Back to main site

First of the summer wine


With the sun finally saying hello, we take a look at summer wine trends and grape guru Olly Smith shares his top tipples to try on board

P&O Cruises Food Hero Olly Smith holding a glass of wine

Food Hero Olly Smith knows a thing or two about wine

It seems we are becoming a nation of wine experts, striving to try what’s new and unique: recent research we’ve carried out on board shows a few trends emerging when it comes to the good grapes. Not only are we Brits enjoying wines from around the world, especially those from ports of call visited and unusual wines from off-the-beaten-track destinations, but we’re also embracing lower-alcohol varieties and enjoying the best of British.


‘Tastes are changing and New World producers in particular are scaling alcohol levels back,’ says wine expert and Food Hero Olly Smith. ‘Many people prefer to taste the flavours of their wine. High levels of alcohol can cause a wine to lose its balance, as well as mask its personality.’


When it comes to the best of British, the success of home-grown wines is set to continue. This is especially the case with English sparkling wine, where industry predictions show that its popularity will outrun that of Champagne within two years. That’s good news for our guests, as Wiston sparkling wine from the quintessentially British Wiston Estate Winery in West Sussex – the very wine used for Britannia’s naming ceremony and inaugural events – is served on board.


It seems we’re all after a taste of something different this summer, too. ‘Wines with enriching and unique stories are proving popular,’ says Olly. ‘Take Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko from Santorini in Greece. The vineyards have been around for hundreds of years, and are woven into the shape of birds’ nests on the ground to protect the grapes from the sun and wind. It’s a unique and traditional technique that creates incredibly pure wines.’


Olly is predicting another trend for this summer: enjoying wine by the glass rather than the bottle. ‘Wine by the glass is the future,’ he says. ‘It’s certainly the story of this summer. In my opinion, the bottle, and in particular the half bottle, is no longer the way forward. People have different tastes and don’t always want to drink what their companion is drinking.’ Every wine in The Glass House is served by the glass, so there’s no need to order a whole bottle if you’re unsure whether you’ll like it, or just because your friend is drinking it. It’s the ideal way to try something new and exciting.

Food Hero Olly Smith

Olly has plenty of advice on the top tipples to try on board

Wines to try this summer

Olly has picked out a selection of wines available on board that are perfect to sample for these summer trends:


Down with the alcohol: to try something that’s lower in alcohol, the fruity fizz of Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui (7%) and Little Eden Moscato (5.5%) are going great guns in The Glass House.


Try something a little different: New World wines, like those from Australia, have incredible personality. The Money Spider Roussanne is extremely popular on board. It’s a beautiful, peachy, zesty white and is a great sign of things to come from down under – wines that are less oaky and have more finesse.


The best of British: I selected Wiston Estate sparkling wine to launch Britannia thanks to its impeccable quality and for its poise between modernity and tradition. Wiston Estate stands for passion and pride. It’s been a technically masterful English sparkling wine producer since 2006, with heritage as a farming estate stretching back to 1743. But the main reason is because its bubbly is irresistibly delicious! In developing the next The Glass House wine list I’m looking to include English still wines, too.


Holiday memories: wines that you’ve tried on shore are great to bring back home to enjoy all year round, and will remind you of your holiday with every sip. A great wine to take home is the beefy Crasto Douro made from local Portuguese grape varieties. And the Malbec is still mighty! The Achaval Ferrer from Mendoza remains popular, and in barbecue season it’s the ultimate all-rounder for a meaty feast.