Blogging is awesome: you can share work on your blog that might otherwise not see the light of day. For example, this post also began life as an assignment for NYU. So for something different this weekend, see below my final project for my NYU web writing class.
I decided to write about the Greek financial crisis and its impact on the Greek wine industry because, well, why not? Going to NYU to get my graduate certificate in journalism gave me the chance to step out of my comfort zone of writing about beauty, health, and wellness. Oenophiles, this one’s for you:
Greek Wines Get Global Boost From Financial Crisis
Media outlets worldwide have been busy this summer reporting on Greece’s financial crisis, and its effect on various sectors of the Greek economy. But it may be still too early to tell how Greece’s financial woes have affected its wine industry, Andrea Englisis, co-owner of Athenee Importers, said in an email.
Vineyards have already bottled and labeled the 2014 harvest, said Englisis. This inventory of the current release should carry Athenee through the rest of the year. However, “All the press has put the country in the spotlight, which has helped the U.S. wine consumer know that the country’s vineyards exist, and helped focus more attention on all sectors of the Greek economy as a whole,” she said.
Increased international attention is a good thing. Englisis said doing more business abroad has led to needed improvements in labeling and quality, and a better understanding of international markets among Greek winemakers. When told of Englisis’s statement, wine journalist Zachary Sussman agreed. “There has been a surge of critical attention to Greek wines in the U.S. among members of the wine media and wine professionals, such as sommeliers,” he said.
Sussman went on to say Greek wine is finally getting attention after a long period of neglect. “An indicator of that has been a quality renaissance among the top wineries,” he said. They are making better wines than ever before.
One of the big challenges that Greek wines face when trying to establish a footprint the U.S. market is that of label legibility, said Sussman. Everyone knows the American expression, “It’s Greek to me,” he said. He added that, “When it comes to wine, the labels are in Greek and the names of the grapes are difficult to remember, so the issue of legibility becomes really important.” So it makes sense the Greek wine industry would be trying to make labels more user-friendly for an American audience by packaging wines to ensure their success in the U.S. market, he said.
“Most American wine lovers have not considered Greek wines until recently, and we are just starting to see a renewed interest in these wines as the level of quality has improved,” said Sussman. So a lot of potential exists there, and Greek wines are often good values because people are not as familiar with them.
As a wine culture in general, the U.S. market is more open to experimentation, Sussman said. Americans are looking beyond the familiar wines they like to drink, such as those from Italy, France, or California, and a country like Greece is benefiting from that cultural shift.
In countries such as Greece, where wine accompanies every meal, cheaper supermarket wines probably account for most wine consumption, said Sussman. Although some Greeks are interested in drinking higher-quality Greek wines, a new audience among sophisticated American wine consumers can appreciate the quality of wines available from Greece.