Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cuba: Bourgeois taste

Living near a wine region here in California, I am spoiled and have come enjoy a glass of wine (grape juice plus) sometimes two with dinner and in most festive occasions. I am partial to reds, Merlot, Cabernet and some to the Meritage blends suit me fine. Very rarely do I stray away from California wines; only if someelse is paying for it will I partake of an Italian or worse French. Occasionally I would break my own rule and try out Australian and maybe even a Chilean since these tend to be better priced. However, after reading the following article on a castroit publication, Chilean wine is off my list, at least I will never pay for it.
Chilean Wine Celebrates Success in Cuba

Havana, Jul 10 (Prensa Latina) Chilean wine label Concha and Toro can boast a very successful relation with the Cuban market, despite this being a country preferring rum and beer over wine.

Consumption in Cuba of Concha and Toro wines, located in the mid-price range, stands at about 60 thousand bottles or 5 thousand cases per year.

The Pucara Investments enterprise, representing the Chilean wine in Cuba, together with the Chilean ambassador to Havana, Jaime Toha Gonzalez, recently organized a tasting for wine lovers to celebrate that Cuba´s wine imports are slowly but steadily growing, basically due to the growing demand of the hotel sector.

Ernesto del Pino, general manager of Pucara Investments in Cuba, told Granma International weekly he is in charge of a foreign branch of the company funded by European and Cuban capital with more than eight years experience in this market.

During the tasting event, the Chilean ambassador was distinguished with honorary membership to the Cuba Sommeliers Club by its president Yamir Pelegrino.

The tasting ceremony consisted of four table wines, highlighting the Casillero del Diablo Chardonnay and a recent blend of wines known as Trio. Chilean wines are famous for their quality-price relationship, said organizers.
The average monthly salary for a Cuban “professional” is approximately $15 per month. Why would anyone want to spend a whole month’s or even a half-month’s salary on a bottle of Chilean wine? They would not. The average Cuban is not the one buying, it is the castroit upperclass, castro the millionaire and his cadre of business associates, it is the tourist with euros and convertible pesos, it is the foreigner with access to the stores and the hotels where tourists are the only ones allowed. The average Cuban is "protected" from these imperialist influences.

I was even more surprise to see that they have tasting events, very bourgeois! I wonder which Chilean is served on fidel's private airplane. Probabaly a Concha de Toro, which goes well with the finest Spanish hams.

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