Football fans in Asia watched the FIFA World Cup matches that took place in Brazil in droves – at times not always friendly on their sleep cycles.
Brazil put in a lot of time and effort into hosting one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Not only did the sporting sector work hard, but a whole spectrum of industry also came together to support their country, and to create a successful event for the rest of the world to enjoy. This included the Brazilian wine sector.
It was announced in March 2013 that fifth-generation wine producer Lidio Carraro was chosen as the producer for the official licensed wine of FIFA World Cup 2014, called Faces. Lidio Carraro, a boutique winery located in the southeast Serra Gaucha region, where 85 per cent of Brazilian wine is produced, makes premium and top-premium wines. Founding patriarch Lidio Carraro’s two sons, Giovanni and Juliano, and his daughter, Patricia, are all involved in the family-owned winery.
In the last week of FIFA World Cup 2014, Asian Palate brings you our interview with Patricia Carraro. Here, she shares the experience of creating the official wine for the big event.
AP – Asian Palate PC – Patricia Carraro
AP: How did Faces become the official wine of the World Cup?
PC: It was a true gift to be chosen to develop this project. It took us around one year of negotiating with FIFA. We first presented our company in Soccerex fair in Rio de Janeiro, in 2011. Then we were required to send our wines to FIFA in Switzerland, as well as to a local committee for evaluation. After approval, we presented our proposal to produce the Official Licensed Wine of FIFA World Cup. The competition was very hard because other major wineries were participating too, so it was a very major conquest for us.
AP: How does Faces relate to FIFA World Cup?
PC: Faces is inspired by the diversity and vibrant people of Brazil. The concept behind Faces is to connect many people to one heart. The logo on the label symbolizes diverse nations and cultures uniting together, celebrating this important event. Through the wines, we also want to express the terroirs in Brazil, which produce a great range of grapes – each of them being special for certain qualities: colour, aroma and flavour.
Faces is a range of wines that carries the tradition of our winery –producing premium and top-premium labels. Our products have rigorous production standards, employing high technology and in-depth research, on top of our experience in cultivation of grapes in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. It is important for us to keep the quality in line with other Lidio Carraro wines.
The aim of this FIFA project is to create a wine for celebration, but also a wine that can translate into something reflective of Brazil. The wine must be versatile with characteristics that will be appreciated by a wide range of palates. Brazilians are known for being lively, cheerful and creative, so we hope that the people will find these characteristics in the wines too.
AP: There are three wines in the Faces range: a red, a white and a rosé. Please tell us about each of these and the feedback you have received so far.
PC: As a tribute to football, Faces red is blended with 11 grape varieties, to represent the 11 players in a soccer team. The grapes are laid out in the blend exactly like the four-four-two line-up of a team. For the ‘strikers’, we placed Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. With their greater proportion in the blend, they identify the style and major aromas of the wine. In ‘midfield’ we have Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional and Teroldego, adding complexity and volume to the wine. Playing in ‘defence’ are the Tannat, Nebbiolo, Ancellota and Alicante grapes, which give structure to the wine. Last but not least, Malbec is in the role of the ‘goalkeeper’, being responsible for the aftertaste.
Faces white makes a toast to the roots of local winemaking, choosing the three most cultivated white grapes in Rio Grande do Sul: Moscato, Chardonnay and Riesling Italico.
Faces rosé, blended with Pinot Noir, Merlot and Touriga Nacional, is a seductive wine, crafted to express the joy of life. It is a wine designed for sharing and pairing, and it is naturally uncomplicated just like Brazilians.
We produced 600,000 bottles in the total for all three wines; the white and the red from two vintages – 2012 and 2013 and the rosé only from 2013.
We have exported these wines to 11 different countries in three continents: Asia, Europe and America. In all of these continents they are a great success and a way for consumers getting introduced to Brazilian wines.
AP: With global attention on Faces during the World Cup, does this give your other wines wider opportunities, too?
PC: With Brazil in the international spotlight in 2014 and then again in 2016, during the Olympics, it triggers people’s curiosity about Brazilian wines. However, it is a challenge because we are still building our image and finding our position in international market. Most of the wineries in Brazil are very young. Up until five years ago, we were still only working with the domestic market.
Hence, this FIFA project is very important to us, and possibly to the rest of the wine industry in Brazil. For us, we are proud and feel like it is a great responsibility to create one of the symbols that represents Brazil during a time when all eyes are on our country. We hope this wine will help expand the experience of consumers with Brazilian wines in general and strengthen the growth of our industry nationally and internationally. This is the biggest benefit that this World Cup wine can bring to our company and for the whole wine sector in the country.
I believe, consequently, all Brazilian wines can benefit from this period of time, including our other Lidio Carraro wines, which have different characteristics and their own niche markets but still carry the same quality standards and produced by Lido Carraro’s ‘purist concept’ in winemaking – that is to minimize any interference that prevents the maximum expression of our terroir.
AP: For wine drinkers with no experience in Brazilian wine, how would you describe the country’s overall wine styles?
PC: Brazil, despite of being located in South America, is very different from Chile and Argentina because of the microclimate and soil. We do not need irrigation and have very defined seasons in South Brazil. Brazilian wines are unique and have their own particular style. Our style is a cross between old and new world wine. In general, I can say that Brazilian wines have a very unique personality – very fruity, balanced and fresh, which are characteristics that make Brazilian wines very food-friendly.