If you watched the final match of the 2008 Euro Cup (Spain won vs. Germany) and/or the phenomenal Wimbledon Men's Final where the Spaniard Rafael Nadal eventually won a nail biter against Roger Federer, then perhaps it is no surprise to you Spain is now also on course to "win" top seed as the world's largest wine producer. (In case you're wondering, yes, I already proclaimed "wine is a team sport". But I was getting more at sportsmanship, rather than the idea of winning or losing....). Back to the wine then, it seems beyond important things like heritage, culture, tradition, and number of suitable grape-growing acres, sound economics matter a heck of a lot, too. What am I getting at? Well, apparently the French are drinking less domestically (French young'ns just aren't enjoying the stuff with as much vigor anymore, tisk, tisk!). But a big(ger) part of the challenge they face is actually a national, industry-wide failure to 'keep up' with market trends - and up and coming wine regions globally where wine is "better" packaged, cheaper and modernized (from techniques employed, to use of screw caps, etc.).
Unlike the sports pages these days, I haven't read one article yet where the Spanish are interviewed about this likely takeover in 2015. I wish I had found one. Those offering French perspectives indicate they are ready to fight the good fight and determined to make a comeback (before one is technically necessary in seven years time). They don't want to lose their crown, of course. And the scare is in them! They recognize they need to make a few adjustments to compete globally.
I don't pretend to know or even fully appreciate all of the nuances that have contributed to this pending "doom" for the French. (There's a great Time article from a few years ago I forgot about, which the folks at Vinography reminded me of when I was looking for a bit more perspective on the topic. It's worth the read if you have a few minutes over lunch today.) But I'm also convinced the French are the least likely in the wine-producing world to want to lose their earned status as quality producers just to edge out the Spanish on the Quantity Produced playing field. So I'm wondering how this is going to pan out.
What I do know is I want my French wines. I want them to be top quality. And I want to pay the price they're worth.
What's your take on all this?