How and why is the global wine scene in a bit of a state?

Why is wine threatened by weight-loss drugs and smartphones?

Does drinking high quality wine make you happier – and does light drinking increase longevity?

This is our periodic programme where we catch up on the more intriguing wine news, pondering everything from weighty matters (as above) but also touching on lighter-hearted fare.

Such as an Italian restaurant offering diners free wine in exchange for locking away their phones, an airport planning to build a vineyard on its roof, and whether cling film removes cork taint…

We also play our very fun ‘Guess the Word in the Wine Headline’ game (sommeliers, divorce and Merlot in the bath feature this time round).

Plus, we recap on all the reaction and headlines following our Light Strike pod.

And we hear your views and questions, which lead us to talk about Ukraine, a potential Wine Blast cookbook, orange wine and the SWEATS (not what you think – but still scandalous).

Photo from Lorena Gutierrez, as featured in the episode


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Light Strike Coverage

Our episode on light strike (Feb 2024) created quite the stir, leading to international headlines and widespread coverage. Thanks to everyone who got in touch with questions and feedback (some of which we feature in this episode). This is an issue the wine world needs to sort out so we will keep banging the drum!

Get in Touch!

We asked you a couple of questions in this episode and would love to hear your views!

For example – what wine would you pair with which household activity? The odder the better…

What quirky wine slang do you use in your household, and what does it mean?

Which New Zealand wine region and style is your favourite?

You can send us an email. Or find us on social media (links on the footer below).

Or, better still, leave us a voice message via the magic of SpeakPipe, and we may feature you in the pod:


This transcript was AI generated. It’s not perfect.

Susie: Hello, you’re listening to Wine Blast, welcome to this latest edition of our news and views show, where we do a swift recap on the most intriguing recent wine news. And we hear from you lovely people answering your questions and airing your feedback.

Peter: Indeed, don’t forget our Guess the missing word in the Wine Headline item. You know, world famous these days and a firm favourite in the schedule.

Susie: I think it might be famous in our little world…

Peter: Maybe that’s what it is, just our world. But anyway, I think there’s something in there that makes us laugh. So, you know, we’re gonna stick with it. There’s some sort of value. We’re doing it!

Susie: We can’t promise a repeat of the dutch nuns from last time, but I guarantee we’ve got treats in store…

Peter: Absolutely. You know, I can trail the fact we’re gonna be touching on everything from marriage and divorce to weight loss drugs, a, vineyard on an airport roof, and whether cling film removes cork taint.

Susie: Don’t forget light strike, too. This fascinating and troubling topic we covered recently and which caused quite a stir, didn’t it? Making international headlines and resulting in a much wider discussion. So we’ll be recapping on that. We’ll also be touching on Tuesday night wines. SWEATS. We’ll explain later. It’s not what you think it is. Ukraine and Merlot in the bath…

Peter: Merlot in the bath. I think that’s probably what I need for my chest.

Susie: You probably do.

Peter: I just apologise for my voice, though. There’s been lots going on. But I think the solution is Merlot in the bath. There we go. Let’s get.

Susie: Let’s do it.

Peter: Meantime, we need to be. We need to be cracking on. And we’re going to start on a sobering note, are we? I’m afraid, yes. Sorry. And that’s the.

Susie: Get it over with.

Peter: That the global wine scene is in a bit of a state. Yeah.

Susie: So we’re referring to the recent release of the OIV’s state of the world vine and wine sector in 2023. The annual report by this intergovernmental body, which collects data from 50 member states representing 87% of world wine production and 71% of world wine consumption. And its pronouncements were eye opening.

Peter: They were, you know, to summarise, in 2023, global wine production hit a 60 year low at 247 million hectolitres. Global wine consumption dropped 2.6% from the already low 2022. Level to reach the lowest level since 1996.

Susie: Wow, that’s. That’s a long time, isn’t it?

Peter: Yeah, 28 years. and the world’s vineyard continued its long term decline, shrinking 0.5% from 2022 levels to reach 7.2 million. Ha.

Susie: Hard to see many bright spots in there, isn’t it? The OIV did gamely try, as reported on the BBC saying at least declining consumption was matching declining production. So the Winelake wasn’t swelling as a result and prices weren’t falling through the floor. But I don’t think that’s going to give much comfort to the multitude of wine growers around the world, is it?

Peter: Absolutely not. I think sparkling wine was a slight sort of buck in the trend, wasn’t it? Going up very slightly by value, but not much. The elephant in the room, of course, is climate change. wine production is being hit by extreme weather events, and 2023 is a prime example. We’re talking rot, floods and hail in Italy. severe drought and heat in Spain. Rain deluges in Gris. wildfires and flooding in Chile. Spring frosts and hailstorms in Argentina. Mildew in South Africa, and unusually cold, rainy conditions in Australia.

Susie: Crikey. Now, in terms of declining consumption, which is equivalent to 800 million fewer bottles than in 2022, the OIV points to several things. firstly, China’s significant drop off in wine drinking since 2018 to less than half what it was. Also the lingering after effects of lockdown, not to mention geopolitical tensions and energy crises. I suppose you could actually add in the trend in younger generations to moderate or even eliminate their alcohol consumption.

