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The Grapes of Wrath
November 7, 2005 9:12 PM   Subscribe

European Wine Fighting For Survival
posted by Gyan (35 comments total)

 
Man angry over German wine suck factor. Film at 11.
posted by pheh at 9:48 PM on November 7, 2005


Tough titties. Australian wine producers aren't heavily subsidised like European producers,and we manage to produce wines that people want to drink and sell trucklaods to the world.

Wine snobs piss off.
posted by wilful at 9:57 PM on November 7, 2005


Bordeaux winegrowers in crisis
French wine industry struggles with chronic overproduction
EU, US winemaking practices in conflict

I've seen a pretty constant stream of wine-related news recently. Fascinating subject. Thanks for that one, Gyan.
posted by mediareport at 10:08 PM on November 7, 2005


I'm doing my part to solve the cronic overproduction problem in Bordeaux.

One bottle at a time.
posted by quarsan at 10:20 PM on November 7, 2005


I thought this was going to be about a new kind of martial arts: European Wine Fighting or something. I'm kind of disappointed with the article after expecting that.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:22 PM on November 7, 2005


The Euro-dollar exchange rate doesn't help European wine prices, let alone Rieslings. Bordeauxs have been up $5-20 a "low-end" bottle where I live.
posted by Rothko at 10:23 PM on November 7, 2005


Gyan I think Buddha's right, you might want to put a little more effort into describing the FPP so people aren't expecting something different.

As for me, though, I really enjoyed that article. Your post is good in spite of the lack of description :-)
posted by Happydaz at 10:28 PM on November 7, 2005


Did I dream, or did I see European wine being converted to fuel? Sacré bleu.
posted by Cranberry at 10:36 PM on November 7, 2005


As a resident of another country who also have to make wine without a government subsidy let me just add that I'm playing the world's smallest violin.
posted by PenDevil at 11:06 PM on November 7, 2005


...until China starts making wine, and then you'll turn all protectionist.
posted by Artw at 11:37 PM on November 7, 2005


Aggressive marketing of wines made using traditional methods is probably the only way for the traditional methods to survive as anything else than small niche-products. However, aggressive marketing about traditions works almost as well for wines that are made using less traditional methods and those producers will have more money to use for marketing.
posted by lazy-ville at 11:53 PM on November 7, 2005


There's a legitimate point buried under all the rhetoric of a technocratic domination of the noble vinyards, which is that Robert Parker has entirely too much influence on what we think is a good wine. But the rhetoric itself is of the sort Walter Benjamin deflated in On the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:16 AM on November 8, 2005


Isn't this the plot of Mondovino?

My wife just came back from Italy last week. She brought home some boxes of very drinkable wine that cost around a dollar a litre. That's like, cheaper than milk.

Viva la subsidy!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:03 AM on November 8, 2005


What have subsidies got to do with it? If people are willing to spend more money on inferior wine, why should the Aussies complain? European wine, and German wine in particular, simply has an image problem -- at least here in the UK. New World wines have clear, attractive labels and mouth-wateringly over-egged descriptions. And they're in English. The branding is powerful and easily recognisable, and the quantity is consistent. If you had an okay experience with an Oxford Landing or a Gallo one week, why risk experimenting with a wine which you've never heard of and a label you can't translate the next? The shame is, that experimentation is part of the fun of wine and the banality and uniformity of New World wine is destroying it. And I say this as someone who buys a lot of Gallo!
posted by londonmark at 1:31 AM on November 8, 2005


the banality and uniformity of New World wine

Perhaps what we export is more uniform and/or banal than what's available here.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:50 AM on November 8, 2005


As a British person it's hard to know where to stand on this one. Shall I revel in my hatred of the French or rush to protect old-world tradition against the tide of modernity? Such a dilemma. On balance, I think the former.
posted by Summer at 3:00 AM on November 8, 2005


Gyan I think Buddha's right, you might want to put a little more effort into describing the FPP so people aren't expecting something different.

I agree. Perhaps a larger font, all caps and spaces between each letter (for the slower readers).
posted by srboisvert at 3:00 AM on November 8, 2005


The problem for European wine is that they have been trying to sustain their industry on name rather than quality. France and Italy have tried to ignore the existence of New World wines and as a consequence are only just waking up to the fact that in many cases (ha) they have been outdone by foreign vineyards using European vines.

Personally, I think that he stuff from Germany isn't strictly wine and should only be used as an additive to coolant systems.
posted by cassbrown1 at 5:26 AM on November 8, 2005


I like all sorts of wine but I drink what tastes good - if being snobby means you have to drink ass - well let the Europeans cling to that. I enjoy wines from all over the world. I do occasionally try random bottles that I have no idea what they are or taste like but I find myself gravitating back to the small vineyards where I am. It's funny how they talk down at the US wines, then why are they so successful? Maybe because...they taste good?! Are pleasant...easy to get, in expensive and don't come with that air of superiority?
posted by evilelvis at 5:49 AM on November 8, 2005


Metafilter: fruity, soft and pleasant
posted by lalochezia at 5:58 AM on November 8, 2005


The author lost all credibility with this line:
"The market for the top Bordeaux, once a sure investment, has evaporated."

