Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Five minutes with Matthew Jukes

Published:  26 January, 2021

When wine critic Matthew Jukes turned to producing non-alcoholic alternatives to pair with Michelin-level food, his Cordialities hit a chord. By Andrew Catchpole

Jukes Cordialities was inspired at a dinner in New York where I was sitting next to the ex-boss of, Sally Singer. I made a glib comment, “what’s your favourite Champagne?”, because I assumed as a fashion person she’d be hoovering down Champagne. But she said: “I just don’t drink during the week.” And I replied that we had something in common, because in the wine business we are increasingly trying to find ways not to drink.

I had a chat with an old friend, Jack Hollihan, an ex-banker, who said he finds it soul destroying when you go for a quick lunch and spend £15 on an awful glass of wine, when you’d happily spend a few quid on something delicious that was non-alcoholic. But there was nothing there.

We did an enormous amount of research and development. It couldn’t be a cheap drink as I wanted it to go into all the Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels – that’s the market that really needs something to go with food. I had to produce something food-friendly that I could explain to a chef, so we buy all our fruits and spices from the same markets the chefs use.

The question was how do you get viscosity and richness on the palate from fruit and veg and create aromas that conjure up the complexities of the finest wines? The answer is an earthy, terroir-driven, root vegetable and peppery, pithy, almost anti-fruit [style], with vital acidity – not a tutti-frutti cordial.

Sommeliers will listen to me because of my wine credentials and when we taste they understand what we are trying to achieve. The biggest hurdle is not the listing, but how to sell it – it’s very much an educational process there, you have to do training.