Viticulture is a historic industry by nature, with methods and vineyards passed down through generations over hundreds of years. It can be hard to imagine, therefore, exactly what progress for a vineyard means. For some, this may be simply refining existing processes to ensure maximum grape quality or reduce costs where possible, but others may be more inclined to experiment with new grape varieties or diversify even further.
This crossed my mind as I followed the release of La Gioiosa's 0% sparkling wine; how exactly does a producer launch a new wine?
A brief investigation took me back around 7,000 years, to Sicily, where wine was first produced in the quantities we know today. While there is evidence of wine being fermented long before this, 5,000BC Sicily is where grape varieties are said to have been greater researched and experimented with. In these times, revelations included the discovery of new varieties, as well as new methods such as 'appassimento', whereby growers twist the stems of the vines so as to naturally dry the grapes before harvest. In the following years, wineries used this research to examine which processes and grapes worked for them; sauvignon blanc, for example, lends itself to high temperatures yet lower altitudes, suiting the grape to the lands of Malborough (New Zealand) and Centre/Bourgogne (France). In current times, developments in industry are fewer and further between, however consumer trends are changing at an ever-increasing pace resulting in a global 'demand economy'. These trends must be considered by vineyards if they are to remain competitive, and drive vintners to seek out new methods of not only producing wine, but also limiting costs, and meeting consumer requirements. Naturally, the premise of Vino Fine is that we are able to offer the highest quality alcohol-free wines, which admittedly is a fine niche to fill, but is growing at unprecedented rates. This brings me back to La Gioiosa's 0% sparkler; how exactly does something like this come to be?
It may take a fair amount of convincing research to give a winery the push it needs to grow as a business as generational businesses tend to be more inert, but once new markets are identified as being profitable, land and grape acquisition occur. Larger potential customers such as supermarket wine buyers and larger buying groups will be invited to the vineyard for initial inspections and tasting the first growth the following summer. It will be up to these entities to determine the level of marketing required, as well as smaller distributors once the product has reached them. Finally, smaller events may be held by suppliers and retailers with larger customer bases so as to create an initial interest in the product.