Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Genesis and Management of International Grenache Day

These #Wine days are coming fast and furious.  As soon as you put one to bed, and gathered up the empty bottles and photographs, the next one is upon you.  Since I have been following these events, I have participated in #PinotNoir Smackdown, #Cabernet Day, and #Bubbly Day.  And now, hard on the heels of #Bubbly Day, comes International Grenache Day -- or G-Day as it is alternatively called (I am not sure that the identity crisis of the Grenache grape is solved by also referring to International Grenache Day as G-Day.). Being good sports (and avid wine drinkers), we here at Wine -- The View From Orlando will assist in promoting and celebrating this event.  But first, a little about the genesis of G-Day.

Apparently a number of Grenache insiders were concerned that the varietal was not getting the respect that it deserved.  The grape makes great wine but is generally buried in the blends of the Rhone and Priorat and has fallen far behind its Burgundy and Bordeaux counterparts in terms of name recognition.  To help address this situation, a number of Grenache leading lights organized a Grenache Symposium which was held at Crestet, France from June 4 - 6, 2010.  The Symposium, led by Stephen Spurrier (of Judgement of Paris fame) and Michel Bettane, attracted 250 participants from 23 countries.  Activities included presentations, workshops, and tastings of over 300 Grenaches from 12 countries.

The key conclusions of the Symposium were:
  • It was time to elevate the Grenache grape to noble status
  • Great Grenaches happen in the vineyard
  • Grenache can be paired with a wide variety of food (not only spicy stuff)
  • Old Grenache vines should be protected.
One of the key action items coming out of the Symposium was the designation of September 24, 2010 as International Grenache Day and attendees pledged to enlist wineries/wine shops/writers in the promotion/celebration of this day across the world.  The Australian delegation proposed that participants in International Grenache Day activities wear loud and colorful shirts to "further amplify the event."

Since the conclusion of the Symposium, the Grenache Association has: launched a website with the tagline Grenache: Unsung Hero of the Red Wine World;  issued a press release describing International Grenache Day; developed and released a Grenache primer; developed and released Grenache food pairing notes; and developed a flyer which participating institutions can use to promote International Grenache Day.  The Grenache Symposium website also provides a mechanism to allow participants to utilize Google maps to graphically illustrate the location where their event will be held.

As part of our contribution to the promotion of the grape and International G-Day, we will be developing and posting articles on the instances of the grape in different geographical areas.  Our next two posts will cover Grenache in Chateauneuf du Pape and Priorat.  We will also report on any Grenache Day activities that are planned in the metro-Orlando area.

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