Peter: Absolutely. but one other thing is key, and that is cost. the price of wine has been going up. It’s linked to inflation and things like disruptions in the global supply chain and hikes in the cost of supplies like bottles, boxes and cords, everything. and this at a time when consumer purchasing power is at a crashing low due to the cost of living crisis, also fueled by inflation and uncertainty.

Susie: Yeah. So the figures don’t look rosy, do they? But it’s not all doom and gloom. We have to say this, you know, wine producers worldwide are working on tackling climate change, and this has the potential to be a big USP for wine in years to come if the producers and trade work on reducing impact and maximising the potential of vineyards, for example, to draw down carbon and become, you know, become the beacons of sustainability.

Peter: Yeah, yeah. in terms of the declining vineyard production and consumption, it’s not necessarily all bad. Much of this vineyard, it could well be argued, is an anachronism from days when your average person drank 60 plus litres per capita annually, loads of wine, most of it planck, particularly in classic producing nations like France, Spain, Italy, we’d have you sit down for your lunch and have two litres of van ordinaire or whatever it was. These days, consumption habits have changed.

Susie: It’s different. It’s very different.

Peter: People tend to drink less, but more discerningly when they do. So. Wine, I think, is overdue a structural shift to producing less, better and more sustainably all round.

Susie: Yeah, I’m probably a bit less red and more white, rosy and sparkling, as we covered in our wine of the year episode. so, yeah, easy to get downhearted by figures like these, but I think best to take them with a pinch of salt and try to see the bigger picture. You know, wine is not going anywhere. But equally, there is a necessary evolution, as you were saying, which is going to entail a lot of hard work and some creativity too.

Peter: Yeah. that said, we’ve picked up, on a couple of similarly challenging headlines, I think getting the bad news out of the way first. I think that’s our approach here.

Susie: There is some good coming.

Peter: There is some good coming. One from Meiningers suggesting, so called miracle weight loss drugs could hit wine consumption. these drugs, like ozempic and wigovi, I’m not sure if I’m pronouncing those right.

Susie: No idea.

Peter: Have been featured a lot in the press lately and are intended for type two diabetes, but can also result in dramatic weight loss. apparently, though, they not only suppress appetite, but also the desire to drink alcohol, given their popularity. This is concerning alcohol and wine producers.

Susie: Yeah, I mean, apparently research has shown that people taking these weight loss drugs consumed 62% less alcohol and more than one in five had stopped drinking altogether. And people taking these drugs often represent a wine drinking demographic. That said, I mean, it remains to be seen how long the popularity of these drugs will last. And apparently two thirds of people who go on them come off within a year due to the side effects, which, of course, include not fancying a glass of wine.

Peter: That’s not right.

Susie: It’s no good at all, is it?

Peter: But, you know, I suppose if you think about it, given how much of an issue obesity is, and I guess how profitable this kind of drug could be in the future, it’s definitely concerning for wine. also concerning is the headline, the smartphone’s role in wine’s decline. this from wine searcher asking whether the hedonistic alcohol fueled antics of youth are being lost for fear of being caught on smartphone camera and publicly shamed. it also ponders whether spiking rates of anxiety, depression, general mental health challenges, often anecdotally linked to smartphone use, discourages alcohol consumption, too.

Susie: Yeah, and there’s also apparently a big rise in cannabis use and related things like CBD or THC infused products, especially in the US, among the younger demographics. and if you add into the mix the neo prohibition movement, with the World Health Organisation now putting out increasingly aggressive anti alcohol messaging, wine has got its work cut out.

Peter: It does, it does, but it’s not, you know, it’s not insurmountable, is it? You know, wine does have to win hearts and minds and fight for its share of throat, but it does things other drinks struggle to do, you know, like pair so seamlessly with food and convey a sense of time and place and in moderation, probably contributing to a healthy microbiome and lifestyle.

Susie: I mean, we should add a disclaimer here that we’re not doctors. Obviously, this is just our opinion.

Peter: Yeah, but it’s. You know, we did have Professor Tim Spector on the podcast, saying the same thing, and we do. We’re gonna be doing another episode in this soon. There is a body of opinion that backs this up. It’s our firm view from reading very widely as confirmed, non doctors.

Susie: And maybe, maybe things could be helped. I’m gonna move on to a brilliant initiative, ah, we read about recently, whereby an italian restaurant is offering diners a free bottle of wine in exchange for locking their phones away. Now, this is Al condominio in Verona, where if you choose to lock your phone in a box while you eat, in exchange, you receive a bottle of wine.

Peter: Leila said, customers can choose to renounce technology while enjoying a convivial moment together. Technology is becoming a problem. there’s no need to look at your phone every 5 seconds, but for many people, it’s like a drug. this way they have an opportunity to put it aside and drink some good wine. it’s a beautiful thing to see. And apparently 90% of diners take up the offer.

Susie: I bet they do. I imagine the publicity hasn’t harmed either. So it’s a very smart initiative.

Peter: Either way, instigate a similar policy in our household. I’m just thinking about it, where guests have to give up their phones. Mind you, it wouldn’t work with the kids with it. If we get the kids to give up, give them a bottle of wine.

