Qualified Single estate Cava, is it the solution to the lack of territorial unity of cava DO?

by Marta Burgués

Probably one of the most notorious problems of the designation of origin cava is its lack of territorial unity, which means that in certain markets, there is confusion about the origin and quality of the Spanish sparkling wines. While exports of cava show an increasing trend, we must also bear in mind that the competition is fierce, especially in reference to Italian sparkling wines, very successful in key markets such as the Anglo-Saxon.

Given this situation, the Cava Regulatory Board has raised the creation, by the end of the year, of a new designation called ?Qualified Single estate Cava?, directed to highlight the quality credentials of the national cava. The new designation may include only cavas produced in single vineyards, with the additional requirement that producers will have to make their own base wines and will be subject to strict quality controls imposed by the Council.

Recently the President of the Council, Pere Bonet, stated that

?With this new classification we adopt the ‘château’ philosophy, which will give producers the opportunity to gain recognition for wines produced in a specific place in his vineyard. We have received great interest from producers about this initiative and, although it is too early to say how many wineries will participate, we anticipate it will be a significant amount?.

Although the final restrictions on access to the denomination ?Qualified Single estate Cava? are yet to be defined, everything anticipates that they will exceed those of Cava Gran Reserva, an action that intends to reach consumers around the world with the great variety of sparkling wine producers and promote a ?premium? image of cava in all potential markets.

In addition, as part of the strategy of producers guild, Bonet also noted that the reason for the drop in sales of cava in the UK in recent years is the cessation of distribution agreements with several supermarkets, which were detrimental to the intended image of quality given its low prices. The goal now is to get into high-end restaurants and specialist retailers in the British Isles to change public’s perception.

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