Writing for Wine News in “The Decanter” Chris Mercer reports that: “From planet ‘Sauternes’ to those cute ‘terroir’ dogs, a new survey in the UK suggests Britons have room for improvement in their wine knowledge – but many say they are keen to learn. Wine experts have grappled with a definition of ‘terroir’ for decades, but more than one in four Britons surveyed thought that it referred to a small breed of dog, according to results published this week.”
The correct definition of terroir is, the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as soil, topography, and climate. Chris Mercer further reports that; “While 34% did correctly connect ‘terroir’ to wine, another 30% of respondents believed it was a type of French horror film.” Their answers were part of a survey of 2,000 people commissioned by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) ahead of its upcoming Wine Education Week, which runs globally from September 9th to the 15th.
Perhaps my favorite detail of the survey was that there was also confusion about Bordeaux’s premier sweet wines. Mercer writes that: “Seven percent of people said that Sauternes was a planet, while one in five thought it was a beach resort and 29% argued that it was a type of orange.” And he goes on to observe that: “When it comes to spotting a corked wine, 37% of people thought it meant broken pieces of cork in the bottle and 7% thought it was a term for being drunk.” However, 51% of people said they wanted to learn more about wine, reflecting a separate survey recently that saw wine beat beer, cider and spirits as the UK’s favorite drink. When it comes to food, 28% of those surveyed said they had successfully paired specific wines with certain dishes. However, 55% said that they wouldn’t know where to start with wine and food pairing. And 17% of respondents said that they had been ‘traumatized by snooty wine waiters’, said WSET. The top reason for choosing a wine was “I had drunk it before and loved it,” with 34% choosing this description — closely followed by 33% admitting they choose a wine based on an “attractive label.”
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