Susie: We get in your something soft.

Peter: We’re gonna not do that. We get in trouble. Anyway, let’s turn to another positive headline, which is drinking high quality wine does make you feel happier.

Susie: It’s official.

Peter: It’s official. This from the drinks business referring to an italian study focusing on whether, expectations about product quality, in this case good wine, would impact the pleasantness of an experience. And it did.

Susie: Yeah. Maybe not so surprising to find that out, but, apparently wearable sensors and questionnaires showed, according to study author doctor Lucia Belleci, that wine undoubtedly generates a significant emotional response to consumers, which is, and she said, multifaceted and attributable to the quality level of the wine tasted.

Peter: You say it’s not surprising, but, you know, one of the things we’re always banging on about is that it’s easy to quantify the bad news, like the harm alcohol does, the cost of hospital admissions or police time, whatever. But what’s not so easy is quantifying the joy and the pleasure that wine can bring. so you could never cite that in response. And I like this study because it kind of sets out to address that side of things.

Susie: Yeah, yeah. So if you’re a scientist and listening, please, you know, help us move this on and quantify joy, partially the joy wine can bring.

Peter: Yeah, we’ll offer to be guinea pigs, we will, in this experiment.

Susie: Of course we will.

Peter: but, you know, we certainly would attest, you know, anecdotally to the positive effects of this joy and pleasure. And, wine needs all the help it can get right now.

Susie: It does indeed. On which note, another positive headline. Here we go. Light drinking reduces stress and thus increases longevity. Now this from the Guardian. A US study showed that light to moderate drinking reduced brain stress signalling in the amygdala, with attendant positive impacts on the cardiovascular system.

Peter: So apparently, when the amygdala is on high alert, so too is the nervous system, which increases blood pressure and heart rate and triggers the release of inflammatory cells. If the stress is chronic, you know, long, term, then it raises the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Susie: And the study found that within the 50,000 patient sample, light to moderate drinking was associated with nearly double the cardioprotective effects in individuals with a history of anxiety, sort of compared to the others.

Peter: That’s what I call news.

Susie: We like that.

Peter: Though they were, of course, very keen to add. This shouldn’t mean we ignore the other potential dangers of alcohol, of course, like potentially higher risk of cancer and the well documented risks of heavier drinking as well.

Susie: Safety never takes a day off. Right, we’re coming to the end of our news segment, but just a few, few more things before we finish up, including the outstanding news that a new terminal at Florence airport is going to have a vineyard on its roof, which will make your arrival so much more stylish and fun.

Peter: Yeah. Now, these visionary plans have been drawn up by Rafael Vignoli architects to install a 7.7 hectare vineyard, which will be made into wine on the airport premises on, the roof, bringing a new meaning to the phrase flying winemaker. Once completed in 2026 the terminal is scheduled to accommodate nearly 6 million pastures annually, which makes for a very ready market.

Susie: Now, this might seem like a slightly outlandish idea, but what’s behind it all is intriguing. The owners of Florence airport are, Corporation America, a, conglomerate that spans airports, energy and infrastructure, and also agribusiness. Now, its president is argentine Armenian Eduardo Eurnekian who also owns two wineries, Bodega del Fin del Mundo in Patagonia and Karas in Armenia, both run by his daughter Juliana, who we had on the pod not too long ago.

Peter: The Armenia episode, indeed. There you go. You know, this pod helps deliver you vineyards on airport roofs, among many other things. I’m not sure that we can quite tie those things together, can we? Anyway, anyway, we’ll take it. And this podcast also brings you news about cling film. This is true. This is the headline from the real review, which asks, does cling film remove cork tail? What do you think?

Susie: I’m sceptical, I have to say. Now, I’ve always been a big believer in the value of cling film. It, can do so many useful things. But, a, I’m determined, like a lot of people, to avoid using it and go for more sustainable, reusable options these days, you know, as you do. And b, I really don’t see how it can remove cork taint.

Peter: Are we really discussing cling film on wine Blast

Susie: Yeah, we might be.

Peter: We are, aren’t we? Oh, yeah, here we are. yeah, apparently, according to science, this headline is not a million miles off. Polyethylene, or pe, which is often inkling film can adsorb TCA, which is the noxious smelling product of cocktails, onto the membrane surface through hydrophobic interactions. Yes, I didn’t understand that. in other words, TCA has more affinity for polyethylene than water or wine. So if you stick it in the mixture, it will stick to the surface of the polyethylene and you can actually then take it out.

Susie: It does sound quite amazing. Are we talking just regular supermarket cling film?

Peter: Yeah. Sadly, it’s not quite that simple, is it? Of course, it was never going to be, because you need food grade 100% pure polyethylene to do this. And cling film most certainly is not that. it’s generally made up of various polymers, which is, of course, disappointing. But imagine having some food grade 100% pure polyethylene in your bag to whip out and cure that tragically cool bottle. As many of us will know that feeling. Imagine you could add to something, whip it in and say, aha.

Susie: aha. There we go. I do quite like that idea. It’s a bit weird, though.

Peter: Far fetched.

