What wines to use in a Sangria? Winemakers React
There are two chains of thoughts when it comes to wines used in sangria, and both give it a bad rep. Some think that it is a way destroying a perfectly good wine. Others think it is an easy recourse to camouflaging bad wine. We decided to cut to the chase and ask the winemakers directly what they think of sangria, considering it is their hard work which is behind the existence of a wine.
What do you say when someone asks you what wine to use in a sangria?
Ajoy Shaw, chief winemaker and vice president, Sula Vineyards
“I’ve never really been asked this question before, actually. Sangria is a cocktail so obviously it is not to appreciate the wines. We create wines which always aims to have substance and quality.
But at the same time, to each their own. Their are countries where people drink wine mixed with Coke or take mulled wine for example. There is no harm in it, in fact for an easy light afternoon or evening drink, sangria works well. It is more of a party thing rather than a serious wine drinking experience, characteristics of wine are completely lost. I think leftover wines or inexpensive wines are good to make sangria.”
Kailash Gurnani, winemaker, York Winery
“Thankfully, I have not faced this question too many times. But once in a while when there is a group which comes to the winery and are tasting through our entire portfolio, while tasting serious wines like the Cabernet Merlot someone says that they like the wine and that it would make a great sangria. I tend to smile to myself and think that whether they will actually spend so much on a bottle of wine just to make sangria from it? It is both shocking and amusing at the same time.
When consumers do ask for suggestions I tell them to get wines which are not very dry or acidic and are entry level wines which do not cost too much. People buying wines to make sangria obviously contributes to sales, I don’t think it is bad thing, these same people offer a good probability to evolve into wine drinkers.”
Karishma Grover, assistant winemaker, Grover Zampa Vineyards
“I have developed a thick skin when it comes to questions like this. In a wine industry as young as ours, we cannot sit on high horse about what is the right way and the wrong way.
Sangria offers people an access to wine. It does not use superior quality wines and even we make lower range of wines which work perfectly for sangria. It does offer people a starting point to be introduced to wines.
I personally like drinking sangria too, I am personally fascinated by sparkling cocktails. We like to think we are an accessible winery and we don’t think it is a sacrilege to use wines in sangria.”
Conclusion. There is nothing wrong enjoying a glass of sangria. For absolute novices, it gives some sort of an introduction to the world of wines and they are potential converts waiting to be tapped. However, using expensive wines for sangria is foolish, simple easy drinking and entry level wines work perfectly for the drink.