Globalization Of Wine
For many decades the interaction of wine across continents involved little more than the exporting of wine cuttings and traditional production expertise. Most wine was consumed locally in the country until transport and communication costs fell in the 1980’s. That made it more affordable for many producers to then focus on export even buying vineyards and wineries abroad to produce wine to blend and make large homogenous quantities to supply big supermaket chains with ” commercial premium wines.
This practise has seen the global wine exports rise from just 3% to over 25% from the late 1980’s to 2004. With the rise of bulk shipping technology enabling quantities of up to 24000 ltrs to be shipped in bladders the exporting of commercial premium wines offer greater opportunity to blend wines from any region of the world.
With Europe producing 65 – 70 % of world wine and New world countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South America all on the rise feeding the bulk market, so does this actually mean that some premium wine markets will see homogonization occuring around the world and more consistent flavours and aromas to offer the consumer.
The answer is both YES and No.
Yes as companies grow and expand and begin to blend larger and larger quantites the consumer can expect some consistency in brands they enjoy.
No many similarities in production methods across the globe still produce very different tastes in the same varieties simply because the soil, the fruit, and the climate are so different. Globalization in the industry has seen forms or vineyards bought by winemakers from other countries who have maintained their production standards just adapted it to the fruit and the harvest in different countries.
The positive to the consumer is the diversity and taste that can be available from globalization. Certain indigenous varieties from climatically different areas also bring great diversity. The different environments that the grape variety develops in will bring out different aromas so the consumer now gets to choose from what country they enjoy say a cabernet sauvignon or a chardonnay for instance. Another benefit of globalization is there are now so many different types of wine for different types of consumer-available for all to try.
In Closing, I would add that diversity is available from all corners of the earth and with changing climates and movement toward organic farming to protect the environment. Biodiversity becoming more important creating even more choices. The consumer is the winner hands down.
By Andrew Bassett