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Two Good, 2 Bad for 2013, 2 Hopes and Fears for 2014: Mike Paul

Published:  01 January, 2014

Wine consultant, Mike Paul, looks back on his good and bad memories in 2013, whilst seeing in the new year by looking ahead to his hopes and fears for 2014. 


2 Good 

1 Well, I bit the bullet and started a blog ( at ).There is no question that it is highly self indulgent but it does force one to stand back from the day to day and structure one's thoughts and I have found that a very good discipline.

2 On another self indulgent note I cycled through Burgundy with some friends from outside the trade. We paused at the Romanee Conti vineyard. Given the value of the land they were astonished at the complete absence of security coupled with the complete lack of pretension. That evening we attempted to have dinner in the villages of Pommard or Volnay. Nothing was open. Burgundy continues to inspire and frustrate in equal measure...encapsulating for me in fact the wine industry as a whole.

2 Bad 

1 While we have avoided the perils of minimum pricing we don't seem to be any further forward in terms of getting politicians of any party to think laterally about dealing with the issues surrounding alcohol. I don't pretend this is easy but the stats apparently moving in the right direction should surely give pause for thought.

2 There has been a substantial amount of innovation in the alcohol category this year but virtually all of it has been outside the wine sector and, importantly, some of it has been taking share from wine. This continues a very worrying trend.




That English wine producers have a cracking harvest in terms of quality and quantity...they deserve it.

2 That we find a way to revitalise the Fair Trade wine sector, it seems to have lost momentum. We need more inspirational branding. Too much FT wine is being marketed to the converted and that's not a broad enough sector..



1 We desperately need more inspirational marketing in the wine sector. And this requires us to increase our skill set. The challenge is how to do so cost effectively. I would like to see a series of workshops established to encourage in-house training and development.

2 There is a major opportunity for someone to crack the alternative packaging conundrum. How do we get consumers to be accepting of alternatives to glass. I'd put my money on PET but we don't seem to be making much headway. Is this perhaps down to a lack of real interest from the supermarkets ( the source of most of our innovation ) rather than simply a lack of inspirational brands? What we need is the equivalent of Tesco's campaign endorsing screwcaps.