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cecile: Welcome to the Wine Spectator Boards. Good to see another Swiss person. Are you from the French part or the German part?(Or some other part?)
Anyway, I have never cared for California Chardonnay, but I love white Burgundies. The California Cabernet wineries have had some trouble lately due to the glut of grapes, but remain strong. I don't think they have to worry. What I think has happened is that more Australian wines are sold here than before, and a large amount of that is Shiraz. People have discovered Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. But, I think that the Chards and the Cabernet lovers have their contingents and will remain with us for years to come.
When I was in Switzerland I enjoyed some nice wines there, but have never found one imported to the US. Anything new in the Swiss wine industry?


"Life is short.....start with the dessert."
I don't believe the glory days are over at all. Chardonnay and CS are the two most popular "noble" varieties for good reasons. (flavour profiles, ability to ripen viably in a variety of climates and soils to name a few)

All what's happened is that there is more competition, but with a expanding world wide demand for wine there's still room for chardy and CS to expand.

A lot of the ABC movement is a bit of snobbery, people trying to convince themselves that they are superior to the common herd because the common herd drink chardy and CS, and being wine geeks they have to drink something the common herd doesn't.

Having said that chardy and CS have their biggest challenge in getting their respective QPRs back into line.

[typos edited]

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools. -Herbert Spencer

[This message was edited by Pauly on Jan 12, 2004 at 02:30 AM.]
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Cecile, despite unsubstantiated claims to the contrary, any objective analysis of wine sales shows Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the undisputed leaders, and as correctly pointed out, are growing still in their popularity. There is always speculation about which will be the next "big" wine trend. I know the answre: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay!
The volume is still in cab, chard and merlot. They still dominate the shelf and floor. Shiraz/syrah is on the rise regardless of their appelations, and pinot grigio from California is also on the rise.
It takes a while for the average retailer to make the investment, on a substantial basis, for anything new. They want their competition to take the initial risk. "I'll order it when somebody asks for it".
The restauranteur has no problem adding to his wine list, as it only takes a few bottles to invest.
Change is slow...... Gotta give growers a chance to graft over to the varietal du jour. Cool
I once read a book about apples (don't ask why). One of the people interviewed in the book was the wise old man of Washington apples. He claimed that his life long success was do to he was always a step a head of the market. He planted apple varieties before they were popular and when those varieties became really popular he move on to new types.

My point? Maybe the smart winery owner will not plant CS and Chard today but the grapes he believes will be really popular 2010-forward.
I just read that Shiraz/Syrah passed Cabernet Sauvignon in worldwide hectares planted. This was pretty interesting to me. Most of these plantings are in Australia and the Rhone, but California, Chile and others are ramping up.

It seems that over time, Chard and Cab always end up on or near the top regardless of what up and cummers get popular (e.g. Merlot in the 90's and Riesling in the old days).
Gewerz Lover,
I think a grape grower should stick with what they are good at and not change! The trends are always cyclical. If you start grafting vines over to different varieties on the cusp of a developing trend, you would never have any fruit. The lead time is to long, the investment too large. It's much more expensive than apples. However, if you were to plant new varieties and they were popular, then good luck to you. I would leave luck to the stock market and drive the trends yourself.

"I just read that Shiraz/Syrah passed Cabernet Sauvignon in worldwide hectares planted"

Those stats are somewhat misleading. Tons crushed or hectoliters produced is better. Spain leads the world in hectares planted largely because the vines are planted so far apart to account for drought conditions. Thus you may have 100 hectares planted with 200-300 plants per hectare producing a total of 100 tons.

You can produce the same 100 tons on 5 hectares in the Central Valley in California.

I think (Peter Howland could verify for us all) that vine spacing in Australia (and thus hectares committed to Shiraz) is very large, mainly to allow for mechanization due to the lack of available farm labor.

Santa Cruz Mountains Vintage Chart
I believe Cabernet and Chardonnay might suffer very different fates.

As much as Pinot, Syrah, and Nebbiolo produce the majority of my favorite reds, what people love about Cab they will continue to. While some Cab lovers would incorporate wines such as Hermitage into their wine catalouge, I don't think a real Cab lover is going to be blown away by a Barbaresco or Barolo -- at least not in the way that he might be by a Harlan. Bordeaux and CA (plus Washington State) produce fairly different wines. While the same could be said of Burgundy and CA and Oregon, I believe that Pinot well known enough that, if it were to have eclipsed Cab in popularity, it would have done so by now.

Chardonnay is a different story. I don't believe that enough people are familiar with Rieslings to get an accurate sense of what would be the preferred grape were everyone to know both grapes equally well. The surge in popularity of Gruner-Veltliner from Austria is also impressive and, I think, will eat away at Chardonnay sales, if only slightly. Other varietals such as Viognier are gaining popularity and will deffinitely eat into Chardonnay's market sales.

But, that is just my opinion, I could be wrong...


"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?" -- W.C. Fields

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