The Artisan Project: hand-crafted brilliance

Pair of hands tending to vinesThe word ‘artisan’ conjures a whole range of meanings. From heritage and culture, to a deep connection with the land or strong community spirit. But what lies at the heart of any artisan product is a sense of something hand-crafted with passion and dedication, with an emphasis on making it the very best it can be.

But that’s not to say artisan wines aren’t commercial. Consumers are increasingly on the look-out for food and wine with provenance and a story. And millennials are at the forefront of this quest for authenticity. This new generation of wine drinkers want to know where things come from, how they’re made and who made them. They’re also the most adventurous when it comes to trying new regionsand grapes, and are keen to drink off the beaten track.

Artisan wines also fit with the recent shift towards drinking less but better. On Trade sales of wines under £20 have dropped 2% in the last year, while those over £25 have increased by 26%. Consumers are drinking less wine overall, but when they do, they are choosing something special.

Bibendum has always been proud of its artisan producers and The Artisan Project is a way to celebrate them. The project includes producers like Norman Hardie, who helps his vines survive ruthless Canadian winters by burying them under mounds of earth. And Adega Algueira in Galicia, where the grapes are grown on such steep slopes that they have to be picked by hand before being transported back up to the road using an electronic winch.

These producers don’t make wine because it’s easy; they do it because they’ve dedicated their lives to creating something special for others to enjoy.

We asked some of our customers what ‘artisan’ means to them and to pick their favourites from The Artisan Project.

Ben McKellar from the Ginger Pig in Brighton told us, “For me, artisan means hand-made production by someone extremely passionate about what they do. Profit is not the driver of these wines, but quality and authenticity are.”

“We chose Vietti’s Barbera after a trip to the vineyard. It was a thriving business in a beautiful part of the world. Vietti really seems to be part of the local landscape. We love the ripe cherry flavour and the lightness of the wine, considering the level of sun in the area.”

Richard Coulson from South Sands Hotel in Salcombe said, “I like to let the wine do the talking and Domaine Cauhape Chant des Vignes Sec really punches above its weight, which is why I’ve put it on by the glass. It has a beautifully intense and fine bouquet, with notes of white peach, cinnamon and fennel. On the palate there's flavours of exotic fruits and a fabulous mineral finish.”

“When guests taste it, I see that look in their eyes that says, ‘wow, I really get this’. That look gives me a huge amount of satisfaction. They love it – it’s one of my biggest sellers.”


 Watch our Artisan Project video, featuring more of our artisan producers, or listen to episode 1 of our producer podcasts for more on the trend for drinking less but better.

28th November 2016

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