Susie: I’m going to move on to what’s also weird, but still slightly dovetail there. But slightly wonderful is our, ah, guess the missing word in the headline gain. I couldn’t quite wait to get onto this. So, to wrap up our new segment, I’m going to say, sommelier WHAT tapes guaranteed to WHAT So that’s my headline. Sommelier what tapes guaranteed to what?

Peter: Okay, my mind’s going in all sorts of directions. This one, but I’m gonna go with the one that I can’t help not saying. And that’s, sommelier sex tapes guaranteed to pop your cork.

Susie: Oh, if only it was. Anything else? You got anything else?

Peter: That’s all I’ve got, really. I can’t get both of that. What about something like, sommelier meditation? tapes guaranteed to help you wine down.

Susie: Oh, how bad? That’s. I mean, it’s a nice try, and it’s actually probably a lot better than what it actually is, because it’s actually sommelier sleep tapes guaranteed to lull you to sleep.

Susie: There we go. Wow. So, anyway, this is a slightly hilarious initiative from Djuce Still can’t quite work out if it’s an April fool, to be honest, but we’ll go with it. so this is where a gravel voiced sommelier drones on about Tuscany. Now, normally, you’d obviously have to fight with the every fibre of your being to stay awake and look polite and interested, but the whole point of this is it’s actually designed to help you fall asleep. So juice co founder David Vorsky said, if people can fall asleep and maybe even dream about Brunello di Montalcino, I think we’ve succeeded.

Peter: That’s so funny. Brunello dreams.

Susie: I’m very happy with Brunello dreams. I’m not sure about a sommelier sleep tape? Brunello dreams are good.

Peter: Yes, you probably want the Brunello there, not necessarily the sommelier there in your dreams. Anyway, we’ll be sure to put a link to that on the site because you can find this on YouTube and it’s surprisingly effective. Anyway, this podcast is probably also surprisingly effective and put you to sleep too. Let’s move on.

Susie: Let’s move swiftly.

Peter: I have got a, I’ve got a headline for you.

Susie: Gone.

Peter: Brits marry on WHAT and divorce on WHAT? So I’ll give you the headline again. It’s Brits marry on what and divorce on what.

Susie: Oh, gosh. marry on hope. and divorce on, or over lack of funds for wine.

Peter: There you go. Bang, slammed up.

Susie: Yes, I would divorce over that, would you not?

Peter: I’m not even going to enter that debate. It’s tricky territory.

Susie: But tell me what it is.

Peter: Brits marry on english fizz and divorce on champagne.

Susie: Really?

Peter: I know it’s a surprising finding. So this was a survey by Aldi. Well, official inverted commas. A survey by Aldi, which, you know, must have posed some pretty weird questions.

Susie: That’s very true, isn’t it?

Peter: But was essentially asked 2000 UK wine drinkers about the occasions people drank certain wines on. So 78% of respondents said they had a clear wine preference according to style and occasion. for example, sauvignon blanc while cooking. That’s pretty uncontroversial. then 30% said they’d pair english fizz with a wedding and 15% would opt for champagne for a divorce celebration.

Susie: So be warned, if I start stocking up on champagne, your days are numbered.

Peter: Yeah. When aren’t you stocking up on champagne? That’s why I’m constantly terrified.

Susie: I think I’m more likely to stock up on english fees, actually.

Peter: Well, you do have both, to be honest. So I’m just terrified all the time.

Susie: Never mind stocking up.

Peter: And also concerned about our household finance. But let’s keep moving. just to finish off, the most popular matches were prosecco with brunch, pinot Grigio after work, 30%. And pale rose for summer garden drinking, also 30%. there were also cheque this out. Significant preferences for Cava for moving House, Viognier with a good book and merlot in the bath.

Susie: There it is. Mind boggles. I’m not thinking about. I’m thinking of all the things I do around the house and what I pair them with. And I reckon I’m going to say ironing a neat gin, given it’s my least favourite activity.

Peter: Okay, we’re going to move on. But please, please, you guys out there, send us in your thoughts. What, you know, what matches do you have? The more bizarre. Absolutely. anyway, on that bombshell, I think we better draw this half, this first half to a close. coming up, we’re getting into the really quite justified hoo ha over light strike, as well as responding to your questions and views. from Tuesday night wines to Ukraine and beyond. To recap, so far, the news tells us that the global wine scene is in a bit of a state with falling production and consumption. And both weight loss drugs and smartphones are the enemies of wine. On the plus side, light drinking can reduce stress and thus increase longevity. Drinking high quality wine can make you feel happier. And a new terminal at Florence airport is going to have a vineyard on its roof.

Susie: And don’t forget the breaking news that cling film doesn’t quite remove cork taint. But anyway, continuing on the theme of taint, a few episodes ago, we tackled the topic of light strike, the phenomenon whereby wine bottled in clear glass can be tainted or spoiled very easily by exposure to light, whether daylight or interior lighting. Now, we covered the scientific research and conducted our own very pseudo scientific experiment, both of which clearly show this is a serious issue. And yet we continue to see so many wines in clear bottles, don’t we?

