Echo Falls Red Wine
April 26 2012
A friend read my previous post on Come Dine with Me
wine advertising and decided to give me a bottle of Echo Falls 'Red Wine' as I had never tried it.
Before drinking I wanted to research the wine a bit and derive as much as I could from the label.
There is not much information. There is no grape mentioned for example (just the words 'Red Wine'). If you read the FSA wine law guide
regarding labelling you can see that there is no requirement to list grape varieties, so who knows what is in the bottle. There is in fact no obligation to list all the ingredients in wine (which is why it is nice that the Co-op lists them
on some of its own brand stuff).
Mandatory items which are on this label are stated on the FSA site
"specific mandatory items must be shown, in one field of vision. These include nominal volume (eg 75cl), alcoholic strength (eg 11.5% vol), bottler's details, country of origin, type of wine. In addition a statement about the sulphur dioxide content will be required on any label when this exceeds 10mg/litre"
The country of origin of Echo Falls Red Wine is the USA (The Mission Bell Winery set in the heart of the Central Valley, Madera, California). Imported by Accolade Wines.
So who are Accolade Wines?
An Australian private equity group called Champ
brought an 80% share
in Constellation Brands' Australian and European wine arms and renamed it Accolade Wines
(Constellation Brands is the worlds largest wine company).
The 20% consolation still owned by 'Constellation' explains the use of Mission Bell Winery -Mission Bell winery is owned by Constellation Wines US
Even back in 2003 Mission Bell Winery was a massive operation according to this article
crushing about 285,000 tons of grapes per year. I am sure production has only increased since then.
So is this Echo Falls mystery "red wine" bottled in the US? According to the label the answer is no. It is shipped to the UK where it is bottled.
The bottler in this case is listed as "Bottled by W1740, DH9 7XP, UK
A bit cryptic?
This means it was bottled by Greencroft Bottling Company
, part of the Lanchester Wine Group
in Stanley, County Durham.
Phew! This modest £4.68 wine (current Asda price) has quite a story.
This mere slip of a bottle is the definition of all that is big and scary in the modern wine industry. It is the lifeblood of the corporate power houses that drive what the majority of us know of wine in the UK, through almost unlimited supply, relentless advertising and supermarket domination. The sheer economies of scale of these enormous wine companies like Accolade Wines and Constellation Brands bring the price to a sub five pound level and still produce a profit.
So with all this swilling round my head, what is the wine actually like to drink?
Can wine like this be cared for enough to be drinkable, or is it too cheaply mass produced and formulaic?
It was thin looking and tasted raw, with a very obvious punch of 13% vol alcohol, not balanced at all . It was dry in the mouth, a rasping sensation, not very pleasant. I will avoid it in future.
The reality is that people must buy this stuff and come back for more, or it would not be on our supermarket shelves. So my opinion may be negative, but it is my own and not yours necessarily.
If you like it, drink it, just don't pour me a glass.
These wines are total costing less than 80 pence inclusive glass & packaging. The rest is made of vat £0.78 Duty £1.91 + shipping about £0.15. Supermarket make 20 at £0.94 (inclusive their warehousing and internal deliveries costs)and the bottler in UK make gross £0.92 gross again! These wines are full of chemicals as pesticides, herbicides, big dose of sulphites to stop the wines travelling cross the world in tankers for 6 weeks in very high tempetures. More chemicals are added to stabilise the wines before bottling. It not only horse meat in burgers...Most imported foods are disgusting because British People are willing to eat and drink very very cheap. Their are not interrested to find out the cost of production...Not surprising we have the highest rate of cancer and heart decease. We have to learn from the french paradoxe...where one in three people are drinking organic wines! I have seen no change attitude in 36 years in the wine trade...from the beginning of liefraumilch. Now 3 bottles for £12 are better than one for £8.....because despite massive increases in duty & vat over the years..wine is far cheaper in the proportional relation to cost of living than 30 years ago......
Have your say
No cheap red wine is good wherever its from/bottled. Simple rule really. Anon, if youre going to diss British drinkers, please diss us using better English. Thanks.