by Stef Schwalb | Senior Content Manager, Gregory + Vine for the region of D.O.P. Cariñena
This past April at The CIA (Culinary Institute of America) at Copia in Napa, CA, countries from all over the world gathered to celebrate the first edition of the Global Garnacha Summit. From Spain and France to California, Australia and Italy, winemakers and producers came to share their knowledge, passion and insights about Garnacha/Grenache with members of the wine industry trade and select media through two distinct panel sessions and tastings. Sponsored by D.O.P. Cariñena, the event resulted in several key learnings based on feedback from sommeliers, retailers and distributors across the U.S.
The participating audience was comprised of trade-only professionals – 88 percent of whom have purchasing power and/or great influence over the wine selection in their establishments. Approximately 50 percent of attendees also serve as educators working in both on-premise and off.
- Nearly 90 percent agreed that Garnacha/Grenache falls into the category of a “discovery wine.” The majority view “discovery wines” in their inventory as critical to sales.
- Pinot Noir is considered to be the most competitive varietal with Garnacha/Grenache followed by Syrah/Shiraz and Tempranillo (Rioja). Nearly all participants would recommend Grenache/Garnacha wines as an alternative to Pinot Noir.
- Most participants currently have Garnacha/Grenache available to their customer base revealing a marginal percentage of 17 percent that do not. When asked if they would be likely to include or add the wines to their inventory, 89 percent expressed great likelihood.
Bob Bath MS, who moderated the first panel at the event, is a strong advocate for the experience. “The Global Garnacha Summit, the first of its kind (and long overdue), was an important event for both the industry and the variety,” he asserts. “It brought together producers from leading Garnacha/Grenache regions around the world to share knowledge, viticultural and winemaking practices, the current market significance, and impact of Garnacha/Grenache. The reception from the trade was overwhelmingly positive.”
Sommelier Kathleen Thomas, who was awarded a trip to the Summit through Guild Somm, agreed adding “Garnacha/Grenache is the Goldilocks for most consumer ‘wants.’ I’ve sold this and paired dishes using this analogy. You’ve got ripe and dried, fresh and rusty, sweet herbs and crunchy fabulousness.”
Before the next installment of the Summit, sponsor D.O.P. Cariñena took the experience on the road with its first stop at SommCon Washington DC, which was held July 22-24. At SommCon, Bath presented “Garnacha Unveiled: From Cariñena to the World.” The session addressed the resurgence of the historic variety, industry trends and future prospects. Participants explored a range of Garnacha/Grenache dominant wines from rare, old vine Garnacha to fruit-forward styles from D.O.P. Cariñena and other influential producing regions from all over the world.