Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Geographic Wine Clubs

In September, I tried a Syrah from Morocco. It was the first time that I had ever had a wine from that country, and I selected it simply because I had not done so before. I wanted to be adventurous, to try something more unusual. Are you the same?

You probably have heard of the Wine Century Club. It is a loosely organized club where to qualify as a member, you must have tasted at least 100 different grape varieties. If you succeed in doing so, the Club awards you a special certificate. With all the thousands of different grapes out there, this is a very achievable goal.

It is an interesting idea and an excellent way to get wine lovers to try some very different wines. I am very adventurous in my wine drinking and encourage others to do the same, to try any and all wines they get a chance to taste. Yet trying unusual grapes is only one part of being adventurous. There is also the excitement of trying wines from more unusual and different wine regions.

So, I got thinking about something similar to the Wine Century Club but geared more to geographics. Tha led to ideas for two different clubs. The first idea I have called the Wine Country 30 Club. Maybe not the most exciting of names but it is the working title for now.

Wine is made in many countries all around the world but how many of those countries have you tasted their wines? You can qualify for membership in this club if you have tried wine from at least 30 different countries, roughly half the number of countries on the list below.

Here is a list of wine producing countries, though this list is not complete:

Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia & Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

How many of those countries can you mark off on your list? I qualify for this Club as I have had wines from 32 of those countries. Though I doubt I will be able to add too many more to my list as I have never seen some of the remaining countries available at my local wine stores.

In a similar vein, my second idea is called the U.S. Wine 25 Club. Wine is now made in all fifty states so how many of those states have you tasted their wines? You can qualify for membership in this club if you have tried wine from at least 25 different states, roughly half the number of states.

I don't yet qualify for this club as I have only had wine from around 12 or so different states. It is a bit difficult as the wines of many of those other states are not available in my local wine stores.

So do you qualify for either of these two geographic wine clubs?

At this time, I don't issue any certificates or any other prizes. Your reward is more just personal satisfaction for being an adventurous wine lover. If anyone has some additional ideas or feedback, feel free to post a comment.


Sonadora said...

Not quite! I've had wine from 19 different counties that I can tick off from the top of my head.

As far as states go...I don't even think I'm up to 10 yet, though I'm close to 10.

Wink Lorch said...

I'm based in Europe and have been tasting wines for a lot of years - I haven't got notes on them all to hand (not that organised), however, a quick look through your list, counting on my fingers, I would say I've tasted wines from 37 countries, but from fewer than 10 states of the USA.

One correction to your list is that the vineyards of Wales like to be considered separately from those of England, so United Kingdom, could be changed to England and Wales (plus I think there is a miniscule amount of wine in Scotland and there is certainly wine in Ireland).

Great idea and I hadn't heard of the grape club either.

Richard A. said...

Thanks to both of you for your comments. I think these clubs can give wine lovers a new goal, a new way to be adventurous with their palates.

My list was incomplete and I knew there were some countries missing. It is difficult to know every single country which is making wine, so thanks for your additions.

Katie said...

Cool idea, Richard....let me know if you need any help with logo design, should you decide to go forward! I was thinking of taking on the GaryV challenge and tasting a wine from all 50 states next year, but not sure I can torture myself like that! He's also got the 365 challenge, which is a cool idea....try 365 wines in the coming year. Given how many tastings we tend to go to, this should be attainable, no?!?