Cava’s quality restructure

20 December, 2022

“Production is higher or lower or starts earlier or later, but in terms of winemaking, the wines are still the same or even better.”

For producers in the Guarda Superior section it may be trickier to control the fluctuations of climate change once they become fully organic, but the nuances of each cava vintage will be exaggerated by the longer ageing laws. In theory, we can therefore look forward to enjoying some more interesting and complex cavas in the years to come.

According to Pagés, these longer-aged wines will appeal to a wider audience. “The other thing which consumers recognise is time. In the eyes of consumers, time translates to quality and for me cava has previously lacked any storytelling – there are so many amazing producers and when you add in the fact we’ve always used the traditional method then consumers should value it higher.”

With sales continuing to blossom for cava, Pagés also believes that pricing structures are crucial to the future profile of the category.

“In the past, some cava producers have been able to get wines into the offtrade at great prices. But now we’ve got a system in place to show off the better-quality brands. I’m not naive – it’s going to take more than just a couple of years for this to translate to consumers, but I hope brands will appreciate the direction we want cava to go in.

“Previously we’ve had some producers entering the market at the lowest possible price to get good business, but that in turn lowered the overall image of cava. I hope the new Guarda Superior will give brands an opportunity to increase their prices and improve the cava image. But at the same time I’m sure we’ll still see some wineries taking advantage of other quality brands and entering the market with their lowest possible price Guarda Superior.”

Something which may play into the hands of these low-price producers is the cost of living crisis, particularly during the festive period. In fact, prior to the New Year, UK wine retailer Majestic predicted a bottle of cava will be bought every minute during the holidays. But, given that Pagés expects the majority of brands to adopted the new regulations in 2023, the DO and members of the Guarda Superior family will be hoping it was the last Christmas when cava was sold on the cheap.

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