Tannat: the positioning of a wine grape as symbol and 'referent' of a nation's gastronomic heritage
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Business
Cultural traditions, including local gastronomy (food and beverage), can be maintained and reinforced through iconic products representing the character of the region or country. The growing importance of wine, food and other forms of tourism in some rural areas can help build a new image – or strengthen an existing one – of a region’s culinary heritage. This study examines the dimension represented by wine and food heritage in the context of Uruguay’s wine industry. Data were gathered from winery owners, managers, wine makers, and from representatives of Wines of Uruguay and the Routes of Wine. The importance of ‘Tannat’, a varietal grown locally for more than two centuries, is emphasised as the nation’s signature wine and symbol of its wine industry. Increasing awareness of the country’s culinary heritage has led to efforts to provide a gastronomic concept for consumers seeking local foods and unique gastronomic experiences. Respondents, therefore, perceive that the ‘marriage’ between Tannat and Uruguay’ traditional foods is helping in establishing a gastronomic image virtually unexploited before. These findings have important implications for the further development of Uruguay’s food and wine industry, heritage and tourism, as well as for that of other regions striving for ‘recognition’ of their gastronomic heritage.