I was in London recently to attend the London Wine Fair. For many years this had claimed to be the biggest wine trade show in the world. And certainly it was in the past – it was there in previous years that I have tasted wines from up and coming regions like India, Armenia and Uruguay.
So what is this “lonely American” issue? I know that I am not properly American, just a legal immigrant with green card. Even if I can claim a very distant relative who was a big cheese in the Jamestown settlement. One of my key interests in the Wine Fair was the representation of US wines on the world stage. In the past I have had informative chats with producers from regions like Virginia, New York and Oregon and wannabees from Alabama (and even California ). I hoped to find a few old friends. However….
The first North American stand on the main floor that I found was a little booth of a winery in Okenagen Valley (British Columbia). After much hunting, I found a small table for a Pasa Robles company looking for a distributor in Europe. And finally, jackpot – a UK distributor with a limited range of Beringer wines. Nothing from any of the large (or small) wine producing regions of USA. And no big stands for USA of any sort.
Then there was the big competition, the International Wine Challenge in its 34th year, with a huge number of wines compared and 6,139 medals awarded. Not surprisingly, France was the big winner, with no less than 128 Gold, 555 Silver and 647 Bronze. As comparisons, the Republic of Georgia scored 25 Silver and 37 Bronze. Even Kazakhstan (and could you find that on a map?) has 2 Silver and 8 Bronze. That well known wine producer, Japan, won one Gold medal, 11 Silver and 12 Bronze. How did team USA fare? Well, USA scored zero gold, 17 Silver and 34 Bronze medals.
So, in the absence of any real USA presence, I took myself off to the Zheijang Yumberry Juice Company stand instead. I don’t profess to know why USA had such a poor presence at the show. But it has certainly left this almost-American feeling a bit isolated.