Internet breaking down wine barriers
Internet wine retail site www.1855.com is one of the biggest online wine traders in France.
It recently organised a small revolution when it gathered some 350 oenophiles from across France to compare the offerings of the 30 biggest wine producers around the world.
The site offers the great classic Bordeaux and Burgundy vintages, a 1986 Chateau Beychevelle for some 150 euros or a Gevrey Chambertin 2004 at 260 euros or the chance to buy futures in the 2007 Bordeaux vintage.
Its best-selling wine is a Finca Sobreno Toro Crianza 2004 from Rioja, Spain, for less than 10 euros, followed by 10 French wines and champagnes.
Chalon said internet sales of fine wines were growing fast in the same way as music, travel, books and electronic goods did seven years ago.
1855.com says it has the largest selection available to private clients in the world, with 25,000 references.
Data from the International Organisation of Vine and Wine world wine body showed that the share in the world export market for southern hemisphere countries like Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, rose to 28 percent in 2007 from 3.1 percent two decades ago.
Thomas Klinger from the Bruendlmayer vineyard in Austria said,”We mainly sell in Austria, export to Germany and a bit to Belgium. But when France invites you to participate in a tasting, you take the car and come.”