A Canadian In London

A Local Niagara Wine Chiquita makes her way to the UK.
Chapter 1. By Erika Neudorf

I arrived at Gatwick airport with the sun shining. Off to a good start,” I thought to myself.Sunshine in London... I’ll take it!”

I recently moved to the UK to take a position with a London-based company that specializes in market research and strategy in the wine and spirits industry. Coming from the Niagara region, life has certainly changed for me. I have been in this large, busy city for two months now… and so far so great!
In terms of alcohol culture and sales, things are much different here. It makes me both resent and appreciate the LCBO. Resent, because I can’t buy booze at the corner store; and appreciate, because it is nice to know there is some moderation when it comes to alcohol consumption in Ontario – the operative word being “some”.

The UK is such a saturated market for wine, as it is one of the largest and oldest wine markets in the world. Unlike the LCBO, liquor retailing here is driven by discounts. In fact, most stores that sell alcohol have their own discounting platform, whether it is “buy 3 for the price of 2” or “buy one get one free”. At one particular chain of stores, you have to buy a minimum of 12 bottles – which is totally fine by me! Tesco supermarket (which rivals the LCBO’s buying power) admits that 70% of their wine is sold on promotion. Typically, when in the wine shops, you’ll see signs for “What’s on special” – and that is primarily what consumers base their decision on.

That being said, the UK is full of highly educated wine industry professionals. Even UK wine writer Jancis Robinson’s assistant is a Master of Wine! There isn’t a shortage of wine tastings and events, and I look forward to exploring them all. I will report back soon, but in the meantime…Cheerio.
Oh, and I CAN’T WAIT for Ange’s visit in October!