Converted to the cause: Now they wish they all could be California

AmCham event lifts the lid on how American’s golden state produces some of the best wines in the world

Ambassador Fulton raises a glass to proceedingsThere aren’t many occasions  when you find yourself locked in a room, drinking wine, stripped of your worldly possessions and surrounded by futurists, auditors, CEOs, psychologists and a ballet dancer (to name a few) without thinking that maybe you’ve imbibed a few too many. Unless you were at last week’s Californian wine-tasting event at the American Embassy.

Organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Denmark (AmCham), the event was designed to promote the Californian wine industry to Denmark, and what better way than by offering free wine samplings to the who’s who of the Copenhagen oenophile community who had gathered to learn, network and taste – and taste they did indeed.

Stephen Brugger, the executive director of AmCham, jokingly kicked off the event by saying that “the day’s programme isn’t rocket science”, explaining that while Californian wines have tended to play a minor role in the minds of wine-consuming Danes, this is slowly starting to change.

The US ambassador, the highly personable Laurie Fulton, welcomed guests. An avid wine-lover herself, Fulton earned her grape credentials among the crowd by proudly saying that the first thing she does when going to a restaurant is look at the wine list, and if there are no American wines offered, she often considers going elsewhere.

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Fulton told The Copenhagen Post that she believes American wines “are among the best in the world” and reiterated how delighted she was to be part of an AmCham event that highlights the best of them. 

Those wielding the wine were in high demand, of course, but when they weren’t busy topping up glasses, many distributors took the time to explain why they believe Californian wines are still struggling to make their mark in Denmark, despite their unbelievable drinkability.

 “Unfortunately, Californian wine isn’t yet as popular, but that’s simply because the quality is so high and therefore the price is also high,” said Pia Vodder, the Danish manager of California Wines.

Not one to drown his sorrows unless it’s with a good Californian red, Claus Tang-Holbek, a wine distributor with Kjær & Sommerfeldt, asserted that the news isn’t all bad for Californian wines.

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“Wines in this country tend to be easily drinkable like Coca-Cola. But for a wine with genuine taste, you have to be willing to spend around 100 kroner, and this is where Californian wines are going to find their niche in this country,” he said. 

Despite a general consensus that American wines still have a long way to go to gain a foothold in Denmark, most guests were too busy lapping up the vino to dwell on any negativities. For example, Alice Rasmussen from California Wine ApS proclaimed the event a “super-cosy, exciting and successful event to be a part of”.

With so many great wines being offered, some found it hard to choose a favourite, but Ambassador Fulton’s picks of the day included the 2007 Kendall-Jackson Camelot Highlands Chardonnay, the Hahn Pinot Noir and any of the Zinfandels, which Fulton cheekily suggested had a bit of spice that the Danes need. 

Helping to soak up the abundance of alcohol, the food was prepared by The Diplomat restaurant and included some much-appreciated Californian sushi rolls, Texan beef steak, New Mexican spareribs and seared Hawaiian tuna.