We all know that wine plays into politics on a regular basis, and not just in places like France where politicians are often called on to regulate wine-related matters. Direct shipping of wine has become a political football in the US, and recently Russia shoved wine to the forefront of its trade dispute with Georgia and Moldova.
The latest political news involving wine, however, has got all the others beat. On a technicality.
In a move that can only be described as bizarre, the state run liquor board in Sweden has decided that all the wine it imports from the Golan Heights will show the country of origin as "Syrian occupied territory" rather than Israel, which is what the bottles used to (and should) read. Strange, no?
Even stranger is the fact that everyone seems to be maintaining that this was a decision that blossomed within the liquor board itself, rather than through pressure from any other arm of government (which is the only way I would have imagined something like this could occur). Who knows what the Foreign Ministry means, exactly, when they say "it had no involvement in the company's final decision," but there are plenty of local politicians who are upset enough by the move to make it seem that this doesn't represent some governmental point of view, at least in aggregate.
Israeli wine producers and trade officials are, of course, furious, but there is little they can do, as the country designation is added in Sweden after the wine is imported.
I hope no one in Congress hears about this -- next time we get into a diplomatic flap with some country about the War on Terror we're likely to start seeing our wines labeled as being from "Evil-doer-istan."
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Bob Cabral of Three Sticks Wines Warm Up: Rotgipfler and Beyond I'll Drink to That: Bernhard Stadlmann of Weingut Stadlmann Vinography Images: Last Light I'll Drink to That: Suzanne Mustacich Warm Up: The Douro I'll Drink to That: João Nicolau de Almeida of Ramos-Pinto Book Signing in St. Helena, December 5, 2015 I'll Drink to That: Carole Meredith of Lagier-Meredith Vineyards Napa's New Reference Point
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune