Fifth of Brits think Sauternes is a beach resort, study finds

In a recent survey, Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has revealed that 30% of people think terroir is a genre of French horror film, while a fifth believe Sauternes is a continental beach resort.

A 225-litre barrique made from crystal and made by glassmaker Lalique to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey.

The survey, which was conducted by Ginger Research on behalf of the WSET, marks the launch of the education body’s Wine Education Week which runs from 9 to 15 September.

Based a survey of 1,500 British adults, the study found that 30% believed terroir to be a genre of French horror film, while 28% thought it was a breed of dog. 34% correctly identified that it referred to the ground and area in which grape vines are planted.

Other wine terms that proved challenging included corked’, with 37% of those surveyed thinking it means that broken pieces of cork were in the bottle. 7% believed it meant someone that had over-indulged and had consumed one glass too many, rather than a wine that smells of musty cardboard.

7% of people thought Sauternes was a planet in the solar system, 20% thought it was a continental beach resort, while 29% said it was a variety of orange. 43% correctly identified it as a sweet dessert wine.

According to the latest Nielsen and CGA data, 22 million bottles of wine are consumed each week in Britain. A quarter of those surveyed by the WSET said they knew “absolutely nothing” about wine, while 51% expressed a desire to learn more.

The survey noted that while the female respondents were “more likely” to correctly define wine terminology, men were twice as likely (12% compared to 6%) to claim a good knowledge of wine.

That said, men admitted they were more likely to find the topic too large and intimidating (34%), compared to 28% of women.

35% of those surveyed said they tended to stick to a few different types of wine that they’re familiar with, while only 28% of people said they’d successfully tried to “pair” a wine with food to get the best flavours out of both.

More worryingly, when talking about learning more about wine, 17% of people said they’d been “traumatised by snooty wine waiters”. 34% of people said they didn’t know where to start, while 28% thought the topic was too complicated.

Ian Harris, CEO of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, said: “With a whole world of wine out there to discover, it’s hardly surprising that there are gaps in the nation’s knowledge, or that the prospect of learning more might feel intimidating.

“It’s encouraging, though, to see that so many Britons are keen to gain more knowledge about one of their favourite drinks, and Wine Education Week is the perfect time to do just that.”

The week is kicking off with an attempt to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest ever sommelierie lesson.

The record attempt, which is being hosted by TV wine presenter Olly Smith and sommelier Virgilio Gennaro at The Kia Oval, in London, is hoping to gather together more than 350 people to break the current world record.

Throughout the entire week, over 450 events are taking place in 45 countries. To find out more information, please click here. 

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