Cava Considers Adoption of Single Estate Classification
In an effort to raise the Cava brand image, the Cava Regulatory Board (Consejo Regulador del Cava) has announced plans for the establishment of a “Single Estate” classification — Cava del Paraje Calificado – for use on wines sourced from single, estate owned vineyards and allow DO Cava wines to compete in a premium price category. The Ministry of Agriculture will need to authorize any such classification, but according to this article, it appears that the Ministry would likely support this proposed classificaton.
Currently, Cava producers can label their wines using a “control mark” based largely on how long the wine has spent aging before disgorgement: DO Cava, Cava Reserva, or Cava Gran Reserva. According to this article from The Drinks Report, the exact qualifications for use of the Single Estate classification are still being ironed out, but “the yield and ageing restrictions will be in line with, or most probably higher than those used for Gran Reserva Cavas.”
Over the past few years, a number of Spanish producers have expressed their willingness to leave the Cava DO and announced plans for a DO with stricter production regulations, criticizing Cava for becoming “a solely volume-oriented DO….”
The current President of the Cava Regulatory Board, Pere Bonet, has voiced similar concerns in announcing the launch of the new classification system. According to news reports, Mr. Bonet is quoted as saying: “It’s very bad for Cava’s brand image for it to be on sale at Tesco for £5. We’re seeking more distribution in high-end restaurants and specialist retailers in order to get the top Cavas into the UK to change people’s perceptions.”