Online wine shops help you cope with 'interesting times'

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The famous adage "may you live in interesting times" is generally thought of as a threat - and with all the different grapes, regions and colours available from online wine shops, "may you drink interesting wines" takes on new meaning too.

Following the recent International Cool Climate Wine Symposium, which we reported in our last article, Richard Halstead of Wine Intelligence wrote a piece suggesting that the introduction of new, cooler wine-producing regions to the market may be complexity it doesn't need.

"Should we celebrate the idea of yet more complexity in a complex category?" he asked. "Wine is a category that is probably a bit too 'interesting' already: there is so much to know, so many regions, varietals and styles, which have to compete for a relatively small amount of consumer mind space."

What's equally interesting, though, is that consumers find ways around this - and you might be more likely to search for a particular variety of grape without worrying too much about the region, or vice versa; likewise, you might have a favourite wine producer, but be equally happy to drink a chardonnay as you are a sauvignon blanc.

Mr Halstead writes that breaking into the market therefore requires concerted effort from groups of producers working together to establish a name for themselves, and penetrate the consumer mindset.

However, online wine shops make it easier to search for something new, just by avoiding the same old categories you buy wine from over and over again - indeed, homepage listings and special offers can often bring wines to your attention that you would otherwise have missed.

That doesn't mean abandoning your favourites, by any means - but perhaps if you buy wine six bottles at a time, it might be worth taking a chance on something new as your sixth bottle, and broadening your horizons in an interesting category with endless possibilities to experience.