French grape varieties have been cultivated in Greece for over 50 years, so why do sommeliers question the supposed authenticity of Greek Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah? In Florida, people aren’t hung up on whether their oranges are indigenous or not, and nobody’s putting the kibosh on eating pasta outside of Italy. So what’s the deal with this pretentious exception for wine varieties?

Indigenous Greek grapes are certainly more obscure — and harder to pronounce — than Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, so it was the norm within the region for a long time to grow recognizable styles from countries like the United States, France, Spain, and Italy. However, by the late aughts, customers had started seeking out unsung varieties like Xinomavro and Assyrtiko. Such grapes appease consumer wanderlust and offer a unique sense of place, but with the new fascination came a negative bias toward non-native grapes. But why? And since when does historical relevance trump quality in terms of judging wine?

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam, Joanna, and Zach discuss why American wine professionals only seem interested in so-called indigenous grapes from many European wine regions, and whether that’s being driven by consumer demand or professional snobbery. Tune in for more.

Zach is drinking: 2010 Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard Pinot Noir

Joanna is drinking: Queen’s Park Swizzle

Adam is drinking: Bell’s Light Hearted Ale

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