Wine may not be the first thing that jumps to mind when discussing Brazilian agriculture, but the coveted drink has been making some serious headway in the international wine market. At a recent trade tasting in New York featuring the latest and the greatest from the emerging powerhouse, I had a chance to chat with Master Sommelier, Evan Goldstein, regarding the country’s rise to prominence and the present and future of Brazil’s wine industry.
DA: Does the Brazilian wine industry remind you of any other region 15-20 years ago?
EG: More recently, it’s reminiscent of Greece. It also has some maturity to it and is going through a rediscovery period similar to Portugal. Overall, it’s a strong market and as it’s growing, winemakers are watching other markets like the US, specifically California, Oregon, and especially Washington.
DA: What’s the biggest hurdle facing the Brazilian wine industry?
EG: There are a few points to consider. The country is continually learning more about the export markets, distribution, currency exchange, and taxes. In addition, the language barrier is still significant as a lot of the wineries and sales managers struggle with foreign languages such as English. The grape selection is also a unique situation. Producers are still learning which grapes grow best in certain climates and how to best express the soil and climate.
DA: As the Brazilian middle class grows more affluent, how does domestic consumption play a role in the growing market?
EG: It’s a major factor and is very important for growth. Per capita consumption is expected to grow three-fold and will help maintain gradual production increases while providing the opportunity for expansion to other parts of the world.
DA: Can you rattle off a few brands that are available in the States and are good introductions to Brazilian wine?
EG: Miolo, Casa Valduga, Salton, and Livio Carraro. Great wineries with approachable wine styles.
Evan Goldstein is a Master Sommelier and President/Chief Education Officer of Full Circle Wine Solutions, specializing in premium market wine tastings and education seminars. He’s authored numerous articles and books, including one of my favorites, “Perfect Pairings: A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food”.