On my list of “summer readings”, there was Wine Politics. How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters and critics Influence the Wines We Drink by Tyler Colman. Quite a program! And a surprising one! I knew DrVino blog and enjoy reading it. I never commented – being a little shy but always liked the spirited and hot posts and debates. I knew Dr Vino was an academic and a fellow teacher as well as a fellow doctor since he holds a Ph.D.
Because of all those similitudes I read with a lot of interest his opus and especially enjoyed the picture of the author with the Paris Notre-Dame cathedral in the background! Tyler Colman is an expert on French and American wines, laws and marketing strategies. His constant parallel between the two worlds is very enlightening and brings a few surprises. French-born I usually rant about the French administration, its stupid regulations and how the system slows down (and even prohibits) any kind of initiatives. Guess what? America is not any better: the pages on how the environmentalists prevented the development of many vineyards is absolutely amazing. And don’t even mention the war between “Baptists and Bootleggers” – a fascinating chapter – or the Prohibition days.
In this book, everybody will learn something: marketers, wine lovers, winemakers, corporations and consumers. After reading the book, you’ll know how the bottle you bought ended up on the shelf of a supermarket or a very exclusive wine store, why the wine you heard one of your friends say wonders about is not available in your area and why this wine you know is plonk is all over the stores.
Please make sure you read this book – especially if you’re French or American. Knowing very well your side of the story, you’ll be amazed by what is really behind the scenes in your country or the other one. Having a foot in both, my heart went back and forth as well as my compassion for the two industries and the consumer. But I refuse to be pessimistic and I agree 100% with Tyler when he writes: “Any producer who can sell wines for $500 a bottle, or a company such as LVMH that can sell almost 600,000 cases of wine for an average of $44 a bottle, certainly has something to teach wine marketers in other parts of the world. But William Deutsch, who sold 7 millions cases of Yellow Tail at $6 a bottle in 2005, also has lessons to teach the French. This global exchange of learning helps make winemakers more efficient as well as helping artisanal winemakers make their products more distinctive.”
Enjoy life, good wines and good food!