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There are reasons why holiday wine always seems to taste better

How to Drink Better: Producers are keen to sell their wine to anyone and everyone

Do some regions keep their best wines for themselves?

Every now and again, I am approached by someone, usually just back from a holiday somewhere sunny, who is convinced that the wines they drank abroad were so much better than the wines we are able to buy here. They have a theory that some wine regions keep the best wine for themselves and offer only their inferior bottles for the export market.

As a wine journalist (and a professional wine buyer in the past), I have been fortunate to visit most of the wine regions of the world. I also have the opportunity to taste thousands of wines every year. I can assure you that most producers are very keen to sell their wine to anyone and everyone. Their biggest difficulty is selling all of their produce every year. There is no secret tank or cuvée kept hidden from foreigners and reserved solely for the locals.

There are two possible exceptions; some producers are not very good at selling their wines. They may lack commercial ability, don’t speak any foreign languages and therefore find it difficult to export their wines. They may find it easier to offload their wines locally. They are an exception though and most good producers will be discovered by smart knowledgeable multilingual importers who will do all the work for them.

A tiny minority of producers make small quantities of highly sought-after critically acclaimed wines. But usually, they will allocate a limited amount to lots of countries all around the world. It helps with their marketing and spreads their sales to many clients.


I suspect there are two reasons for the preference for holiday wines. Firstly because of our high excise duties, an eight-euro bottle of wine in France, Spain or Italy will taste a lot better than an eight-euro bottle in Ireland. Secondly a glass of wine sipped in the shade, on the terrace of a lovely bistro in a delightful village will always taste a lot better than the same wine sipped on a cold, wet, miserable evening in Ireland.

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