Drinks producers have admitted that their ‘essential market visits’ are mostly about eating out on expenses and visiting half-decent shops.
‘In this day and age there’s no particular reason for me to burn carbon travelling the world just so I can taste through our latest launch with five bloggers,’ said Chilean producer Gat O’Negro. ‘But let’s face it everyone likes a lunch on expenses. Particularly me.
‘And to be honest I’m bored of both the restaurants at home.’
Rose-Anne Segla of Chateau Croquet-Mallet told Fake Booze that her annual visits to the UK were an essential part of her calendar.
‘We visit every autumn,’ she said. ‘Partly to catch up with key fine wine retailers and sommeliers.
‘But mostly so my husband can buy his tweed suits from Brexit & Stodge on St James’.’
Her accountants, she said, were happy to write the clothing off as ‘client entertaining’ in exchange for six bottles of their second wine at Christmas.
Cases 4 me
Investigative journalist Doug Buyless said the whole system was a total scam.
‘I don’t see why I should give up four hours of my time to be presented with something that is made from the same grapes in the same place in the same way as last year,’ he told Fake Booze.
‘Surely it would be far more eco-friendly if these people just stayed at home and sent me a case to try along with a vintage report that I can delete without opening.’
However wine producer Massimo Porco disagreed.
‘It’s incredibly important to expose oneself to other cultures and understand the needs of their particular markets,’ he told Fake Booze.
‘And the best way of doing that is visits to luxury designer shops and Michelin-starred restaurants.’
Zoom meetings and phone calls, he said, were no substitute for actually visiting in person because ‘it’s always best to try on a jacket first, and Deliveroo orders get cold.’
‘I always find that the end of November is a good time to visit San Francisco,’ said German gin producer, Juni Perbusch. ‘We only sell about six bottles a year there, but the Apple store always has a kick-ass Black Friday programme.’
However, changes in his business strategy meant he would no longer be visiting London.
‘It’s still a huge market for us,’ he said, ‘but most of the shops have closed down, so I might as well stay in Munich.
‘And frankly the sales take care of themselves – just like they do in every market.’
Click here to learn how the drinks trade are demanding appearance fees to turn up to tastings