Friday, July 22, 2005

22 July 2005 - The First 2005 in a Global Market

Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Our first wine from the 2005 vintage arrived today. Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rose, Stellenbosch, South Africa. It made me think of lots of questions. Do they make a big deal of the first wine of the vintage in South Africa like they do in Beaujolais, France? Since we can now easily get fresh new wine from the southern hemisphere in Baltimore, will Beaujolais Nouveau (when it arrives in mid-November) continue to be a big deal here? Do the French (and Italians for that matter) understand the simple concept that in (wine or any other) business it's impossible to be #1 forever? That it's inevitable they lose market share (and shelf space) to other countries in the USA as we become more and more global in our reach and thirst?

One of my part-time staff recently returned from three weeks in her native Australia. She was amazed that Australian wine shops had virtually no wine from anywhere else in the world but Australia. I noted that the situation was similar throughout Europe -- each country has almost exclusively its own wine for sale, and that she was particularly spoiled by working in a shop stocked with wines made from over a hundred different grape varieties, from at least 16 different countries. Where else in the world is this sort of selection possible? Well, the UK and Canada come to mind, but neither of those are big wine producers. Is it just that we're such gigantic consumers here in the USA? Or is it inevitable in a free-trade, ever-more-consumer-driven world that such variety and diversity of product be available everywhere?


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