As Saturday has finally arrived, it is time to take a look around the web as to what has crossed our path this week:
Hold Placed against Restricting Alcohol Ads
Spain had proposed a restriction against alcohol advertising in attempt to lower the rate of under-age drinking. In the past ten year, 58,000 people have lost their lives to driving related accidents, the majority of which were young adults under the influence of alcohol. Nearly 66 per cent of Spaniards between the ages of 14 and 18 drink alcohol regularly on weekends, according to a national health survey. Albeit a drastic number, it one that the global community suffers from, recognizing that advertising only has so much influence on one’s choice to drink and drive. What Spain will eventually decide is unknown being that the restriction was placed on the back-burner in response to the election occurring in April. As we are all intimately familiar with, hard choices are typically thrown into the air and left standing until the votes are in for one party or the other. We can only hope that whoever takes leadership will consider the balance between alcohol being perceived as part of Spanish culture, as fought by the wine industry, and it being used inappropriately by individuals.
Codorniu Falls from the Top
According to Tempranillo, for the first time ever, Codorniu has reported a fiscal loss of 905,000 euros on 201 million euros of sales between July 2005 and June 2006. The 300+ year old Cava and wine producer has been the giant in the industry for decades, but as a result of both the Cava boycott and internal reorganization, their profits had suffered considerably.
Fortunately, they are predicting a 9 percent increase of sales for this fiscal year, in addition to investing 12 million euros in improvements for their wineries in Rioja, Costers de Segre and Napa, along with Bodegas Bilbainas, Artesa and Raimat. Part of this money will also go to purchasing 150 hectares of vineyards in Uco Valley, Argentina.
Increase in Spanish Wine Exports
According to the statistics from the Spanish wine Federation (FEV), Spanish wine imports increased by 4 percent, or € 1.6 billion ($2.1 billion). In volume, however, exports increased by merely 0.7 percent, up to 1.44 billion litres, as a result of lower sales of both liquor and bulk table wines. Bottled wines under appellation grew by 8.5% in sales, bottled table wines by 3.5% and aromatic wines by 13%.
Overall, Spanish exports improved in value for 2006 as a result of their quality wines. If this trend continues, which it is expected to, we can all assume that exports will increasingly be able to compete on the international wine market.
Although I wrote an article debating how “green” Spain is in their wine making practices, truth be told, they are making quite a name for themselves recently at the Biofach International Organic Food Fair in Nuremberg, Germany – the largest organic wine fair in the world. From February 15th to the 18th, thirteen countries broke the world record to compete against one another entering 1,129 organic wines made by 294 wineries and judged by 43 oenologists, catering experts and wine merchants who voiced their astonishment in the quality of the entries.
Now, before I talk about how “fabulously” Spain did at this competition, allow me to preface this by saying that I am fully aware of how bogus these competitions can be. We at Catavino are no strangers to this money making beast; however, it is information and a good way to potentially familiarize yourself with some wines that you may not have seen before. So, what did Spain win? Spain won five gold medals, 21 silver and 31 special mentions. The 26 medals were dispersed among reds, oaked reds, rosés, sparkling wine, dessert wines and sweet wine. DO Montilla-Moriles, Pedro Ximénez BIO “Piedra Luenga’ by Bodegas Robles, was awarded a Grand Gold, the first medal for dessert wine taken home by Spain at Biofach.
So now you’ve caught up on what’s new on the Iberian wine front. Stay tuned, however, on the early bud break here in Iberia!