Peter: Now, we termed it daylight robbery, and it duly drew a, fair bit of attention. it made national headlines in the UK, appearing in the Times, the Telegraph, mail, online, classic FM, and it even went international, too, picked up by Gambaro, Rosso and beyond. We’ll put links up on our site. And incidentally, this, is the third time this podcast has made national headlines in the last year. For the right reasons, I ace. And to add, I’m not sure many other wine outlets have done that.

Susie: Well, let’s not risk blowing our own trumpets here too much. And what we did love just as much was you guys getting in touch about this and sort of riffing on the same subject. So, to cover just a bit of the feedback, Panagiotis got in touch afterwards. He’s the winemaker and the researcher we interviewed to say good job, and that he hoped the overall will make a recommendation, presumably about the risks of clear glass, and that governments will include rules about the packaging. For appalachian wines at least. He also added a few interesting tidbits, including that light stripe makes white wines go less yellow. So the opposite of oxidation, I would not have thought that, would you?

Peter: That’s really interesting, isn’t it? And I completely agree with him. There needs to be action taken on this front. And actually, Panagiotis co author on the light strike studies we cited, Professor Sylvia Carlin also got in touch to compliment us on the episode, which is very kind of her. And she said, let’s hope that by spreading the word, something will change. And, you know, we really need change on this. beyond that, Professor Nick Spencer wrote in to say, amazing podcast on light strike. Loved your sensorial experiment. Complete with control. Very solid research. That’s a compliment from a scientist.

Susie: Wow, professor, no less.

Peter: Thanks, Nick. And, Peter Humphreys wrote in from Florida to say, this was an amazing episode. I had no idea this was a problem with wine. I can’t understand why producers would sacrifice the quality of their product for the sake of perception. hear, hear. it will bite them in the end. Keep up the great work. I always enjoy your podcast, but this one was over the top exceptional.

Susie: Now, Perk Kvalvaag wrote in from Norway to say thanks for your informative and fun podcast and for the most recent important and alarming episode. As a scandinavian, I just want to remark that the emperor’s new clothes is no real folk tale, but an author’s pseudo folk tale written by Hans Christian Andersen. And the emperor wasn’t quite naked, but in his royal underwear.

Peter: Oh, that’s disappointing.

Susie: Doesn’t help the poor wines, though, by the way, orange wines come in clear bottles. I wonder if they are just as vulnerable to light strike.

Peter: Yeah, we’ve noticed that too. Actually, we’re noticing so many clear bottles now since we did the podcast, we.

Susie: Are really, truly, every time you look, you think, oh, it’s clear bottle.

Peter: but, you know, to answer your question, I guess orange wines would be in between white and red, wouldn’t they, in terms of vulnerability, presumably more protective polyphenols than white wine, but for the most part less than red. But I guess that would make them not dissimilar to rose it, depending on the style of the rose, which is clearly at serious risk, as our experiments show. So, frankly, I think any wine in clear bottles isn’t good news, to be honest.

Susie: Now, we’ve also had tonnes of feedback on social media on this and we’re just going to pick out a few. Nick Fee said, I’ll be buying from the back of the shelf, at least from now on. Liz, Gabay MW, who we featured on the pod, said, once you know about it, it really is a scandal. It is ignored Nova Cadmata MW said the easy solution is to normalise rose and other wines in dark bottles, which will protect it.

Peter: Hear, hear. we also had Xiachon Lu sharing a very sad story about a bottle of Cristal 2008. Now, Cristal, of course, famously comes in a clear bottle, albeit wrapped in orange cellophane, which is easy to take off. But his generous friend had displayed this bottle of cristal without its protective wrapper. as of course, you know, we’ve said it’s tempting to do on a sun drenched shelf for years.

Susie: Oh, years, yeah.

Peter: And Ziacheng described tasting said wine as having a total lack of fruit and freshness, but plenty of stewed cabbage and damp cardboard. Just like how the podcast described a light strike wine would taste. What a shame for what could have been a fabulous bottle. I couldn’t even use it to deglaze my pan.

Susie: Oh, dear, it’s so depressing, isn’t? When you hear these stories, I mean, especially when it’s. Especially, I think, when it’s a special bottle. Exactly. And this is such a preventable issue. You know, the wine world just needs to buck up its act on this one. you know, we are not going to let it drop, but it’s great to see, to see that other wine folk are, ah, taking this theme up as well.

Peter: Exactly. You know, I even had a comment from a major producer of Provencal rose saying he tuned in and would be reassessing his bottles in the future as a result. So, you know, there is hope.

Susie: There is hope, yeah. And we also had some interesting correspondence with the guys at Pakamama who make those flat plastic or pet wine bottles that actually fit through your letterbox. Now, they’re working with people like Aldi and the wine society, and they’re quite proactive on the R and D front. So they got in touch to say that their colourless, recycled pet bottles include a, uv absorber, which removes some of the damaging uv and protects wines more than flint glass.

Peter: Yes. So we asked some probing questions, as you’d expect, and it turns out the uv barrier they use, which is master batch additive at 1% dosing, whatever that means, is incorporated. It’s incorporated into the bottle material at, levels that mean recycling is still okay. Which was the issue about coating clear glass. If you remember, we mentioned their research has shown that only 2% of light in two critical uv wavelengths, which would otherwise damage wine. 2% gets through versus 80% for flint glass, and it adds only, two p a bottle to the cost now.

