THE CYPRUS WEEKLY Nov. 2-8, 1979 BUMPER YEAR FOR BUBBLES Bacchus, the God of Wine, is invariably kind to his na- tive haunts, making sure the vintage is of the same fine qu- ality year after year, a full - blooded man’s drink! With hundreds of hours of sunshine guaranteed every year, the wines, both in Cyprus and in Greece, have hardly varied in quality since the ancient Greeks first tasted Bacchus’ gift to them. This year, Bacchus deigned to smile on the European parts of his far flung empire. Wine experts say that from Bordeaux to Mosel to Tus- cany, the right blend of rain and that extra little sunshine at the right time, has produced a grape harvest that is regarded, at least in some regions, as one of the premier vintages of recent years. “All the elements have come together to make a great harvest,” said one vintner in Baune, in the heart of France's famed Burgundy region. In Epernay, France, the Champagne Produ- cers’ Association said its harvest will be one of the biggest in history and of “expectional quality.” This must be good news for those few people in Cyprus who prefer French wines in general, and champagne in parti- cular. The bad news is that prices automatically rise with quality. Prices for the esti- mated 45 million gallons of champagne to be shipped around the world will probably be at least 15 per cent higher than last year, the Champagne Producers Association said. Limited This is unlikely to have much effect on the Cypriot market since the consumption of both champagne and French wines is very limited. “We only sell around 50 cases (12 bottles each) of French wine every year,” Mr Christakis Efthymiou of Amethyst, one of the main wine and spirit im- Porters on the island told the Cyprus Weekly. As for Champagne, he sells only about 150 cases. - Wights, another main. importer, said they also sell only a few hundred cases. “Cypriots in general , are not great wine drink- ers,” Mr Efthymiou add- ed. “That is apart from the wine growers themselves, who drink a lot of their own wine,” he added. . Even so, forthose few Cypriots who like import- ed wines, the news is good from all over Europe. A typical french wine cellar Karl-Ludwig Bieser of the German Wine Grow- ers’ Cooperative said in Bonn that average prices are likely to increase slightly, with the greater availability of high-quali- ty German wines. Despite this, true wine lovers have much to look forward to. The vintners in the Burgundian centre of -Dijon said this year's grapes, now being turned into the rich, smooth wine often called “Red Gold,” have a particularly firm and deeply coloured skin that is a forerunner of a fine vintage, perhaps one of the century's best. PAGE 19 Although in late spring and early summer damaged some of the crop, July brought plenty of sun and little rain. “The vintage year should be one of superb quality that will age well,” said the Beaune expert. Word seeping from Italy’s vineyards is that Chianti, Barolo, Balpoli- cella, Corvo and other ttalian wines also be plen- tiful and of superior qual- ity, perhaps rivalling the dream 1964 season. Not all the experts are convinced. Despite the optimistic reports from Burgundy itself, Paris wine merchant Steven Spurrier was more cau- tious. Spurrier said an exceptional year can actually be harmful to vintners, since great wines take much longer to age, leading to often chaotic price and volume fluctuations in the wine market. 7