Wine Culture – What makes the difference?!
Spain has 67 denominations of origin. 67 geographic qualifications which assure controlled production under the supervision of a regulated council which in this case is the European Union. 67 suggestions we can confide in as they are supposed to guarantee security, genuine cultivation and the minimum of quality. 67 hallmarks promising safety of one particular product.
As a buyer you study the label which tells you the denomination and the variety the wine has been elaborated with. It supposedly makes the purchase easier … if you know the characteristics of every single denomination. Because if you do then you simply concentrate on those you prefer and simply rule out those you don’t like. But if you are not familiar with all these particular distinctions then you probably chose according to appearance, country or variety and above all price.
New World wines don’t have denominations of origin consequently the purchase seems less complicated. Australia, New Zealand, California, Argentina or Chile – five mega zones against sixty-seven micro geographic indications! Of course it’s easier to establish preference between five countries than to choose from sixty-seven different territorial suggestions. But then again can the New World claim to have a wine culture at all? If Cataluña, the Old World, is losing ground because the Catalans don’t drink their own wine and therefore is struggling to maintain a wine culture how can any New World zone that makes industrial wine ever assert so?
So what is happening? What makes the difference? A simple wine? A simple label preferably in English? The most economic price? We are facing a debate about the future of the Old World, about whether the simplified New World is the better way. Thus accordingly we should get rid of denominations and simplify the message to be more competitive because the EU is spending too much money for wine that is too complicated to dig. Shall I produce cheap bad wine with a funky cool New World label for the ignorant consumer?
No, thank you. Wine is about passion, unfortunately the money aspect is moving more and more into the foreground ripping wine off its exclusivity that once used to be its stigma.
We don’t need any standardization. What we need are educated consumers! Knowing the minimum about the characteristics and the benefits of wine would be just enough to seal the crack. Consumers who are familiar with the difference that actually makes the difference.