Californian vineyard unleashes two new wines on the UK market
I’ve been drinking wine for over 20 years now. I was born in one of New Zealand’s foremost white wine regions. I have a case delivered to my door every month. Above all, I am a food and drinks writer. Yet can I pick a wine? Can I heck. Most people have a mental order they run through. The country and the grape, and Old World versus New World. Some just ask the sommelier.
However for those of us of a visual inclination look at the label. I am not alone in this. According to a survey run by M&S a few years back, almost half of all women pick their wine based on how ‘engaging’ the label is. Given that women by 80% of the wine consumed at home in the UK, that’s an important fact. This appears to be a trend that’s on the up. In a recent survey in the US, over 82% of a survey of 2000 people asked to pick their preferred wine from a selection of six decided by … the appearance of the label. Over 60% of the respondents went for the perceived price, or in other words, the ones that looked the most expensive. That’s right, the label.
Which brings me to Barefoot Wine. Californian in origin (1965), Barefoot’s branding is all about the sun, sea and surf. Oh and a bare foot, which symbolises the beach lifestyle, and of course the tradition of stamping grapes.
So the labels look fun, very Californian, and to my mind, inexpensive. They have two new drops on the market. A Chardonnay that is full of peach and vanilla flavours and very drinkable. My wife aka the Northerner doesn’t do white wine as a rule, but she liked this one. They also have a Malbec, which happens to be one of our favourite grape. Barefoot’s is full of big fruity flavours, with a backdrop of caramel and toasted okay. It pulls off the neat trick of being a big red that is deceptively light. It’s very drinkable which I guess is the point. In terms of price and availability they hover around the tenner mark, and can be found at all leading supermarkets, and some pubs and restaurants.
Now I will declare my hand and say that I was meant to write this last week. I had the draft in hand, had (nearly) finished the tastings and written my usual lame jokes, ready to push the button for Friday morning. Barefoot had worked with The Cocktail Trading Co. to develop a couple of cocktails for the London Pride weekend. Which of course has been and gone.
Unfortunately, my and many others in the City, end of week was turned over on Thursday night after Sunderland’s referendum result was declared. Five hours later I was catching the early train in to my day job, as Brexit took much of the shine off the day of pretty much everyone who works in Financial Services.
But I took away two positives from the experience. First, I was able to spend nearly all of Thursday night finishing the sample bottles of Barefoot I had been sent. And second as a Californian wine, Barefoot is more than able to fill in Brexit induced wine shortages. Just make sure you don’t get too hung up on the labels.