One lump or two? Ice is in as wine merchants look to the future

IceView larger image

Many local wine merchants now offer a diverse range of drinks, including beers, ciders and spirits, and you might even be able to stock up on ice cubes while you're there.

But wine-drinking traditionalists might be surprised to discover that many of the younger generation will happily add an ice cube or two to a glass of wine (yes, including red wine) on a hot day.

The habit stems from a straightforward principle - cold wine is more refreshing in the middle of summer - but there are slightly more complex influences at work, too.

For example, a report from Datamonitor Consumer explains that wine was traditionally drunk with an evening meal, allowing a family to share a bottle for moderate consumption each.

On the continent, this is especially true, with Italy, France and Spain reporting 58%, 67% and 52% of consumers respectively say a meal at home is their main time to drink wine.

With family mealtimes on the decline though, wine is becoming more of an anytime social drink, and wine merchants are catering for that too, with more fruity-flavoured wines and smaller bottles for single servings.

Adding a lump of ice to keep your drink cool lets you take longer to enjoy it, while making its refreshment value - and not necessarily the complexity of its taste - the main reason to pour a glass in the first place.