Robert Joseph, Víctor de la Serna and Florencio López Navarro will be contrasting their varied experiences and discussing the pros and cons involved in the global economy of wine
The objective behind this round table, included in FENAVIN 2007's Program of Activities - a trade fair that will take place from May 7th to the 10th at the Ciudad Real Trade Fair Pavilion-, is to analyze the phenomenon of globalization in those aspects that directly concern the wine-growing sector.
Globalization has been defined as a "fundamentally economic process that consists in increased integration of the different national economies into a unique global capitalistic market". According to the RAE Dictionary (Royal Spanish Academy), globalization is the "tendency of the markets and companies to extend, reaching a global dimension that reaches further beyond national borders". Although, apart from the specifically mercantile component, the phenomenon also involves profound social-cultural implications.
In this context, wine, understood as a business and yet as a culture, is not in the least bit foreign to the globalizing trend. Speakers at this round table -all of whom enjoy extensive and varied experience- will be analyzing the current situation of the global wine market in depth, from different perspectives, proposing paths that in their opinion are more recommendable for the future of Spanish wines in the 'global village'. Questions such as, should I continue producing the same wine as ever and sell it no matter the price?, or, should I perhaps continue along the same lines that the so-called 'international consumer' has marked-out? will all be answered during the debate that is to take place at FENAVIN.
Robert Joseph is the founder of the 'International Wine Challenge', one of the greatest and most prestigious wine contests in the world, with outstanding sector experts evaluating over 9000 samples in each edition. He is also the author of more than 25 books, Chief Editor of the magazine 'Wine Business International' and habitually publishes 'The Joseph Report'. His privileged position in a wine market as dynamic and open as the one to be found in the United Kingdom provides him with an extensive overview of the phenomenon involving globalization.
Víctor de la Serna is Deputy Director of the daily newspaper 'El Mundo', columnist on gastronomy and wines in diverse publications (amongst them 'Decanter') and he is also a vine grower and winemaker. He is one of the most highly respected journalists in the Spanish wine world, having created 'Finca Sandoval' in the year 1998, a small winery located in the province of Cuenca in the region of La Mancha where he elaborates high quality wines, which are receiving excellent scores both in Spain and abroad. Within the context of this round table, his concerns revolve around "globalization under the shape of the growing importance of the few multinationals that control growing percentages of 'supermarket' wine in the world". The uniformity, at certain levels, that wine from numerous and diverse origins is undergoing, as well as the impact that opening of markets as extensive as Russia, China or India can have on wine, are other approximations to the matter of globalization that Víctor de la Serna will be stressing.
Florencio López Navarro is the President of 'Quality Wines of Spain' (QWS), importer company with registered office in New York, with a select catalog that includes more than fifty Spanish quality wines. Founded in 2003, the company currently distributes its products in more than 25 markets inside the United States. The magazine 'The Wine Advocate' includes the company in the small group of "new importers that are marking tendencies and discovering (for the US market) wonderful wines that would otherwise be absolutely unknown".
López Navarro's experience in the United States has led him to emphasize "the tremendous importance of preserving the 'Spanish Identity', in particular when referring to grape varieties and production methods. Selling Spanish wines elaborated with French varieties is practically impossible over here. The American consumer is not able to assume Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon and Spain as one same product. Apart from the fact that California, Australia and other countries have already taken over the spread of 'French' grapes on this market". However, López Navarro affirms that the matter is quite different when dealing with Tempranillo, Monastrell or Albariño: "then indeed, if there is quality, there is also excellent receptiveness. Therefore, maintaining the identity of Spanish wines is absolutely essential".