BISR Food Group - The 19th Century Wine Revolution in the Spanish Rioja: The “Medoc Alavés” and the Path from Crisis to Triumph
Venue: Birkbeck, University of London. Dreyfus Room, 28 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DT (Entrance through 26 Russell Square)
Booking details: Free entry; first come, first seated
Speaker: Ludger Mees, University of the Basque Country
The Spanish Rioja is the most important quality-wine producing region in Spain. In 2016, 24% of the wine sold by all Spanish regions labelled as Protected Designations of Origin came from the Rioja. Rioja is also the leader in the ranking of sales on the international market, constituting 37 % of all Spanish protected wine regions. The talk aims to analyze the historical origin of this success story that began in the mid-19th century in the Basque province of Álava. It is a fascinating and mostly unknown story about an acute socioeconomic crisis and an attempt to find a way out of it by innovation. The story’s protagonists are a number of prestigious and influent Basque liberal politicians, a group of open-minded aristocrats and wine growers, and some of the first technical experts of modern wine making. It is not only a story about success through innovation, but also about 19th century’s Basque self-government, Spanish socioeconomic backwardness and transnational transfers of know-how. Finally, the story of the “Medoc Alavés” is one with a belated happy end and a lesson to be learned even for 21st century’s winemakers and consumers.
This event is free and open to all: First come, first seated
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