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Exporting America

exporting.jpgOn my recent trip to Austria, I stopped in at one of the city's more well-regarded chain wine stores, Wein & Co, and took a browse around. I always try to visit wine stores whenever I travel abroad, not only to do a little shopping, but also to get an impression of what the locals are faced with when they pop in to grab a bottle for dinner. I'm interested in the selection of wines on offer - the balance between local wines and imports, the depth of offerings, price ranges, and more. In particular I'm always curious to see what these stores present in the way of American wine.

Wein & Co stocked what I've come to understand as a very typical European offering of American wines, for any given store that has actually decided to bother representing my country. Namely, a few dozen mediocre wines made in huge quantities by some of America's (and really, we're talking almost exclusively about California's) largest wineries; along with a few fairly good wines (usually made by the same companies under more boutique brand names); and on occasion, a luxury wine or two (that may have been recently acquired by the aforementioned massive wineries). In short, a somewhat lacklustre selection from the point of view of someone who understands the depth, diversity, and quality of what America has to offer.

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This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you're not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It's only £6.99 a month or £69 per year ($11/mo or $109 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.

Comments (4)

04.20.12 at 3:57 AM

Alder, my experience with wine shops is relatively slight, but I would say that in New Hampshire imported wines are well represented; so, would you say the opposite is true here in the US?

Alder wrote:
04.20.12 at 7:54 AM


Indeed, we are quite spoiled in the US with the wide variety of global wines on offer in most specialty wine retailers. In lots of middle America grocery stores, you begin to see the same sort of thing -- mostly CA wines with a few huge brands from France and Spain and Italy and that's about it.

Peter Anastopulos wrote:
04.24.12 at 12:07 PM

Trade agreements between the UK and Europe often are a factor in European wine shop selections.Thats why you run into so much Australian and South African wine in Europe .

Peter Anastopulos wrote:
04.25.12 at 1:10 PM

Trade agreements and ignorance are the factors for the poor quality of Wine Shops in Europe.We in the US have the broadest selection of wines from major wines growing regions.The only shop that I have seen that actually carried Boutique American wine was in Harvey Nichols department stone in London.I found a very complete collection of wines from the Sonoma Coast,Williamette ,Paso Robles besides Napa and Sonoma .That is rare in Europe and the ignorance level is really high in France and Germany.

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