How DFS Master Curator Brooke Supernaw Predicts What People Would Buy
What are people drinking now? That’s always the question on Brooke Supernaw’s mind being the DFS Group’s senior vice president spirits, wine, tobacco and gifts, and master of curation of the DFS Masters of Wines and Spirits for the eighth year running.
“Part of my job is to identify new trends in the market by studying the business and buyers, so we can make sure we’re always one step ahead,” she told T.Dining, adding that consumers now prefer quality over quantity. “People are drinking less but better.”
This was reflected in a recent report done by the International Wine and Spirits research group, which predicted that, by 2020, the still and sparkling wine market will have grown by 2.15 per cent due to more customers choosing premium labels.
It goes to show that people have become more discerning, which Supernaw happily admitted was in line with their strategy in curating this year’s impressive catalogue of more than 140 masterpieces from 60 of the world’s most legendary wine and spirits houses—90 per cent of which are exclusive to DFS.
Discovering these rare and unique gems “is a never-ending process” because it involves travelling to places like Napa Valley, Bordeaux and Cognac, talking to big and small brands and finding out if they have something extra special than what they normally offer.
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One of the DFS’ rarest finds is The Macallan 72 Year Old in Lalique – The Genesis Decanter, the oldest expression ever released that comes in a bespoke, limited-edition crystal decanter handcrafted by Lalique. Supernaw added: “There are only 600 decanters in the world; we were able to get a hold of one bottle but we’ve sold it already.”
With wines, Supernaw said that they always look for first growths like Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Latour; also for up-and-coming boutique wineries that they believe will surprise drinkers.
Brooke was excited to introduce the Continuum Tim Mondavi Library Vertical Selection, a flight of its stellar vintages from 2010 to 2015 and famous for their supple tannins and richness; with age, critics believe it will become an even greater beauty.
Similarly, the Château Lafite Rothschild double magnum collection gives collectors a chance to own three of its great vintages: 1988, 1998 and 2008. “Each one tells a different story…the '88 has great depth and length, while '98 is the wine of the vintage with its nice structure and great body. '08 is one that I like a lot as it has a good backbone and acidity,” said Fabrice Papin, the château’s international sales manager.
Other than people drinking better, Supernaw said there’s also a growing interest in single malt whiskies, which is why they have a breadth of single malt whiskies in their current catalogue. “It’s definitely a connoisseur’s category and there’s so much more to discover here.”
(Related: Why More Women Choose Whisky As Their Drink Of Choice)
Perfect examples are the elegant and complex Port Ellen 39-Year-Old from a renowned ghost distillery (that will re-open soon), The Glenfiddich 45-Year-Old and the Karuizawa Single Cask 1995. The latter comes from the last cask of the Karuizawa Single Malt before the Japanese distillery shuttered for good; they only produced 124 bottles, so it won’t be surprising if these get snapped up quickly.
Gin is also a category that has been exploding in recent years. “It’s an interesting spirit with many botanicals,” quipped Supernaw, so they’ve included Californian, Scottish, English and even Singaporean varieties in their collection.
Supernaw confirmed that the drinks scene is a robust industry that keeps on growing, and a fun one to watch… and toast to.