From the Indian Wine Academy Newsletter, February 02:
While the religious and social sentiments and their political and bureaucratic offshoot continue to hinder the wine consumption due to the government policies equating wine with hard liquor, Catholic wine connoisseurs and especially from Spain would be glad to know that Pope Benedict XVI likes wines from Rioja
It’s not common for Benedict XVI to talk about his own tastes. But he did when he met with the tribunal of the Roman Rota.
He greeted the judges one by one, and when he spoke with one from Spain’s La Rioja region, he made a very personal comment, as you can see from this video…
“I’m from La Rioja, Holy Father,” says the Spanish judge: “Oh, from Rioja! Very good wine!” replies the Pope.
‘It’s thanks to these audiences that one can learn more about the personal tastes of the Pope. It is widely known that Pope Benedict XVI is an intellectual. He loves music and books and during his free time does enjoy playing piano. Now, we know that from time to time, he also enjoys a glass of wine from La Rioja with his meal‘, comments Rome Reports.
It will be interesting to see if this voluntary disclosure by the Pope makes Catholics rush to the wine shops and pick up a bottle or case of La Rioja red wines. These wines are not exactly cheap and due to the ever-gaining popularity even before the Pope disclosed his liking, the prices have been rising steadily making it tougher to sell and for the region to grow during the previous decade.
However, it will hopefully help change the minds of the Indian government, politicians and the fundamentalist non drinkers to appreciate that wine must not be just equated with alcohol, hard liquor or treated like a thing of beauty to be talked about only in hush-hush tones.