Spanish Red Wines: Still the Most Bang for Your Buck
If you’re like me and are always looking for great buys in wine, then I highly recommend checking out wines from Spain. No other country in the world delivers the diverse quantity of high quality wines at remarkably inexpensive prices like Spain does.
So how does Spain do it?
First let’s tackle pricing. Although Spain has a rich history of winemaking going back for thousands of years, their wine industry is relatively young and modern. Spain was under dictatorial rule until the 1970’s and during those years there was hardly any, if at all, investment in or modernization of their wine industry. When Spain joined the European Union in 1986 there was a flood of investment and innovation in their wine industry, and now they are the 2nd or 3rd largest producer in the world, only behind France and Italy.
The population of Spain is less than California so there aren’t that many people to consume all that wine. That means they need to export it, and now Spain is the largest exporter of wine in the world.
Spanish wines are still not as popular in the U.S. as, say, California, France or Italy, so the laws of supply and demand keep prices low. Secondly, costs in Spain are low compared to most countries. Land and labor is relatively cheap and most wineries or farms in Spain have been family owned for generations, meaning they don’t have a huge mortgage to pay. Compare that to a winery in Napa Valley who had to pay $300k an acre for property.
Now let’s tackle how they produce such high quality wines.
As I mentioned earlier, the modern Spanish wine industry has only been developing in the last 30 years, and under the guidance of wine importers like Jorge Ordonez and Eric Solomon who taught producers about quality over quantity, the use of modern techniques and equipment, there was a great era of discovery, promoting ancient varieties and unknown wine regions. Producers are now focusing on growing traditional varieties that are particularly suited for their wine region’s unique climate and terroir.
Secondly, Spain’s overall climate and terrain, like California, is great for winemaking. Whether its crisp Albariño whites from the cooler “green Spain”, rich and bold Monastrell reds from the Mediterranean coast, or juicy Grenache wines from Navarra, odds are in the winemakers favor that conditions will be right for producing quality wines. This is all great for us savvy wine consumers as each year more and more incredibly delicious and affordable Spanish wines hit the shelves.