Baffled by Beaujolias? Confused by Cabernet? Wine can be intimitading for the uninitiated but never fear, here's our rundown of wines that will make a belter of a wine list for any pub.
1. English sparkling wine
Considered by connoisseurs as better than most of the big-brand Champagnes, English sparkling wine is enjoying a boom. Post-Brexit could be its biggest opportunity, suggests Simon Jerrome, purchasing director at Matthew Clark. "Pubs are one of the most British of institutions, so we should put English wine on the map by promoting it in pubs," he says.
2. Fruit Wine
This is the year for "fruit wine" — already worth £66.5m in the off-trade, it's now ready to take the on-trade by storm, says Treasury Wine Estates, which has just launched Blossom Hill Spritz into pubs and bars. Lower in ABV and with a sweeter taste profile, these wines attract younger drinkers just beginning to dabble in the category.
3. Craft wines
There's a new generation of wines that take their cues from the craft beer market, with funky labels and strong brand personalities. Aimed mainly at young men looking for something a bit different, brands to look for include 19 Crimes (Treasury Wine Estates), Box of Budgies (Crown Cellars) or Les Hipsters Barbe (Matthew Clark).
4. Pinot Grigio
The wine connoisseur's bête noir it might be but, whatever your style of outlet, there are certain wines that everyone will expect to see and this is one of them. List it alongside Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc on your white wine selection to cover the basics.
Rosé accounts for 10 per cent of the on-trade wine market, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association. Most pubs will have a nice pink option for sale, and if you don't, then you should be as "blush" as the wine. If you only have space for one then a sweet style, such as a Californian White Zinfandel, should get the spot, but adding a drier style from southern France or Spain will ensure there's something for everyone.
6. French Merlot
Merlot dominates the red end of wines sales, with a 35 per cent share of the market (CGA). France remains the number one supplier to the UK and offers a reliable house wine option. To cover all the popular red bases, add a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Shiraz (possibly Australian for the latter).
7. South African Viognier
Having at least one or two less-well-known grape varietals in your arsenal will appeal to those punters who do know a little more about wine. CGA data suggests that Viognier (a distinctive wine, full of apricots, blossom and honeysuckle notes) is gaining share in the on-trade, making it a good bet.
8. Argentinian Malbec
A big, powerful red that remains popular with drinkers. The trend for this mighty tipple began in the on-trade, via steak restaurants. It makes for a very simple food match where the tannins from the grape skins and oak maturation bond with the protein in the meat to soften it, so that it becomes juicier. In turn, the fat from the steak softens the wine on the palate.
9. Italian sparkling wine
Yes, Prosecco of course! But among the rumours of a global shortage, prices have also risen, so it is worth seeking out an alternative Italian fizz, such as the Chio Spumante Bianco that joined the Molson Coors portfolio last year.
Is the rise of Rioja totally unstoppable? It certainly seems so, but don't restrict yourself to just the oaky reds. There's a plethora of styles now available from the Spanish region, from more fruit-driven modern red wines to white Rioja (Blanco), to pink (Rosado), as well as organic,single-vineyard and even sparkling versions.
- Did you know 33 per cent of wine drinkers have purchased wine from a pub? Find out more here
With thanks to:
CharlotteBramham-Jones, category insight manager, Accolade Wines; Simon Jerrome, purchasing director, Matthew Clark; Shaun Heyes, channel director, Treasury Wine Estates; Louise Boddington, category manager, Crown Cellars; Gary Keller, senior buying manager for wine, Molson Coors; Kate Bedwell, wine brand ambassador, Pernod Ricard