Friday, March 20, 2009

Marketing decides, not climate

The fact that climatically suitable grapes such as Baco Noir, Marechal Foch, Dechaunac, Vidal, etc. have a harder time selling in Ontario's wine market really speaks to the fact that we have, in essence, a marketing-driven culture.

We go for things whose names appear over and over again in the media: we do not, as a rule, take our cues from the connections that exist between our native environment and climatically suitable plants. That just doesn't interest us for some reason.

One result is that marginally suitable grapes, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, are more in demand - and wineries are compelled to plant them - than are those grapes whose innate characteristics and evolutionary history actually make them a more harmonious fit.

Strange, isn't it?

What will have to happen before our culture matures past its addiction to marketing slogans and flashy images that deliver allusions to grandeur? When will grape varieties that are in proper tune with our climate start forming the basis of new regional wine identities?

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