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Label launched for Londoners who "can't tell their chardonnay from their sangiovese"

Published:  16 June, 2016

A forward-thinking wine label has been launched to dispel the "myth" that those who don't know about wine can't have good taste.

Launched three months ago, Garmence Wine Studio is offering a capsule collection and seasonal blends aimed specifically at London's 1.6 million regular wine drinkers who can recognise good wine, but become lost in choosing the right grape varietal for them.

Founder Charlotte Calvet is targeting Londoners who understand what they like in terms of taste, but "can't tell their chardonnay from their sangiovese".

All of the wines in the range are blends made from vineyards within distinct regions - currently in France, Spain and Italy - and are based around a philosophy of "fewer and better wines" for modern wine drinkers.

Calvet said: "I'm sick of people saying, 'if a customer doesn't know anything about wine, then you can give them terrible wine and they'll thank you for it'. Consumers don't want to be cheated. I wanted to offer very specific high level wines but with more simplicity and less of the snootiness."

Calvet, who was born into a long line of traditional Bordeaux winemakers and negociants, was inspired to take a different approach by her father, who began to source wines from outside the traditional French appellations.

"He foresaw a lot of things that are happening now, such as climate change and the pesticide crisis and was able to adapt. The negociant tradition of buying up chateaux is disappearing. Twenty years ago he started sourcing from other vineyards in Europe, like Rhone, Tuscany and Rioja which opened up a lot of opportunities to make friends and produce blends. At the time, everyone said 'you're mad'. I'm not trying to be a daddy's girl, but he really was ahead of his time."

This flexibility, Calvet says, allowed her father to respond to the changing challenges of the trade - and this is something she has incorporated into her new venture.

"If there's no wine in the Languedoc, then we aren't tied to it. It's about being able to adapt for our clients so that they're never stuck with wine from one place. We take 2% from there, 4% from there. We have some amazing contacts that have really got behind this project."

With wine consumption declining across most markets, value is increasing in the UK as consumers trade up on quality.

Calvet says this shift has had a fundamental effect on her business model.

She added: "There are different generations of wine drinkers. For 25 to 34 year-olds, they are drinking less but better. They feel cheated by the promotions on the supermarket shelves which we all know are rubbish. They want to find a story and something they can trust. They're so tuned in - you can't trump them. I think this is something the trade didn't understand soon enough."

Garmence Wine Studio is currently available online.