This is utter and complete bullshit. Check out the prices for top Bordeaux, and the availability, and you'll see no such evaporation has taken place. What has evaporated is the market for cheap plonk, since both the Americans and the Australians are much better at making cheap but decent wine. The market for the very best French (and German) wines is only going to become stronger -- demand continues to increase while the supply remains limited.
posted by chrisgrau at 6:19 AM on November 8, 2005


...until China starts making wine, and then you'll turn all protectionist.

China seems relatively uninterested in producing wines and cheeses. Is this due to particularities of Asian metabolism?
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:20 AM on November 8, 2005


I was getting ready to express my astonishment that this was the only one of the ten thousand similar articles I've read on the subject that didn't mention Robert Parker... but then I got to page 2 and there he was. I have very mixed feelings about both him and the general dilemma (which he's a handy representative of): it's good that more good wines are being made in more places and available for less money; it's bad that wine from everywhere winds up tasting alike. But I don't believe truly local wines will disappear; they'll just be more expensive and probably harder to find. I agree with lazy-ville: "Aggressive marketing of wines made using traditional methods is probably the only way for the traditional methods to survive as anything else than small niche-products."

Personally, I think that he stuff from Germany isn't strictly wine and should only be used as an additive to coolant systems.

You don't like riesling? Fine, helps keep the prices down for the rest of us. It's not as undervalued as it was fifteen or twenty years ago (when a great Moselle could be had for the same price as a third-rate Bordeaux), but it's still a good buy.
posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on November 8, 2005


Mmmmmm Chinese wine - tastes just like junked computer waste!
posted by evilelvis at 6:22 AM on November 8, 2005


China seems relatively uninterested in producing wines

China winemakers get better with age:

But as the industry matures, and the thirst of China's newly affluent middle classes for wine grows, ambitious Chinese vineyards are trying to educate their countrymen's palates so as to win their cash...Climate conditions are ideal in Xinjiang, with dry air and hot summers limiting mildew, grape rot and other diseases.
posted by mediareport at 6:35 AM on November 8, 2005


Kentucky's wineries make some good stuff. I really like Chrisman Mill Chambourcin.

I've already noticed one broken link on that page though: Equus Run is here.
posted by davy at 6:44 AM on November 8, 2005


I thought the thread was going to be about a new sport.
posted by agregoli at 7:07 AM on November 8, 2005


Wow. I guess Bill OReilly's French boycott is working.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:25 AM on November 8, 2005


Chinese wine

Asian flush
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:39 AM on November 8, 2005


You don't like riesling?

No, and neither do half the people that drink it because they talked about it in Sideways. I'm pretty sure it's made in the same vat they make SeaBreeze zit cleanser.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:45 AM on November 8, 2005


China seems relatively uninterested in producing wines

Not so much uninterested - just more innovative.
posted by Zetetics at 7:46 AM on November 8, 2005


Kentucky's wineries make great stuff- it's called bourbon.
And it's weird, because I've been seeing more and more small estate bottles at low prices at my local stores, especially from Spain and Portugal, which I'm really getting into. There are some from Italy too. I never really dug French wine, but there seems to be plenty of that too... And, frankly, most New World wine is stuff like Shiraz and Merlots that I don't really enjoy anyway. It's too flat and round. I like the good spike of Chianti, that crispness that comes with it. (Although things like the Castillo Del Diablo and some other Argentinean wines are really tasty...)
posted by klangklangston at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2005


No Peaches, bourbon is made in distilleries from corn. Think of it as refried Karo syrup.

Anyway, a big part of the Kentucky wine thing is converting from tobacco farming, which is a good idea; I personally think we should also resume producing the cash crop that grows best here, namely marijuana hemp. The waste product of growing hemp for its fibrous stalk is of course its leaves and stems, which they'll have to dispose of somehow....

And most expensive fancy-name bourbons are okay, but in most cases they're not worth the premium price; I'd rather have two bottles of Wild Turkey than one of Woodford Reserve, for example.
posted by davy at 12:24 PM on November 8, 2005


I'm doing my part to solve the cronic overproduction problem in Bordeaux.

Moi aussi! Still a bit expensive, but usually worth it.

I'd rather have two bottles of Wild Turkey than one of Woodford Reserve, for example.

I'd disagree there, and I'm not a bourbon snob (though who would describe themselves as one?).

I drink a lot of well bourbon (which is, if you're very lucky here, Jim Beam (which is cheaper (and better?) than Wild Turkey, I'd guess)) at bars, but I'll either buy Beam (party), Maker's (classic), Woodford (fave), or Old Gran-Dad (old memories) for home drinking.

Still, I'd prefer one bottle of Woodford to two Beams. It's a better taste value in the long run.

a big part of the Kentucky wine thing is converting from tobacco farming

A big part should be hemp farming. Whatever happened to that? (I do not mean to derail. I love wine.)
posted by mrgrimm at 2:05 PM on November 8, 2005


Having spent the weekend driving around and sampling from the cellar doors of the Barossa and Clare Valleys, which sandwich my town, I can only say <burp> Suffer in yer Jocks, you continental pussies.
posted by Jimbob at 4:09 PM on November 8, 2005


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