USA Home of Free Enterprise . .

. . . and Defender of Freedoms?

Well, maybe not, when it comes to wine buying!

This week I’ve enjoyed the company of six Americans who are visiting Javea, Alicante, Spain. One, Paula, had contacted me asking if I might be able to take them on a bodega visit or two. My pleasure, said I!

I in turn contacted my friends at Bodegas Los Frailes, Fontanars, and at Bodegas Celler del Roure, Moixent who make their super wines in DO Valencia. These two bodegas are part of the Terres dels Alforins Group about whom I’ve written for the Costa News Group (www.costa.news.com). The Group is dedictated to making the best wines that Valencia can provide with a laudable emphasis on traditional methods and indigenous grape varieties.

Needless to say owners, respectively, Miguel and Pablo, were happy to give us a tour of their bodegas, and explanation of the group’s philosophy as well as their own individual philosophies and their different ways of going about their wine making. Plus, of course, we had the opportunity to taste some of the wines and, although there was no pressure to do so, to buy wines at the end of each visit.

Everyone’s a winner – Paula and the gang have a really interesting day out, visiting, for example, a finca (farmhouse and land) that had been confiscated from the Jesuit Monks who’d built it by the King of Spain in the 18th Century and then sold at auction, in fact in 1771, to Miguel’s ancestors! A wonderful story and a delight for the Amercians whose history, in their own words, can’t equal that of Europe!

We also saw at Bodegas Celler Roure an ancient underground wine cellar which had been brought back to life, still with its original terracotta ‘tinajas’ which are now used by Pablo to make and indeed age some of his wines. Fantastic!

And the wines? Well, need I say more than the fact that Paula and the gang were keen to buy cases of them and to have them shipped back to the USA?

Err, well, I do need to say more – my new-found friends were frustrated, though through no fault of the bodegas concerned.

Essentially, it isn’t really possible to buy at source and then have wines shipped back to your home in the Sates! Why, well – who knows? Seems to me it’s a case of stuff your civil liberties we are going to protect the American wine business (as well as your morals, with a worrying prohibition echo?).

It seems that international wines in the USA can only be bought from recognised, certificated, all dues-paid, importers based in the USA. And it gets worse – as I understand it, it’s even difficult to buy from one State to have delivered into another!

Come on guys – what’s all this about, huh?

What can be finer than touring a lovely bucolic winery, with the owner and winemaker, tasting the wine together and then shipping some Stateside?

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