How cheese and wine has shed its stuffy reputation
Like shopping at Waitrose, horse riding or going on skiing holidays, cheese and wine evenings are often seen as reserved exclusively for those who have the money to afford it. But times are changing – more Brits than ever are oenophiles and cheese aficionados, and it’s largely thanks to a handful of forward-thinking companies. In this piece, we’ll look at the innovative brands in question and how exactly cheese and wine has finally lost its stuffy reputation.
Wine app Corkscrew helps supermarket shoppers find the ideal wine
Have you ever fancied a bottle of wine with dinner but been overwhelmed by the seemingly boundless options? Well, thanks to a handy app called Corkscrew, you’ll never have to face this problem again. The app uses a unique algorithm to sift through thousands of wines from most major UK supermarkets, as well as a selection of restaurant chains, to find the bottle that is best suited to a users’ meal. Providing a score based on a combination of critic ratings, the vintage quality, the producer’s pedigree and the individual’s preferences, choosing the perfect wine has never been easier.
Speaking about his motive for creating the app, Corkscrew founder and CEO, Matthew Gertner told The Drinks Business that he wanted to “demystify the selection process and help people feel more confident” with their choice of wine. The app really has made smarter wine drinking accessible to all.
Cheese subscriptions make good cheese more accessible than ever
The UK subscription box market was valued at around £583 million in 2017 and is forecasted to hit the £1 billion mark by 2022, and the cheese industry has wasted no time capitalising on this trend. Like buying wine, many individuals enjoy cheese but have no idea where to start when it comes to choosing new types to try. Walking into a cheese shop can feel somewhat intimidating, meaning many of us habitually stick to what’s most familiar and never try anything new. It’s not easy being cheesy.
Yet, with monthly cheese subscription boxes, it is now simpler than ever for the public to try different types of cheese, with companies sending monthly varieties of cheeses to sample. Take London startup The Cheese Geek, whose cheese subscription boxes provide new options every month, enabling customers to constantly broaden their palate.
There are also many brands specialising in certain types of cheese: Neal’s Yard Dairy specialise in British farmhouse cheese, Vallebona sell artisanal Italian produce and Paxton & Whitfield’s forte is their seasonal artisan cheese. There are even many cheese and wine subscription boxes out there, with brands like French Flavour posting the classic combination to us at our convenience.
First-rate budget bottles are democratising wine
Good wine doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg nowadays. Budget bottles are being increasingly recognised by sommeliers across the world and winning awards left, right and centre. For instance, a £10 bottle of Mastercraft Sauvignon Blanc scooped the top award at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards, securing a platinum medal and an extraordinary 97/100 score. Sold at Morrisons, the white wine was one of only 149 platinum winners out of the 16,903 wines tasted.
Likewise, a red wine sold at Asda for under a fiver won the “single-variety red costing under 15 pounds” category of the same awards in 2016, while two English sparkling wines outperformed some of Champagne’s most renowned names to secure the first and second place in a competition organised by Noble Rot magazine. The success of so-called “plonk wine” proves that good wine is not reserved solely for those with deep pockets and that wine truly is being democratised.
Through wine apps, cheese subscription boxes and the democratisation of quality wine, cheese and wine has finally shed its stuffy reputation and become food and drink that everyone can enjoy.
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