Susie: Visible light is still damaging in these clear plastic bottles, but they say they do 20% better than flint glass at this third potentially damaging wavelength. And about half the bottles they sell are clear, for what it’s worth.

Peter: Yeah. Interesting, interesting. I still feel the best way forward for plastic or glass is for dark containers.

Susie: It really is, yeah.

Peter: And it just sets the precedent. But if you have to put it in clear packaging, maybe this is one solution. We probably need to do a bit more research, don’t we? But anyway, one to keep an eye on.

Susie: Yeah. And just to finish off on light strike, listener Andreas Tischhauser from Switzerland asked, is there also a risk of light strike for sweet wines like sauternes? Or can sugar counteract this? And he also asked, given it takes very little time for light strike to kick in, whether time in the glass before drinking will have an effect, or should we all drink from black glasses?

Peter: Good questions, good questions. I think sweet wines did crop up somewhere in the research we looked at, didn’t they? And absolutely. They often do come in clear glass, don’t they?

Susie: They do, they do.

Peter: The sugar definitely doesn’t counteract anything. It might protect it slightly more. So, yeah, you know, sugar, polyphenolic content, you probably get a bit more of that in sweet wines will have a protective effect to some extent, but, you know, give it enough time in the wrong kind of environment and lights and, even sweet wines will get ruined eventually. You know, as Panagiotti said, the simplest solution, flint glass, is probably something we shouldn’t use. Avoid it.

Susie: Yeah. As for light strike in the glass, absolutely the same can happen as can oxidation. So you only ever have a limited time with your wine before it spoils. But you do want to enjoy how it looks in the glass. So the solution might be just don’t pour huge measures and drink up.

Peter: Yeah, drink up. That’s always, isn’t it? Yeah. I think we should get a t shirt with that on it. Okay, so we’re now going to move on to other questions and feedback. We had one on speakpipe from Hannah Caldwell.

Hannah Caldwell: Kia ora, Susie and Peter. I am Hannah from New Zealand. I am currently a cellar hand, at a winery here in Cromwell in New Zealand. And my question is, what is your favourite wine out of Pinot noir or Chardonnay or Sauvignon blanc that you have tried from New Zealand regions? and also, I just like to say, thank you so much. I have your podcast on repeat. I’m going through all of the episodes and I just like to say thank you so much for keeping me company. Thank you so, so much.

Susie: Thanks for getting in touch, Hannah. And that’s a great question, but a really tricky one to answer.

Peter: You know, we were blown away by the New Zealand Chardonnays in our episode on that. they really have gone to another level, haven’t they, over the last few years and still great value for money in a global context. But then, you know, I know you’re a sucker for Sauvignon blanc.

Susie: I am. I just love it. And the fact that lots of people are quite snobbish about it almost makes me want to champion it more. You know, there’s. These days as well, everybody knows there’s no such thing as New Zealand Sauvignon blanc. It’s so diverse. You know, you’ve got your classic passion fruit pineapple, rich sort of tropical styles that tend to come mostly from Wairau. Then you’ve got your tangy tomato leaf styles from Awatere and then you’ve got really interesting things from Nelson or Hawke’s Bay wairo rapper Wair.

Peter: That’s for pinot noir. I mean, you know, where to start. Where to start. Just so many sensational wines and like you say, with sauvignon blanc, you know, so much diversity, from super elegant, sappy styles to rich, darker fruited, sort of oaky ones, but still refreshing savoury wines. so the question is, though, what’s our favourite? And we have to nail our colours to the mask for Hannah here.

Susie: I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t. I absolutely love them all. And, no, it really just depends what I’m in the mood for or what I’m eating. You know, what I would say is I probably drink more Sauvignon and Chardonnay than New Zealand pinot. And with regards to Sauvignon, if we’re talking about that, my really favourite Sauvignon’s, as opposed to the everyday ones, would be those that are quite new wave, usually with a little bit of oak and from one of the really top Marlborough producers. But I do love, love, love a. Ah, cool, nutty struck match. New Zealand Chardonnay.

Peter: So you’re going Chardonnay. That’s why I’m seeing you there. And I’m gonna go. I’m gonna go pinot noir. I’m gonna go pinot oil. Either a super elegant savoury Central Otago style, or a great sort of earthy pinot from Martinborough.

Susie: So essentially, we’ve both gone for two options, haven’t we?

Peter: Well, sort of, yes.

Susie: Let’s be fair.

Peter: We tried to make it sound like we’ve gone for one, but we’ve gone for two. Sorry, Hannah, it’s just impossible to choose. I wonder what your favourite would be. There we go. Shift it. I imagine, you know you’re in Cromwell, Hannah, so probably something like central pinot or Riesling. but let us know. in fact, all of you out there can let us know what your favourite New Zealand wine, from Sauvignon to Chardonnay to Pinot, is and from what region.

Susie: And just while we’re on the topic of New Zealand wine, we wanted, didn’t we, to briefly mention some social media activity around an Instagram post we put out about trying and loving the latest releases from dog Point in Marlborough. delicious. Just so you know what they were. Delicious. 2023 Sauvignon Blanc. 2018, section 94. And then the 2020 ones of the. Of the Chardonnay and the pinot.

