Sunday, January 3, 2010

An atmosphere of innovation

Freedom of the press. Freedom of religion. How about freedom of booze?

Back in 1976, the U.S. exported $6 million dollars worth of wine. By 2006, however, that figure climbed to a staggering $1 billion dollars. How did it happen? California’s great climate and the shocking results of a blind taste test set up by French wine makers in 1976 certainly helped but perhaps the most important factor is the California wine makers’ ability to innovate and create. Where the government here largely stays out of the wine making business, the French government sticks its nose into about every aspect of the wine-making process from deciding alcohol contents to dictating which type of grape can be grown in what region.

What results is perhaps some great tradition but also a stultified industry that is hog-tied by wine certification laws that prevent experimentation and innovation.

Check out’s take on how all this went down in video below.

If embed no worky, please click here.


Road Dawg said...

Temecula distiller Wagoner came up with Temequila, a play on the name of his adopted hometown that he hoped would forestall a legal challenge.

Making a spirit called tequila is "impossible to do in any other part of the world than Mexico -- not in South Africa, not in Europe, not in the United States," said Ramon Gonzalez, director of the Tequila Regulatory Council.

More here:

Dean said...

'Dawg, thanks for the link. I'll check it out when I get a chance.

As I understand it, tequila can only come from the blue agave cactus from the Jalisco district of Mexico. The aging process and what it is aged in gives tequilas their different tastes and characteristics.

Here's what I find ironic, though, about this Mexican standoff. There are plenty of tequilas that get all junked up with sugars and other adjuncts and which are shipped north for American consumption, yet they are still considered tequila.

I'm willing to be that Wagoner will stay truer to the spirit of pure 100% blue agave tequila than the crap you dump in your margarita.

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