Text Size:-+
08.19.2006

THIS is Wine Globalization

In case anyone was still on the fence about this whole globalization phenomena, the latest news from Germany should be enough to convert even those few who might still be clinging to the notion that it's not all just one big global economy. The famed Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Germany, home to some of the country's best wines, is about to have its name changed to make its wines more "accessible" to consumers.

In case it's not perfectly clear, those consumers AREN'T the Germans.

No, the Germans don't seem to have issues pronouncing the names of places like Gimmeldinger Mandelgarten that often appear on German wine labels along with several other multi-syllabic terms. It's us Americans (and many other global consumers) that get tongue tied, intimidated, and confused by wines that seem to have names that include more than ten words.

So who cares about the folks who can't even pronounce Grüner Veltliner properly?

Apparently the winegrowers of the Mosel do, which is why they're lobbying the German government fairly hard to change the name of the region (or at least the regulations for what must be put on wine labels) to simply, Mosel.

I couldn't have imagined a more perfect example of the inextricable interconnectedness of global commerce these days, especially in the wine industry. And how beautifully it walks the razor's edge of both good and bad aspects of the phenomenon.

Critics of globalization might look at this latest development as a depressing sign of the dumbing-down and homogenization of culture: can you believe that some country is forced to change a centuries old name for a wine region just to sell wine to the world? Those more comfortable with the phenomenon might point out how it's actually the winegrowers themselves that are responding to what they see as an opportunity to sell more of their wine to a broader population than ever before.

It's very interesting to me that the German government seems much more amenable to this move than the French would be. Apparently it took some lobbying, for some time, on the part of the growers to get this change through, but it's fairly major compared to the abortive efforts that have been attempted many times in France to simply get varietal names onto bottles. That's not changing the name of Saint Emilion, mind you, that's just adding the little words "Cabernet Sauvignon" somewhere on the front of the label. Perhaps the French can learn some lessons from their Eastern neighbor to assist with their current troubles.

I'd like to go on the record as applauding this move by the Germans. I think there is little "cultural value" to be lost in such a move as this (the road maps will still read what they have always read). How much there is to be gained in intelligibility for the global consumer remains to be seen. Even with the shortened name "Mosel Leiwener Klostergarten Riesling Kabinett" is still a bit of a mouthful. But a tasty one to be sure.

Read the full story.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 28, 2015 Brand vs. Terroir in Wine I'll Drink to That: Andrea Fassone of Enotria Wine Imports Vinography Images: Independence Vineyard Warm Up: The Italian Influence in California I'll Drink to That: Megan Glaab of Ryme Cellars Listen Up!! I'll Drink to That on Vinography A First Taste of Idaho Wine Tasting Integrity: 25 Years of Corison Napa Cabernet Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 21, 2015

Favorite Posts From the Archives

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

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud