Polish Toledo

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Famous for Wódka, Soon Vino

As global warming adversely affects vineyards in places like Italy and Spain, vintners hundreds of miles north in Poland are trying to turn the European Union's biggest vodka producer into a burgeoning wine country.

Warmer winters and a law scrapping taxes that made winemaking commercially unviable became effective this month.

Poland, a Baltic Sea country, has no tradition of producing wine and distributors say vintners may have a tough sell to consumers now used to French, Spanish and Australian reds and whites.

According to Marek Jarosz, vice-chairman of the Polish Institute of Wine in Krakow, "Poland is the only country in the world that has splendid conditions for growing grapes and still cannot take advantage of them." Last year Poles spent 2 billion złoty on wine, doubling consumption in two years.

Poland's four main grapes that survive the climate are Sevyal Blanc, Bianca, Aurora and Muskat in southern Poland around Krakow. They are comparable with lower-alcohol German Mosel or Rhine wines. Test wines bottled by the University of Krakow have already ranked really well among other wines with traditions counted in hundred of years.

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