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04.27.2005

The Appellation System is Meaningless?

This belongs in the "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" category of silly panel findings and institute resolutions. According to a news item in Decanter Magazine this morning, it seems that European Confederation of Independent Winemakers (CEVI), whoever they are, has decided that the system of appellations govering most European winegrowing and winemaking operations is doing more harm than good. "Three quarters of all wine produced in Europe now bears a specific geographic reference. The more this happens, the more devalued it becomes, and the less consumers want to pay for it."

Whoa.

Yeah, whenever I actually find out where a wine is from, I automatically want to pay a lot less for it.

It's one thing to say that the apellation systems have issues -- they're too restrictive in terms of winegrowing practices, draconian in their restrictions on labeling and naming, and weighed down by the now-meaningless baggage of royalty, prestige, and false connotations of quality -- but that doesn't mean they need to be taken out behind the barn and shot.

Just in case you needed any further proof of how lame this pronouncement is, check out this quote: "We wanted to use AOC to help differentiate our offering in the New World, but now they have it too." Yes, that's right. The whole reason you came up with the idea of calling Burgundy something else than Bordeaux was to make sure that you had a marketing edge on California wines. And yes, it's a sad day now that Sonoma county has sub-appellations, because it means that Savennieres and Sancerre really just don't mean the same thing they used to.

Where do they find these people!? And how do they get them to say such funny things?

This group was formed to lobby the EU regarding its winemaking laws. Let's hope that there are also some voices of reason there among the madmen.

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