David Williams, a wine journalist for The Guardian, wrote his latest column about “a relatively small but exciting wine scene in a European country run by a corrupt, instinctively illiberal government, led by a cynical populist who conspicuously fails to condemn the mob of terrifyingly violent, irredeemably racist football fans that follow the national football team.”
Pour me a glass.
It gave me the idea to write more often about the positive aspects of countries run by authoritarian rulers. In order to not let those people determine the impression of their country. Williams’ again: “We should try to avoid conflating a country – and everything and everyone found there – with its rulers.”
What’s up with wine in Hungary?
Hungary’s most famous red wine style is called bull’s blood. A blended red wine produced around Eger in Northern Hungary that carries the soil’s flavour of local production sites and a mezzo-climate unique to the region. Also: Many of the most interesting red wines in Hungary are based on the Blaufränkisch grape variety. Learn more about Hungarian wine at Williams’ column.
What is unique about European wine?
Wine history started in Europe. So wine reflects European culture in many ways. Viniculture has shaped European landscapes and the people who live there. And like everywhere, the flavours echo the land in which the vine grows. European wines are mainly named after where they were created (not after the grapes), and most European wines have less fruitiness than others due to their traditional grape varieties and winemaking methods.
Give me some economic input.
This year’s wine harvest is set to be historically low in Europe after drought, hail, and disease damaged crops. EU wine production in 2021 is projected to be 147 million hectolitres (a hectolitre is equal to 100 litres). This is 13 per cent lower than the 2020 production. But still, European winemakers account for almost two-thirds of the world’s wine production.
Which EU country will produce the most?
With an estimated production of 44.5 million hectolitres in 2021 (a drop of 9 per cent), Italy would remain the biggest EU producer, followed by Spain (39 million hectolitres, down 15 per cent) and France (33.3 million hectolitres, a decrease of 27 per cent). The production of those three member states accounts for almost 80 per cent of EU production. – By the way: Hungary’s forecast for 2021 is 2.9 million hectolitres, which is about the level of Austria and Greece. Hungary has increased production with countries like Germany, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Slovakia.
What about climate change?
This has a significant effect on the cultivation. The growing areas tend to migrate north. In addition, the European Commission writes: “The amplitude of production variations is increasing from year to year. … This instability in volumes produced appears to be the direct consequence of major climatic hazards that are less and less predictable and more and more frequent.”
The wine market is stagnant, so the fight for existing customers is being waged by all means – above all, with innovations, for the benefit of the customers. “The major opportunity for the players to grab the market is by launching innovative solutions to cater to the market,” Mordor Intelligence, a business consulting company from India, says in their market overview of European wine. – One idea that goes beyond Europe: The Borderless Wine.
PS: If you are interested in more of Williams’ columns. Here is a selection sorted by country or regions: Southwest France, Mediterranean, Portugal & Spain, England I and II, Southern Italy, Bordeaux (France), France, Austria, Tuscany (Italy), Portugal, Sicilian (Italy), Greece, Germany.
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