What is red wine about

Why is there a wire mesh around Rioja wines?

The alambrado, the gold-colored wire mesh around the wine bottle, is a measure invented over 100 years ago to make life difficult for wine counterfeiters. In the meantime, the wire has become a sign of attachment to an old tradition.

Nikolai T. from Münster has come out as a friend of Spanish red wines and now wants to know why some Spanish wines, especially from the Rioja, wear this gold-colored wire mesh around the bottle. Pure decor or a mark of quality?

Alambrado: fence in wine fraud

At the end of the 19th century, the Spanish wine-growing region of Rioja experienced a real boom. The wines are in demand like never before and the best fetch enormous prices. That attracts wine counterfeiters. They swap very good Rioja for worse wine and thus cheat wine lovers and wineries alike. To make the fraud more difficult, the Rioja winemakers come up with the Alambrado. The word means wire fence in Spanish and makes it clear what it is about: to secure the wine against counterfeiting and fraud.

Quality mark or marketing

To this day, some wineries use the Alambrado in the traditional sense of the old, indirect proof of quality. Conversely, however, it cannot be said that the best Rioja wines come in wire mesh. Famous names like Bodegas Muga or the celebrated newcomers like Bodegas Solagüen are all naked. If you pay attention to quality, it is better to stick to the seal of the Denominación de Original calificada (DOCa) and the relevant classification according to degrees of maturity in Crianza, Reserva and Co.

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