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What is quality wine?

>> Friday, July 16, 2010

Sometimes one wonders what this concept ”quality wine” means. Take the fact that half of all French wine is classified as “quality wine” (as noted elsewhere in the Brief). Formally this is defined by the EU with the concept VQPRD (vin de qualité produit dans une région délimité – quality wine produced in a specified region). In each country this is mirrored by a local category. In France it is the AOC/AOP. That category includes many wines classified as AOP but that you can buy for barely over a couple of euros. May be very debatable if much of that qualifies as “quality wine” in the way that the average wine consumer thinks about “quality”.

Now, it is not just France that is rather liberal with the concept of quality. In for example the USA and in Australia there is a similar confusion/inflation. Take an example: there is a category called “premium wines”. Premium – sounds nice, doesn’t it? Must be good quality! However, that is wines in the range of $5-8, not far from the e.g. cheapest Bordeaux that sell for a handful of euro and claim to be “quality”. This is then followed by “super premium”. Wow, one may be tempted to think. This must be top quality! Until you see that it is wines up to $13.99. After that you have “ultra premium” (!). But it does not end there. Then comes “icon wines”! (Example taken from Wine Business Monthly 2002 Perhaps there is an additional category, let’s say “ultimate premium”?

Sometimes one wonders about word magic. What does “quality wine” mean for you?


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