According to the American journalist Gerry Dawes who will be participating at FENAVIN 2007
The American writer and photographer Gerry Dawes will be participating in the round table on the "Present and Future of Spanish Wines in Traditional Markets: Germany, United Kingdom and United States", to be held within the frame of the National Trade Fair on Wine, FENAVIN-2007. The British and German journalists John Radford and David Schwarzwälder will also be participating.
According to the American journalist " nowadays stores that are specialized in wines offer the possibility of tasting Spanish wines, describing these wines with terms that make them shine and excel on their web sites and in their newsletters. Most wine lovers now consider that Spanish wines are amongst the best to be found in the world. Quite probably the general reputation has never been better, although the danger resides in that many of the wines responsible for this new trend in Spain are not necessary the wines that are suited for long maturation ".
"It is a fact that many of them will last a maximum of a decade, and if they actually last this long, many of them will quite likely lose the new-oak flavor that determines one of wine's final characteristics. Others, including many of the expensive wines, are far too mature, with high alcohol grades, which do not age as they should. What actually allows wines to age correctly is the acidity, a good balance and sufficient experience in the elaboration of wine, and not the alcohol content or the new oak", he continues.
Dawes also comments that "amongst wealthy Americans and new wine lovers, who I call 'new eno-wealthy', interest in Spanish wines is growing quickly, although unfortunately most of them are in love with the "Parkerist" (Robert Parker recommended wines) type wines. These are wines with an intense dark color, containing very mature fruits, with very high alcohol content and too much new oak. However, Spanish wine sales continue on the rise".
INCREASE IN SALES OF SPANISH WINES IN THE UNITED STATES
The journalist informs that "in the year 2006 the 'Los Angeles Times' informed that Spanish wine sales in the United States increased in 14.6% between 2004 and 2006, going from 3.8 million boxes, for a value of 183 million dollars, to 4.3 million boxes, for a value of 209 million dollars".
Spanish wine sales in the United States started to climb in the year 1999 after a decade in which total sales, which had been stagnant, had only reached approximately 75 million dollars a year.
"A rapidly growing interest in Spanish wines is to be found amongst new wine lovers, and in this case we are talking about wines from regions such as: Rías Baixas, Jumilla, Bierzo and Rueda. While in the case of exclusive and renown wine brands, new wine lovers highlight examples such as Dominio de Pingus or L'Ermita, some of which have been an absolute sales success. Very expensive Spanish wines are receiving a lot of attention: although most sales do not correspond to these wines and I don't really think this is where Spain should continue to concentrate their promotional efforts", he underlines.
Apart from very expensive wines and cult wines with recognition awards, Spain has many other types of different wines to sell. Notwithstanding, it is interesting to sell the previous type of wine so that the country's reputation and ego can grow. Even so, they must be very clear on the fact that these are not the wines mainly destined to the high-consumer market.
Gerry Dawes asserts that "until just recently the average consumer only took into account Spanish wines such as: Rioja, Torres, Sangre de Toro or others such as cavas or very economical wines. However, thanks to the growing reputation of Spanish cuisine, the popularity of Spanish wines in American restaurant wine lists and wine stores, including American magazines on wines and publications that are in general favorable, have insured that more and more consumers are learning about the numerous varieties of wines to be found in Spain".
"Once Spain learns to not give so much importance to new oak barrels, to fruits that are too mature and to a high alcohol content in wine as virtues, then we will start to see some truly exceptional wines in production areas with extraordinary characteristics, although with a harmonious balance between finesse, delicacy, style and yes, even, charm", he underlines.
Now is the time to reconsider continuing with production of "Parkerist" wines, in particular since Robert Parker is no longer reviewing Spanish wines. Apart from the fact that two or three American importers have real "connections" with Parker, reason why if you are not with them then you are not lucky enough to obtain the highest scoring for your wines. Making good, appealing wines that can be sold and enjoyed in restaurants, in particular, and that insure a continuation in business, both in the HORECA sector and the retail market, is the best direction that Spanish wines can take along this long journey.
SPECIALIZED JOURNALIST IN SPANISH GASTRONOMY, WINE AND TOURISM
Gerry Dawes is a writer and photographer from New York. His work is mainly based on gastronomy, wine and tourism, specializing in Spain. He has lived in Spain for eight years, having extensively traveled the country during the last thirty years. He frequently visits Spain, up to eight times a year. In the last decade he has made more than seventy trips related with food and wine, apart from organizing gastronomic and enological trips to Spain. Thus he has become one of the best connoisseurs in the United States on Spanish wine and gastronomy.
According to the magazine Food Arts, Dawes is known as "Mr. Spain in the world of wine and amongst the press". The gourmet newsletter "The Rosengarten Report" says that "Gerry Dawes has become a very recognized American lecturer, consultant and writer on Spanish wines. Likewise the magazines "The New York Times", "James Beard Foundation", "60 Minutes" and "CNN" all went out in search of Gerry's wisdom on the matter of Spanish wine, food and culture".
Dawes has published approximately hundred articles and photographs on Spanish food and wine and he quite frequently lectures on gastronomy, wine and culture, both in the United States and Spain.
Gerry Dawes received an award from the Spanish Gastronomy Academy, the National Gastronomy Marqués de Busianos 2003 Award, for his writing, photography and conferences on Spanish gastronomy and wines. He is the only non-Spanish person to receive the award: Cena de los 11 Vinos (The 11-Wines Dinner), an award specially created to honor those significantly contributing to an increase in the image and culture of Spanish wine.