We went to the international Vinexpo fair in New York for the first time in early March 2020 as part of a delegation of nine wineries - it was the first ever joint presentation of wines from the Czech Republic organized by the Czech Embassy in Washington and the Ministry of Agriculture. We were all the more disappointed that we could not travel to New York in person in 2021 due to the covid-19 epidemic; fortunately, we were able to represent the Czech Republic through a webinar, which was attended by 378 wine experts from 41 countries.
Now you may be asking yourself why Czech and Moravian wines should be of interest to Americans and Canadians, especially when wine production across the Atlantic is many times greater than in the Czech Republic.
"Moravian wines are interesting for the American market because of their story. They usually come from traditional vineyards where the vines have been cultivated for a long time, in the case of Sonberk as far back as the Middle Ages. Americans are interested in people's stories, they like to choose family or small - so-called boutique - wineries, where wines are made by a specific cellar master and the grapes are cared for by a specific vigneron. And when we talk about care, Americans place great emphasis on sustainability of production, so they prefer ecological methods of growing grapes - organic, biodynamic, and also integrated production - which is what we use at Sonberk," explains Dáša Fialová, Sonberk's sales and marketing director.
We returned to New York on 9-10 March 2022 - almost exactly two years later. The delegation from the Czech Republic this year consisted of a total of seven Moravian wineries, which exhibited in a joint block of booths.
For the presentation, we carefully selected three samples of Riesling and three samples of Pálava so that the collection was internationally understandable, but at the same time typically Moravian.
"When presenting the wines at the stand, I usually started with Riesling. At this point, the visitors got captivated by the quality of the wine and were happy to be offered more," says Dominika, describing her experience in New York.
Of the trio of Palavas on offer, our naturally sweet botrytic Palava Noble Rot was the most interesting because of its freshness and specific minerality with a pleasant sweetness. Another large part of the inquiries was directed to the Straw Pálava - which caught eye because of its atypical smaller bottle.
Trade fairs are not only used to establish business contacts, they are also an important centre for education in the sector. It is therefore great that this year the Moravian expedition was also given the opportunity to present itself to visitors in a separate masterclass, i.e. a specialised guided tasting.
Each of the seven Moravian wineries nominated one of their wines for the masterclass - for Sonberk it was the dry Pálava 2020 VOC. Subsequently, our colleague Dominika Holešínská together with Amanda Wilson, co-owner of the distribution company Ahtel Wines, presented the selection of wines to the visitors of the fair.
"We had a good response, besides the presented wines, the participants of the masterclass also appreciated the preparation, including the quality of the brochures and materials," Dominika summarizes the activities of Moravian winemakers in New York.
Finally, we would like to thank our Moravian colleagues for their joint participation and representation, as well as the Czech Embassy in Washington, the Consulate General in New York and the Ministry of Agriculture for supporting the Moravian wine delegation.
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