Peter: Yeah, I don’t think we could make it. We could actually choose between just them, let alone.

Susie: That’s what I mean.

Peter: yeah, so we said something with this Instagram post along the lines of, well, we’d run out of wine for the photo, basically. And what we said was, we blamed this. We said, clearly this was due to evaporation issues. It was absolutely nothing to do with us getting so excited by the wines, we polished them off.

Susie: Not at all.

Peter: No, absolutely. Let’s just make that clear. but the guys at Dogpoint played along, replying that evaporation issues happen to the best of us.

Susie: To which we replied, it’s a very serious fault and they need to address this issue in their wines and put some sort of health warning on the bottles. Along the lines of, warning this bottle may evaporate worryingly quickly. So, you know, so look out for that on the 2024 labels.

Peter: Now, Janita Doyle also agreed that her wines evaporate, too, and that an investigation was needed. And we agreed, you know, this. This is a. This is a scandal. It’s another scandal which needs investigation. So, you know, we devised a name. Every scandal needs a sort of name. Here we go. The name for this scandal is sudden wine evaporation syndrome. SWEATS.

Susie: There’s your sweats being the acronym.

Peter: So if you get the sweats, we’d love to hear from you, including the symptoms and the wines concerned. This could be huge.

Susie: I think we’re going down a bit of a rabbit hole here, aren’t we? Let’s move on.

Peter: We definitely are, right? Okay, so we had an intriguing story in from Lorena Gutierrez of Vinjoyment in relation to art. Ukraine episode, didn’t we?

Susie: We did, we did. So Lorena wrote in to say, and I quote, I’m from Mexico City, but London is my home, and I really enjoy learning from you via your podcast. My husband and I have a wine tasting business, so it’s an inspiration to know you can be married and work in wine together. haha. I loved your podcast episode on Ukraine. It’s so important to share those stories now. I wanted to share an anecdote. We visited Russia as tourists in 2019 and went to some of the highly recommended restaurants in Moscow. The sommelier suggested us to pair our meal with a russian wine, Almavalli Pinot Blanc from Crimea, because Crimea is russian. Now, he said that about eight times when describing and pouring the wine. I’m a, geopolitics nerd and couldn’t resist seeing that bottle. This was five years post annexation. You can see the label very clearly shows the map of Crimea as well. I wish I had inquired more about the winemakers and who they were, but I bit my tongue because I didn’t want to start a debate while in Moscow. But I’ve never had such mixed feelings about the origin of a wine I was drinking.

Peter: Yeah. Gosh. A sobering reminder of the challenges facing winemakers, all around the world, particularly those in conflict zones in the Ukraine. and Lorena did actually send us a picture of the bottle, too, which we’ll put on the show notes. but thanks for getting in touch, Lorena, with that very poignant story. on a lighter note, Anna Gande got in touch on the subject of Tuesday night wines, didn’t she?

Susie: She did, yeah, Anna wrote. She wrote, I’ve just laughed out loud listening to an early wine blast where you coined the expression Tuesday night wines. I’ve been calling the reds on the wine rack in our kitchen that for years. In our house, they mean reds. I buy that. My husband is allowed to open without asking me. He’s not allowed in the wine cellar. It’s my baby. The irony is it’s never a, Tuesday night because he’s a surgeon and that’s his on call night. So I’ve no idea why I started calling them that. But it turns out you’ve been calling inexpensive, easy drinking wine the same thing. All I can say is great minds think alike.

Peter: Great minds indeed. although I feel the restrictions, you know, maybe a little harsh here.

Susie: The cellar restrictions.

Peter: I thought surgeons were renowned for their impeccable taste, weren’t they? Anyway, I, think I need to sort of move on before I get into relationship hot water, but we’re going.

Susie: To be divorcing in a minute.

Peter: There we go. Do let us know if you have any particular or peculiar wine slang or phrases that you use. We’d love to hear them. And, we’ve all got them. and Peter Humphries wrote in from Ontario to say, yeah, I’ve been a regular listener to wine blast for well over a year now. I never miss listening. I’m sending this note to let you know your live Q and a episode was the best and most entertaining episode that you have made. I want more. I learned a lot and was thoroughly enthralled. Your podcasts are always great, but this was at the top of them all. I get ready with a glass of wine, New Zealand Sauvignon blanc, so I can listen and taste at the same time a highlight of the week. Please have more podcasts like this one from time to time. It’s very refreshing and entertaining. Come to the Niagara wine region in Ontario, Canada. There are some great wines here.

Susie: There are indeed some great wines there. Do you think this is our cue to go on a world tour kicking off with a massive gig in Niagara?

Peter: Undoubtedly. Let’s diarize it. Thanks so much, Peter. It’s very kind of you to say. And we will certainly try to do some more live Q and a’s in due course. we really enjoy it too.

Susie: Yeah. And it’s also good to know where Peter’s vote for which New Zealand wine and region would go.

