Changing to Suit the Times
Changes in our likes, dis-likes and demands as consumers, warming and cooling of grape growing regions, and innovations are all involved in the changes the wine industry is making. Here are a few examples:
We all know that the Champagne region in France is known for their premium Champagnes, sparkling wine. But did you know the reason the area is so well situated for creating great Champagne is primarily due to the temperatures. This cooler climate causes the grapes to ripen less, making great champagne. The non-sparkling version of Champagne, or know as still wine, is unapproachable to most consumers. It is overly acidic, it is light bodied, and not good. The process of making it ‘sparkling,’ brings the still wine to a character that is delightful.
Over the past decade, the region has seen warming temperatures, ripening the grapes more. This provides richer and fruiter still wine, one that is very pleasing. Currently the region is producing around 75,000 bottles of still wine and they expect this to continue to grow.
Portugal’s Douro & Porto regions, known exclusively for wonderful Port is now producing terrific unfortified wines, both red and white. This is in part to less demand for fortified Port but is also driven by innovative winemakers choosing to produce some amazing table wines from the regional grapes. Portugal will always produce Port, however less demand means less production.
A traditional of enjoying a sweet wine at the end of a meal is also shrinking, so regions historically producing ice wine or heavier sweet wines are changing and creating amazing dry versions. The region of Pantelleria, known for highly sought-after sweet dessert wines, has doubled their production of a Pantelleria table wine. The demand for the dry table wines from the ancient grape varietals of the area continues to grow.
These are only a few grape growing regions that are changing with the times. As out tastes change, demand changes and wine makers world-wide are watching and taking notes.