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French winemakers launch home tasting service

A new service called Vignerons a la Maison has launched in France, offering consumers the opportunity to have a winemaker come to their house, and hold a tasting of their wines.

Director and founder Philippe Kazek will launch the business in September following a survey of more than 200 wine producers.

Squeezed by the economic downturn, it found the majority of winemakers are looking to improve returns on trips to wine trade fairs around the country. They are also finding it difficult to receive visitors at their estates, particularly at weekends.

‘Since the financial crisis,’ Kazek told decanter.com, ‘independent winemakers are trying to find ways to cut out the layers between them and the consumer, and to increase direct sales.

‘It has become imperative that, while they are at wine fairs, or on their way back home after a sales trip, they can maximise their time away. Meeting wine lovers directly in their homes is an effective way to do this’.

The service is free to consumers, although each winemaker who registers for the service must pay a small fee. There is also no obligation to buy wine after the tasting, although the organisers expect a minimum of four people to attend. The service will launch with just 20 winemakers, but Kazek hopes that number to rise to 400 by the end of the first year.

‘Consumers enter their details on the site, and express an interest in specific styles of wine. Winemakers then enter their routes around the country during wine fairs and sales trips, and we match up the two. The idea is to create a direct link between wine lovers and wine producers, and to bring the idea of fine wine right to the consumers’ door,’ he added.

Written by Jane Anson

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