Slovakia currently drinks twice as much wine as it produces. But per capita consumption isn't great, at 11.9 liters per year, which puts it near the bottom of the European Union. (The US drinks only 9.4 liters per year per capita, but we have 60 times as many people.)
So Hubert, the largest winery in Slovakia, is concerned about its future. Hubert is a 188-year-old sparkling wine specialist that has dominated the market since the Communist era, when it was nationalized. Check out its video history in English; the highlight is women with hammers pounding in corks in the 1970s.
The government in that era was proud to make better sparkling wine than those capitalists in France -- heck, Emperor Franz Joseph said so in 1896 -- and put out a steady stream of propaganda about how Czechoslovakians could celebrate their milestones with the finest wine in the world. For older Slovaks, that's still powerful.
But Communism has been gone for 23 years, and people under 30 don't remember the Hubert campaign. So Hubert, which was purchased by the German wine company Henkell in 2002, has to reach out to the next generation of customers.
Hence, Bambino Party.
"You must teach the people to drink," says enologist Ingrid Vajcziková."You must teach them to drink good things."
Vajcziková could never say such a thing in the US. If Gallo started selling sparkling apple juice packaged like this, some red-state Congressman would be all over them.
Or would they? It's not illegal. It's not even immoral.
Think about it. When people reach 21 today, they have no idea how to drink responsibly. They're encouraged by their peers to drink Tequila shots or Red Bull and vodka.
I love the idea of Bambino Party for the US. And the drink itself was pretty good: light body, pure raspberry flavor, fairly sweet but with the acidity to carry it. There are plenty of sparkling wines that aren't as tasty as this. I'd love to slip it into a blind pink bubbly wine competition to see if it gets a medal.
That's said, Vajcziková says, "My boys love it, but without CO2. So they shake it up."
Don't try this with Krug.
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