Cava DO shifts to organic rules

Reserva Cava wines will have to be organic under new production rules proposed by the Cava DO.

The move is part of the biggest shake-up of regulatory board rules since the Cava DO’s creation 30 years ago.

The vast majority (95%) of Cava is made in Catalonia, the region of Spain, which is home to the highest number of organic wine producers.

Newly released government figures show that the number of organic wine producers in Catalonia increased by 17.5% to 241 in 2018 up from 205 in 2017.

This week Javier Pagés, chairman of the Cava DO, exclusively revealed to the drinks business a number of key rule changes envisaged in its segmentation and zoning plan.

Producers making Reserva and Gran Reserva wines and those aged longer than these wines would be obliged to make organic wines, he said.

The minimum ageing period for Reserva Cava will increase from 15 to 18 months.

Aged Cava will have to be from vines which are at least 10 years old.

The tirage date of these wines will have start no earlier than 1 January each year.

“We are enhancing quality and the complexity of Cava wines,” Pagés said.

“The shift in quality is the key issue,” he said. He added that export markets were increasingly demanding organic wines.

Pagés said Cava Reserva wines have not had sufficient visibility in exports markets.

Young Cava wines will not be subject to organic rules of production.

He did not comment on why young Cava wines would be exempt from the organic rule.

Javier Pagés, chairman of the Cava DO.

Corpinnat, the association of sparking wine producers who left the Cava DO in 2018, welcomed the new rules on segmentation.

“We applaud the new steps taken by the Cava DO,” a spokesman from Corpinnat told db.

However, it said the rules were currently insufficient enough to encourage Corpinnat to return to the Cava DO.

Corpinnat is currently holding talks with the Penedes DO and Classic Penedes sparkling wine producers to establish the world’s first 100% organic sparkling wine DO.

“Although we welcome this move from the Cava DO, these rules will not change our position. We do not want to renounce our brand,” a Corpinnat spokesman said.

Prior to leaving the Cava DO Corpinnat producers, were told they would not be permitted to label their sparking wines with the Corpinnat logo.

It called for greater transparency over production methods for Cava and sparkling wine production.

Corpinnat does not allow producers to buy-in base wine from other suppliers or co-operatives to make sparking wines.

Under the Cava DO zoning plan, specific production areas of Cava in Spain will be officially acknowledged.

Corpinnat said further zoning changes including new names for areas, proposed by the DO were “generic”.

But Pagés told the db, that new rules on zoning and segmentation had progressed to “a very advanced stage.”

The Cava Do is expected to adopt the new segmentation and zoning rules by the end of this year.

It is also is planning a major PR campaign to promote the rule changes for Cava in 2021. The campaign, which Pagés said is expected to lead to a five-fold increase in promotional expenditure, will focus food and Cava pairings.

“It is about increasing desire for Cava,” he said.

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