Peter: Finally, someone who can make up their mind. Well done, Peter. I’d also add in response to Peter’s programme suggestion, thank you so much to all of you who’ve been in touch with so many brilliant proposals for future episode themes. We do give all of them very serious consideration. We can’t make them all, but when we do, they’re often pretty special.

Susie: And a case in point here is the Orange wine two party we did as a result of David Dowling’s prompt. We, loved, loved doing those programmes. we’re really proud of them and they’ve gone down very well too. And David got in touch after listening to say the following. I just wanted to say a huge thank you for more than fulfilling my suggested episode. If I had thought of my perfect episode, it would not have been as good as that double bill. I am sure it will be the perfect guide to both beginners and orange wine geeks like me. Plus, I had been meaning to buy Simon’s book for ages, so a great excuse. I don’t want to take sides. Here we go. But I completely agree with Peter’s lamb test. We will often have a particular orange wine with the ginger pigs Barnsley chop recipe, which is apparently roman. So what better pairing can you get? Although don’t tell Sasha, but we agree with Susie. It’s okay here. and do sometimes struggle with the civvie pinot grigio orange wines. Please keep up all the amazing work on the podcast.

Peter: That’s so nice. Thank you, David. So glad you enjoyed that. now, David, you also asked about writing competitions. We’d recommend as a sort of stepping stone to get more involved in your passion. There aren’t that many, are. Ah, there?

Susie: Not really, no, not these days. There were more one.

Peter: Exactly. There used to be lots, but one we mentioned, maybe, is the 67 pall mall awards, which is new and well worth a shout. You know, they look very sort of democratic and, and they’re encouraging a very wide range of entries.

Susie: Yeah, I mean, they have just closed their entries, for this year, so this year, so next year, why not? Absolutely. Really good shout, right? I think we’re almost at the point where we need to draw things to a close. But before we do, we just wanted to feature some extra feedback we’ve had, starting with an Apple review all the way from Bermuda, miss t 21 saying, awesome show. Perfect for wine lovers and enthusiasts. I highly recommend it. It’s not only informative with great topics, but the hosts are so charismatic and funny. Keep up the good work, guys.

Peter: another five star review from Elvis reads. Enjoying the education of this podcast, delivered in an engaging style. While, studying the wsut diploma, a welcome break from the textbooks. met Susie at a wine tasting, and she is indeed lovely, friendly, knowledgeable, unpretentious. And I have seen Peter on screen in unusual wine places like Georgia and Lebanon, and he’s great to listen to and learn from to keep them coming.

Susie: Very lovely. Thank you. I’m sitting here quite blushing.

Peter: But. So, you know, one other thing we’d say is, you know, it’s so nice when people come up to us and say, hi, I love the podcast, isn’t it? It is. So, thank you.

Susie: Listen to it.

Peter: Exactly. Thank you to everyone who’s done that. It not only gives us a massive boost. but one of the key things we wanted to do with this pod was build a sort of like minded community of wine lovers, not just online, but also in the real world, too. So if you see us, please do say hi. Like, for example, Callum, the brilliant sommelier, we won our case of Bordeaux back in the day, said hi recently. It really does make our day.

Susie: Yeah. And just one last comment from an Instagram story in response to our southern french feast episode, where we paired southern french wines with a series of dishes inspired by the region but kind of dreamed up by me. Now, this is from Bronwyn Batey at Screwtopsandcorks on Insta, who said, what an episode. I feel a wine blast recipe book coming on.

Peter: You’d love that, wouldn’t you? would you? Would you? Actually, given you’ve already done sort of twelve years cooking up sort of Saturday kitchen recipes for that show, and a fair amount of the podcast now, too.

Susie: I love it. You know I love it. You know, I would absolutely would do a wine blast. Yeah.

Peter: Cookbook.

Susie: Yeah.

Peter: In all your free time. Yeah.

Susie: That’s the only problem.

Peter: Yeah.

Susie: Yeah.

Peter: Plus, didn’t we say we sort of might offer recipes with our subscription model?

Susie: I think we did, didn’t we?

Peter: Which we are getting on to.

Susie: We will get on to.

Peter: I think Mike Smith asked for the lobster Mac and porcini Arancini recipes a while ago, and that was the plan then. I think it still is. But we could do both. We could indeed. And either way, just for the record, I would be a very willing recipe and wine tester.

Susie: I don’t doubt it. Right. That’s a good note, I reckon. To end on. By way of brief summary, wine is facing many challenges, from declining production and consumption to the perils of smartphones and weight loss drugs. But there’s also plenty grounds for positivity, too. Light strike is an issue the wine world needs to proactively address, and I may well be penning a wine blast cookbook at some stage soon with a.

Peter: Glass of kiwi Chardonnay in your hand. Thanks to all of you who got in touch with questions and feedback. Please do keep it coming. We’ll put the email addresses and links to our speakpipe on our show notes, where we’ll also put links to all these news stories. Please do also remember to give us a glowing rating and review on your podcast platform. It really helps. And don’t forget to badger your friends and family to listen to and, ultimately become part of this wonderful wine blast community.

Susie: And if we haven’t sent you to sleep yet, get yourself stuck into those sommelier sex. I mean, sleep sleep tapes sleep tapes. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time. Cheers.

Peter: Get the right tapes…