By Valerie KatHAwala
Keen readers of TRINK's newsletter know that we kicked off the new year by hazarding forecasts for wines of the umlaut zone. If there’s one big takeaway shaping the present and probable vinous future of Alto Adige, Austria, Germany, and eastern Switzerland, it’s this: the word is out about their craft and cultural value. The wines are disproportionately products of the kind of cool(ish)-climate, small-scale farming, cellar intuition, and reconsidered tradition that resonate hard in the wine world right now.
But producers will be quick to tell you: the struggle is real. As if the impacts of climate chaos were not disruptive enough, surging costs and shortages of materials, fuel, labor, and in some cases even suitable vineyards are immediate and, likely, longer-term challenges. A generationally driven shift away from alcohol and toward values-led purchasing decisions is forcing producers’ hands as well. In many ways, the year ahead will be shaped both by the severity and duration of these factors and the ingenuity with which producers respond.
One powerful upside to these pressures? They are likely to drive the trend toward all forms of what we might call reasoned viticulture closer to a norm. Expect to see...
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