US and EU winegrowers hit back at Trump’s proposed Tariffs on EU wine

US members of international grower organization Wine Origins Alliance have written to the government’s trade representative, calling for the scrapping of proposed tariffs on EU wine.
In a letter to US trade representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, the group strongly urged him to exclude wine and wine products from the list of goods that may be subject to WTO tariff countermeasures, as a result of a WTO dispute over EU subsidies to Airbus.

It echoes a similar letter from the organization’s European contingent to the European Trade Commissioner, signed by representatives from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, Chianti, Rioja, and Jerez.

The Wine Origins Alliance comprises 25 organizations across 10 counties, which together represents nearly 80,000 wineries and growers, who are focussed on promoting and protecting wine growing place names worldwide and preventing the purposeful misuse of geographic names.

The appeal after the US government identified $21 billion-worth of EU good imports, including wine and cheese, which it said could be subject to tariffs in the ratcheting up of trade hostilities between the two blocks in response to the EU subsiding aerospace and defense group Airbus. Last year the WTO ruled the EU subsidies to the company were illegal in the culmination of a 14-year dispute between Airbus and US company Boeing.

In response the EU is also expected to authorize tariffs countermeasures on US-made wine and other products.

The letter pointed out that the US and the EU are two of the world’s leading wine producers and last year collectively exporting $28 billion of product and urged the US trade representative to remove wine from the list and work with the EU to reduce and eliminate tariffs.

“We urge you to work with the EU government to reduce or eliminated wine tariffs, not raise them. Promoting wine exports by removing trade barriers is critical to driving industry growth and creating new industry jobs,” it said.

Signatories of the letter include the President of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, Linda Reiff, Sonoma County Vintners’ executive director Michael Haney, Oregon Winegrowers Association CEO Tom Danowski, alongside representatives from Pasa Robles Wine Country Alliance, the Long Island Wine Council, Santa Barbara Vintners, the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, and Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

In a similar move, the presidents of the Conseil Interprofessional du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico, Bureau Interprofessional des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB), Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja, Comité Champagne and Consejo Regulador del Vino del Jerez urged the EC’s Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström to exclude wine from any list of goods on the tariff countermeasure list.

Source: Drinks Business

Sustainable, Organic, Lower-alcohol and Alternative Wine go Mainstream

A recent Sola Report from Wine Intelligence highlights that there is a huge opportunity for the industry to produce more alternative wines.

The Sola Report is an acronym for the alternative wines sector, which includes sustainable, organic, lower-alcohol and other alternative wines. The Sola Report tracks how the alternative wine market changes from year to year, and includes an opportunity index, which crosses 11 markets and 12 sub-categories – this determines where Sola wines have the greatest chance of success.

Emily Carroll, who compiled the report for Wine Intelligence, said the “prominence of the organic movement continues to be evident: organic wine tops the Sola wine opportunity index for the second year in a row, most likely due to the popularity of organic food across the world.

“Following closely behind is Fairtrade wine and generic concept wines ‘sustainably produced’ and ‘environmentally friendly’— all three types associated with a blend of social, economic and environmental responsibility.”

She said increasing awareness among consumers for alternative wines was the result of a “fundamental shift in consumer attitudes, led by the younger generation. What was once seen as ‘hippy’ is now the mainstream, with many consumers, particularly those under the age of 45, adopting socially, environmentally and economically responsible habits. This requires companies to act more ethically responsible and more transparent, which naturally also applies to the wine industry”.

She added that “younger wine drinkers present the most opportunity for alternative wines due to their open-minded attitudes and willingness to invest time, education and money into their health. Young wine drinkers are not only more likely to purchase alternative wines such as organic, Fairtrade or sustainable wines compared with older drinkers, but are also more willing in general to pay a premium for wine in the off- and on-trade”.

However, she said, the challenge would be to “engage this cohort with the alternative wine category, as younger consumers are very much attuned to other drinks categories, like craft beer and gin, and also are less likely to be participants in the alcoholic beverage category to begin with”.

She also said there is “less appeal for alternative wines with more complex titles including orange or skin contact wine as well as biodynamic wine. Interestingly, even though veganism and vegetarianism is on the rise, these two Sola wine categories rank the lowest in the 2019 global Sola wine opportunity index”.

