Wines, Beers and Spirits
The Member States of the European Union produce an impressive range of quality wines, beers and spirits, each much appreciated by Japanese consumers. Their quality is the result of outstanding raw materials and traditional methods of production, regulated by strict safety standards.
Although traditions have shaped European wines, spirits and beers, research and innovation ensure that they remain some of the very finest on the planet. European producers and processors are always investing in the latest technological solutions to respond to production challenges and to rising consumer expectations.
The production of cereals and grapes are subject to EU safety standards on pesticide and herbicide use and controls on food-borne diseases. The quality ingredients are traceable back to their origin because of stringent monitoring procedures. Furthermore, the brewing, wine and distilling industry are subject to strict quality controls.
Kampai! Cheers! Santé!
European beers are, in their conception, just a combination of water, different varieties of cereals, yeast and hops, but it takes years of experience to get the result just right. Beer has been lovingly crafted for centuries in Europe, and there are currently some 8500 breweries throughout the EU. In each of them, master brewers carefully select the ingredients and craft them into lagers (bottom fermentation beers), ales (top fermentation beers) and spontaneous or wild fermentation beers.
There are over 80 distinct beer styles including Pale Ale, Pilsner, Lager, Mild, Bitters, Extra Special Bitter, Strong Ale, Porter, Stout, Blonde Ales, Weizen, Witbier, Abbey Beers, Trappist Beers, Lambic, Kriek, Kolsch, Smoked Beer …
Production of EU wines
Wine production is a subtle mix of artisanship and industrial technology: an expert viticulturist is vital for the production process and highly modern equipment is used to collect and store the grapes and wines.
To protect territorial characteristics and guarantee authenticity, EU regulations prohibit mixing European wines with non-EU wines. Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) wines are produced within a precise geographic area. For example, Chianti PDO is specificity linked with the climatic and geological characteristics existing in the Tuscan region. This is important as it is only in this particular region (altitude, sun orientation, grape type …) that grapes generate the specific sugar and acidity level and typical flavour recognisable to this wine. Another example of PDO wine is Rioja wine from northern Spain, it is produced following traditions dating back to before Roman times. Teran is a strong Slovenian wine made from Refosco grapes that are rich in acids and minerals. The grapes for the Teran wine are picked only when fully ripened, to add flavour to the wine.
The European Union accounts for 45% of the world’s wine-growing area, 65% of its wine production and 70% of world exports, making the EU the leader in all these categories.
The spirit of the European Union
All the spirits in the European Union go through at least two procedures: fermentation and distillation. Fermentation is where the alcohol is created; distillation is where the alcohol is separated.
Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) labels protect the name of a spirit in a country, region or locality, when at least one of the stages of production took place there.
Examples include Cognac, Grappa, Polish Vodka, or Brandy de Jerez.