How The Napa Valley and Sangiovese Wine Contribute to Growth of The Wine Industry

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Words: 1399 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Words: 1399|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Sangiovese wine and the Napa Valley are some of the most important contributing factors to the wine industry today. Each has an incredible, influential history that has helped it become so popular and well-known. The Sangiovese variety is known for its savory taste, acidity, and earthy, rustic flavors such as herbs and tomatoes. It can even have a cherry or red plum flavor. (Wine Folly) Sangiovese grapes are used to make wines such as Brunello di Montalcino and Chainte Classico. (The Grape) Napa Valley is known for its 815 different wine varieties and its contribution to the American economy. (Facts) The valley is especially recognized for its ability to produce wines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. (Napa Vintners) Each represent their own staple in the wine economy today. The history of Italian winemaking is crucial to the importance and upbringing of the Sangiovese variety. “Italy’s wine economy has evolved as the wine market has matured. A culture of mass production has given way to a culture of artisanship and entrepreneurship”. Going back to ancient history, the Etruscans were the first to train wild vines up trees in Italy. The Greeks then brought seeds across the Adriatic Sea and helped create the Italian viticulture. Both are accredited with the start of Italian winemaking. Fast forward to 1855, when Italy wasn’t a unified country. Winemaking was defined by tenuta, or when a farm estate (often controlled by a noble family) was taken care of by sharecroppers. Sharecroppers were peasants that worked the fields of the tenutas to produce grapes and wine for their landlords. In exchange, the sharecroppers were allowed to live on the tenutas and even keep some of the crops for themselves. This is better known as the mezzadria system. The mezzadria system lasted up until the 1950’s. After WWII, Italy turned from a monarchy to a republic. The new government then tried to redistribute land to the peasant population. As a result, large estates were broken up and the land was too small to do any farmer good. Italians left their homes in the 1950’s for other countries. “By the 60’s, only 30% of Italy was involved in agriculture. Today, that figure is less than 10%.” During the 60’s and 70’s, the Italian Government and European Union invested heavily in vineyards, resulting in huge surpluses of wine. The European Union then tried to get rid of the surplus by ripping up the vines and planting other things, causing Italy to be a welfare state for wine. This, in turn, gave Italy a bad reputation among other wine producers. (Lynch, 5-7)

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Despite this, the 80’s and 90’s marked a shift in Italian winemaking as the economy technologically advanced. The Sangiovese grape is known as “the grape at the heart of Italy.” It is the leading variety of Italy. In Latin, it is called Sanguis Jovis, which means “the blood of Jove.” Originating from the lands of Tuscany, the Sangiovese grape can be described as “the line between an angel and a demon.” Thirty years ago, it was a major component of the Tuscan Revolution. Seven years ago, it spurred the Brunellogate scandal, which nearly beat the Italian wine industry to the ground. The variety is so delicate that it has to be catered to perfectly in order to produce good wine. Even the slightest climate change or mishandling ruins the true flavor of the Sangiovese grape. This variety acquires about 10% of all vineyards in Italy, located mostly in Tuscany but can be found in the extreme north and south of Italy. This is because the territory is absolutely perfect for the variety. The grape has thick skin on the outside, but a delicate flesh on the inside and is a beautiful red grape variety. In fact, it is so specially valued that some wineries outlaw the combination of the grape with other grapes. In traditional Tuscan winemaking, Sangiovese is always blended with other varieties, such as Mammolo or Colorino. Brunello di Montalcino, the highest expression of Sangiovese, is made up of forest fruit, cola, and spice, and is released after five years of harvest. Other wines made from Sangiovese include Coastal Tuscany, Umbira, and Chianti Classico. (The Grape)

There are many qualities of Sangiovese that contribute to it’s fame. Sangiovese is known for its “strong backbone of acidity, while being integrated with soft tannins that allow the wine to mature and evolve over an extended period of time.” (The Grape) The variety includes flavors of fruit, such as cherry, red plum, strawberry, and fig, to darker, savory flavors such as roasted pepper, tomato, leather, oregano, and smoke. It is usually aged for 4-7 years, but can be aged for 10-18 years (Brunello di Montalcino). Sangiovese takes up 155,000 acres of Tuscany and is well paired with foods that include herbs and tomatoes, lipids, and small amounts of sugar (slow roasted pork with white bean mash). (Wine Folly)

Napa Valley is also a huge staple in the wine industry today. It is known for its Carbernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Melot varieties. In 1839, George Calvert Yount was the first settler to test Napa’s ground for wine grapes. He planted the grapes, which turned out to be a success. Then, in 1861, Charles Krug was credited with establishing Napa Valley’s first commercial winery. “By 1889, there were more than 140 wineries in the operation.” This includes Schramsberg (1862) and Inglenook (1879). During the 20th century, a root louse called Phylloxera ruined 80% of Napa Valley’s vineyard. Then, in 1920, Prohibition started, and many of the remaining wineries were abandoned. Only a few remained open for the purposes of making sacramental wine. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the wine industry then started making a slow recovery. A new group of pioneers, such as John Daniel Jr. and Robert Mondavi, attributed to the revival of Napa Valley. These pioneers discovered that they were “more successful working together than alone.” So, in 1944, seven vintners signed an agreement that formed the Napa Valley Vintners trade association. This association is made up of 500 wineries today. In 1968, “America’s first agricultural preserve was established.” The Napa Valley industry is now considered the most highly regulated in the world. (Napa Vintners)

The Paris tasting of 1976 is what really put Napa on the map today. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from California were tasted blindly against some of the best wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy from France. The judges gave the highest scores to the California wines, giving Napa Valley its mark. In 1981, Napa Valley Vintners held their first wine auction. Auction Napa Valley, which occurs yearly, is “the worlds most celebrated charity wine event.” All of the proceeds, which total $145 million dollars, have been given to local health care, youth education, and affordable housing programs since. (Napa Vintners)

“Today, the Napa Valley Wine Industry represents $50 billion to the American economy.” Napa Valley has 430 wineries that represent 815 different wine brands. (Blog) Cabernet Sauvignon, the first recognized wine from Napa, is known as the “red grape king.” It is 40 percent of the total production of Napa Valley, which represents 55 percent of their crop value. Its flavors include a variety of black fruits such as cherry, plums, currant, and spice from oak aging. Coming right from behind, Chardonna is produced by barrel fermentation, malolactic fermentation, and lees stirring. It can be described as fresh, crisp, lively to rich, and buttery. Finally, Merlot is used as a blending partner in various wines to add body and a hint of soft fruit. (Napa Grape Varieties)

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Sangiovese wine and the Napa Valley are some of the biggest staples in the wine industry today. Sangiovese wine, brought from the lands of Tuscany, Italy, is known for its strong acidity, high tannins, and unique variety of flavors such as cherry, red plum, herbs, and tomatoes. It’s savory taste pairs well with many entrée dishes and is used to make some of the finest wines today (Brunello di Montalcino). Napa Valley, settled on the north coast of California, is well known for its many different varieties of wine and partnership, as well as its contribution to the American economy. Some of its most famous wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot. The industry represents $50 billion in the American economy today. Both Sangiovese wine and the Napa Valley industry are extremely well known around the world today.

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How The Napa Valley And Sangiovese Wine Contribute To Growth Of The Wine Industry. (2018, November 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 19, 2024, from
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