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Musings on the Fame of Spanish Wines

Perhaps most importantly, the U.S. wine consumer is typically curious, restless and always looking for something new and exciting. Spanish wines have stepped up to the challenge and captured the attention of America. In general, the American perception of Spanish wine is very positive. It is not perceived as “cheap,” but has a reputation for quality and value. This is an important differentiator in the U.S. market, because once the wine from a certain country is perceived as cheap, it is extremely difficult to change that image. Unfortunately, Chile has been negatively labeled with this perception in the U.S. market.



Courtesy of Wines of Spain

Americans have also embraced many of the fruity-forward crianzas coming out of Spain. The use of new technology, less restrictive winemaking methods, less oak, and more fruit-forward and higher percentage alcohol in the wines have been praised by many wine critics. The positive press received from influential wine critics and writers is another huge reason for Americans embracing Spanish wines. For example, in 2004 when famous wine critic Robert Parker announced that the 2002 Las Rocas Garnacha from Spain was the greatest wine value he had ever tasted and bestowed a rating of 91 points, the wine sold out in most wine shops within 24hours. Since that time, other wines from Spain have received similar ratings, causing Spanish wines to develop a consumer perception of good value and high quality for a moderate price.
The introduction of the tapas bar and restaurant has also been identified as a reason for the rising popularity of Spanish wines in the US. As Americans have become more enraptured with cooking, as seen in the huge rise in popularity of TV channels such as the Food Network and The Cooking Channel, matching regional foods with wine has become a new interest.This has always been the case with Italian wine, because of the large number and popularity of Italian restaurants. Now with new ethnic cuisines becoming popular, Americans are interested in exploring wines from other countries.

The popularity of the Mediterranean Diet has also assisted in bringing Spanish wines notoriety in America. The Spanish diet is heavily influenced by fish/seafood, olive oil, cheese and wine. This diet has been scientifically proven to be a very healthy weight loss diet, which helps lower blood pressure, increase the body’s antioxidants and promote weight loss. The antioxidants present in olive oil and red wine provide a very good cardiovascular diet, by helping maintain the good cholesterol in the body and making the heart more resistant to cardiovascular diseases.

Spain is the third largest wine producing country in the world and has over 2.9 million acres of vineyards.Archaeologists believe that winemaking began in Spain between 4000-3000 BC. Lets raise a glass and continue to enjoy!

Cheers!


In addtion to my own familarity with Spanish wines, I gathered facts from the following article:

Trends &Implications for Spanish Wine Sales in the U.S. Market

Dr. Liz Thach
Associate Professor, Management and Wine Business
School of Business and Economics, Sonoma State University
Dr. Steven Cuellar
Associate Professor of Economics
School of Business and Economics, Sonoma State University

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