemerer to own his grapes, and then get paid to do that work,” Wysens says, pointing to the system that’s already been used by a couple of local wineries.
“When you rent a space for a year, you’re getting paid a certain percentage of that rent.