The first Sola report was released in 2018. It surveyed consumer sentiment towards 12 alternative wine types in 11 key wine markets, looking at awareness, purchase intent and affinity towards alternative wines. The 2019 report has been expanded to include vegetarian wine and five new markets and is “now representative of 250 million regular wine drinkers from a broad spread of geography, culture and economic development”.

Air Canada Sommelier Veronique Rivest Talks Wine in the Sky

Award-winning Canadian Sommelier, Veronique Rivest, is Air Canada’s very own sommelier. The Quebec-born Rivest explains how she chooses wines for Air Canada’s premium passengers.

Why did you choose to partner with Air Canada? Tell us about your role as Air Canada Sommelier

Veronique: I’ve worked with restaurants, hotels, and other establishments—but never an airline! It’s definitely an exciting avenue to explore. I’m really proud to be working with Canada’s national carrier, which is allowing me to showcase the work of many talented Canadian and international winemakers to a premium clientele who enjoy exploration and adventure.

What makes wine taste good (or bad) in the air?

Veronique: Environment has a huge influence on the way we taste, including who we’re with and the space we’re in. Then, flights bring up other considerations. I think about the way wine will make customers feel in the air—what will be uplifting instead of bringing passengers down and making them tired. We know from research that food and wine can taste different at 30,000 feet. At the start of my partnership with Air Canada, I did my own tasting in the air and discovered that modern planes might lessen, but not remove the effects of altitude.

Luckily the Boeing 787s are equipped with special technology to counteract dry cabin environment, which vastly improves both air quality and humidity and has a positive effect on taste buds—meaning the wines on our lists taste fantastic at cruising altitude!

How do you ensure wines will taste “right” at 30,000 feet?

Veronique: I try to select wines that are vibrant, without too much tannin or oak, to contrast with the cabin environment and keep passengers feeling energized.

What do you take into consideration when pairing wine with the in-flight menu?

Veronique: First and foremost, because the food and wine menus don’t change at the same time, I always make sure to select well-balanced wines. I then assess whether or not the wine is “food-friendly”, as some wines pair well with more foods than others. Overall, I look for wines that have fresh acidity, with moderate alcohol levels and bright flavours.

What types of wines make your lists?

Veronique: The wine list for Air Canada Signature Class changes every three months and is designed to pair with Chef Hawskworth’s delicious menu items. Depending on the routes, there are always four to five wines (a combination of reds and whites) on the menu, plus one champagne. In North America Business Class, the wine menu is meant to be paired with gourmet cuisine. And I always strive to feature at least one Canadian wine to showcase our country’s many great wineries and give passengers a little taste of home.

Here is a short video how she chooses the vintages served to Air Canada passengers. Also, find out what it takes to pair food and wine at 30,000 feet.

https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/about/media/media-features/wine-in-the-sky.html

Happy National Wine Day, santé!

Liz Palmer and
Val from Air Canada

European Wine is dominating Canada

New statistics released last month by Canada’s national statistics agency confirm that wine is increasingly gaining popularity. Canadian consumers’ attention seems to be drawn to foreign products. Statistics show that 70% of the total wine consumed in Canada between 2017 and 2018 was imported.

Canada is a market that the European Union cannot underestimate. While beer seems to retain its position as Canadians’ favorite alcoholic beverage (39, 68% of the value of total alcoholic beverages sales), Canada’s national statistics agency has data to confirm that wine is not far from gaining first place (32,43%). This is a tendency arisen within the last 10 years: wine sales in Canada have been consistently increasing year on year (averaging 4,2% a year; 4,6% compared with the previously investigated fiscal year, 2016/17). At a global level, analysis by Organisation Internationale de la Vigne et du Vin (OIV) on the state of the viticulture in the world market has found that in 2018 Canada was the 13th country in terms of wine consumption, but the 6th for volume of imported wine (joint with the Netherlands). As mentioned above, Canada’s significant wine import rate is confirmed by Canada’s own data, which reports that 70% of the wine consumed in Canada between 2017 and 2018 was of foreign origin.

The Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union played a fundamental role in imported wine’s conquer of the Canadian market. The treaty was provisionally applied on September 21th, 2018, and eliminated 98% of the exporting tariffs between the signing countries. The CETA also signified the official acknowledgment of European denominations of origin, a remarkable achievement for high-quality European products. For the first time, the treaty banned the sale in Canada of imitations of 140 European delicacies, making European designations of origin an unequivocal guarantee of products origin and craft.

However, protecting these products from imitations is not enough. In order to make the most of this opportunity, the European quality system needs to be demystified and communicated to the ordinary customer. According to NGO participant Kurtis Kolt, wine consultant and sommelier, wine experts are aware of the superior craft of EU products marked with quality labels, but the difference is still unclear to the general public: It should not be taken for granted that everyone knows what PDO and PGI mean.

This is precisely why the European Union has created educational programs such as Native Grape Odyssey. Comments from participants confirm that the full potential of European wines in the Canadian market is still to be expressed: “Wine consumption, sales, intrigue and interest are on the rise in Canada currently and it is a great time for the premium wine market. Wine is currently on trend in Canada and it is a great time to focus on more niche or lesser known wines varietals and regions.“ commented Jeffery Osborne, Sales Manager at Grape Brands Ltd. and sommelier.

The situation seems promising for European exports in Canadian market, but these products need to be properly introduced and explained to the consumer. This is a role that only people of authority within the market can undertake. The above-mentioned 25 wine experts have thus found in NGO a way to deepen their knowledge about the subject, so that they can effectively express it to the Canadian market. Joanne DiGeso, wine educator, stated that NGO has perfectly identified what is needed to take European wine sales in Canada to the next level: «I think that NGO is doing great work at educating influencers, sommeliers and educators on the broader range of Italian wines. This, in turn, should ‘trickle down’ to consumers.» Sommelier Jeffery Osborne commented further by praising NGO’s educational activities content: «NGO-organised seminars are fantastic deep dives into perspectives on the grapes and wines which we are typically not exposed to by CMS or WSET. »

The success of this first edition encouraged NGO’s organizers to expand the program: large scale events have already been planned for the months to come, and this time NGO will literally bring European excellence to the world, organizing educational activities directly in the target countries.

About: Native Grape Odyssey is a project financed by the European Union and managed by Unione Italiana Vini and Zante Agricultural Cooperatives Union for the promotion of PDO and PGI European wines abroad, in particular in three countries: Japan, Canada and Russia. In order to achieve this, the Native Grape Odyssey educational program will organize wine seminars, workshops and b2b meetings both in these countries and in Verona, Italy, inviting wine experts and influencers from these countries. These events, realized in the span of three years (2019-21) aim at creating awareness about European native wines abroad, in particular, Italian and Greek wines, which share a long tradition and a high standard of quality.

Source:
Native Grape Odyssey (NGO), an EU-financed educational project for the promotion of European native grapes

Moet Hennessy acquires Provence rose winery Château du Galoupet

Moët Hennessy, the wine & spirits arm of LVMH announced last week that they have agreed to purchase Chateau du Galoupet, a winery that specializes in Provence rosé. This will be the group’s first producer of rose wine.

Chateau du Galoupet is a 17th-century estate in the Provence region on the Mediterranean coast. The purchase includes 68 hectares of vines and the selling point for the estate is the
micro-climate, which “refreshes the vines with temperate and salty winds” which ensures consistent yields, the French luxury group said.

“In response to growing demand in France and around the world, Château du Galoupet offers a renowned rosé wine, combining ancestral methods and technical precision, adhering to the strict requirements of the fine wines of Provence,” Moët Hennessy said in a statement.

LVMH’s wine and spirits portfolio includes Champagnes like Dom Perignon and Ruinart, as well as Hennessy Cognac. Other acquisitions have included top-shelf makers of Bordeaux and Burgundy like the Clos des Lambrays estate whose grand cru bottles can retail north of $260. Now rising demand for rose — which has lately become emblematic of South-of-France savoir vivre and a staple for daytime summer parties — has seen the French luxury conglomerate buy an estate whose bottles still retail for less than $15.

Exports of Provencal rose have risen 14-fold over the past 10 years, trade association CIVP said. Exports rose 8% in value last year, roughly three times the increase for French wines overall.