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Customers "lapping up" fresh Spanish whites with New World influences

Published:  10 June, 2016

Members club the Wine Society is seeing strong demand for Spanish wines thanks to a revolution in winemaking pushed by a new generation of vine aficionados.

Pierre Mansour, buying manager for Spain, Champagne and Lebanon, reported seeing sales of Spanish wine almost tripple in the past five years.

"Ten years ago it was difficult to persuade customers to buy wine from anywhere other than Rioja. But now they love Garnacha from Navarra and all types of places. Other areas don't have generic brands like Rioja have but they do make good quality wine which is value for money and has character."

Mansour pegs this a rise on a younger generation of winemakers which are tightening up oxisdation processes and creating fresher wines.

"Customers are lapping up white wine from Spain because of this," Mansour added. "Good old-fashioned Rioja was made in a way that didn't take huge steps to prevent oxidization, so a lot tasted past their best. A lot of the newer generation has worked in the New World where they have learned to protect against this."

He added: "I came back from Spain about eight years ago and I was blown away by the wines out there. I said to someone at the time, 'I think we should do a Spain category' and they said 'are you mad?'"

Part of this new shift, says Mansour, is also down to the adaptable attitude of the winemakers and a philosophy which is not afraid of trial and error.

"The winemakers really care about what consumers want. If someone tries something new and they say 'that's not for me' then they will go back and take a different approach. They put customers first without it being part of a marketing ploy," he said.

The Wine Society currently sells between 30 to 40 white wines in a year compared to a decade ago when they sold a "handful".

The Wine Society sources wine from around the world for its members, who are also its shareholders.