Half a glass

Comes word from Brussels that negotiators for the European Union on one side of the table and Americans on the other have settled, sort of, their long-running dispute over geographic terms and wine-making methods that American exporters can use in Europe. Local or global, it's not as straightforward as it seems.

Buy Local poster1.JPG Chateau Marquet.JPG
Three Washington wineries produced their own promotional poster. Bordeaux wine was a hit at an Alliance Francaise dinner celebrating French Language Week at the Art Institute of Seattle.

Champagne, Port, Sherry, etc., are clearly place names associated with distinct winemaking styles. Restricting their use on labels doesn't strike me as "protectionist;" far from it. Buying and drinking "local" has plenty of merits, too.

On the other hand, why should the EU object to imported wines from irrigated vineyards, or flavored with oak chips just because these techniques are forbidden to local producers?

Then again, why are the Californians upset that European governments provide direct subsidies to their wine industry? Water and energy, two of the most costly ingredients in agriculture, are artificially cheap in the US, but that massive hidden subsidy never gets acknowledged. If the Europeans hadn't given in, though, the Americans were threatening to make their lives miserable.

This way, we'll still be able to celebrate a very low-key Washington Wine Month even as we drink the delicious Chateau Marquet from Bordeaux ($12.95 at Champion Cellars); one assumes the French will get Gallo of Sonoma. Fair?


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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on March 11, 2006 4:06 PM.

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