WBWE PRESENTS: Cees Van Casteren
MW, freelance educator, consultant and wine writer
Cees van Casteren MW is a freelance educator, consultant and wine writer. Since 2004 he has written 11 books and some 600 articles on wine and food. He publishes weekly in three newspapers of the Associated Press, is correspondent for Meininger’s Wine Business International, for the Dutch Financial Times and for trade magazine Proefschrift. Cees is also a partner of the wine blog thestoryofmywine.com with approximately 85,000 followers on Instagram and Facebook, a noted wine educator in the Netherlands and he runs his own independent wine consultancy and training business. He is currently Chairman of the Association of Vinologists, the main association for wine professionals in the Dutch trade.
– What do you expect from your participation at the WBWE?
I expect to meet professionals only, which is great; no tourists or wine amateurs at this show. Those who come are relevant. Also, the WBWE is “an early warning” for emerging trends and effects of the previous year’s harvest conditions. You get better information from one day at the WBW than reading 10 trade journals.
– How do you see the future of the wine industry?
I love this industry, however, the wine industry will have to adapt and change in order to cope with the current challenges, which are manifold. I am not just referring to climate change, duties, tariffs, Brexit or changing consumer trends but also to the ongoing concentration of the market (versus the only gradual concentration of the fragmented production base), the issues surrounding health and regulation and the long term profitability of this sector. The industry needs generic representation to stand up against political, environmental and social pressure, which blames alcohol and often does not differentiate between spirits, beers or wine. I expect taxes on alcohol (including wine) to increase structurally.
– In your opinion, which are the most interesting wines now? And where are they produced?
The most interesting wines now are the wines which are drunk all over the world. Bulk wines are very relevant as they serve a significant part of the market. They are produced everywhere although Spain, Italy, France and Portugal are important European producers.
– Which markets are currently showing the most potential for bulk wine imports?
I am not an expert in the field, but I would say China (and Korea), Russia and the United States have the most potential for bulk wine. The problem is that politics (and Covid-19) are increasingly playing a role.
– The stigma surrounding bulk wines has been reduced dramatically over the past decade. Why do you think this is and how can bulk professionals best capitalize upon this shift?
The quality of bulk wine has improved dramatically over the past two decades. Also, bulk wines offer the opportunity for retailers to build their own brands. This is both an opportunity and a threat to bulk wine producers. Where possible, bulk wine producers should try to align themselves with these brand builders in order to become an integral part of the brand to protect themselves and get a piece of the profits.