In the latest issue of our wine-focused magazine, Assemblage, we took a step away from the Hallgarten business to catch up with some of our partners in the wine sector about how they have fared over the last two years. Here we spoke to Phil Innes, owner of Loki Wines.
What are your biggest learnings from the pandemic in 2020 and 2021?
A: The biggest learning is that even in adversity companies can adapt and thrive in any situation. We are coming out of the pandemic with an additional store, plus a significant online operation. As well as areas such as virtual tasting which I never thought would be so popular per pandemic. Also I really learned the importance of all the years of customer engagement that built up good will that we managed to use to our advantage during the pandemic.
What trends are you seeing from consumers in 2022?
A: South Africa has been massive, the country has always had a very strong following, however the last 12 months has seen big growth which I don’t see decreasing.
Where do you think is the next up-and-coming wine region?
A: Although we already do a lot with Greece, I think we will see this area growing in importance as people are actively trying to discover new wines, and have an understanding of the world of wine prior to France and Italy. I think that whole area including Croatia, Slovenia, Armenia, Turkey and Lebanon will continue to see an increase over the next couple of years. I am still waiting for places like Bulgaria and Romania to come more into the consumer consciousness. I have seen some great examples coming out of these countries.
Which grape variety are you most excited about?
A: Can I tentatively say that Riesling is going to be very exciting… I just think Riesling has struggled with consumers, but certainly the dryer styles are becoming more popular now. It may be Riesling’s time to shine.
Are you seeing an increasing demand for sustainable and natural wines?
A: I think we are seeing a slight plateauing in interest, however vegan wines are continuing to grow in popularity.
What is your personal favourite wine/food pairing?
A: You can’t beat a good steak and Bordeaux
How do you organise the wines on your shelves?
A: By country
What are your plans for your shop in 2022?
A: We are currently refurbishing our first two sites, and also looking for a 4th site in the Midlands. I think as we come out of the pandemic traditional bricks and mortar retailers will see a big increase in demand as people continue to use online, but also want to go back to more face to face and expert opinion.
What is the best-selling style of wine in your shop?
Dinner party or wild party?
A: Dinner Party
Cornwall or Ibiza?
A: Ibiza everyday.
Pinot Noir from Cote de Beaune or Central Otago?
A: Cote de Beaune
James Bond or Jason Bourne?
English bubbles or Champagne?
A: Champagne – Sorry England
Rich and robust or delicate and nuanced?
A: Rich and Robust
Negroni or Pornstar Martini?
A: Negroni – who in the wine industry chooses Pornstar Martini!?!