Monday, April 26, 2010

Job Security in the Wine Industry !

Some excellent posts recently, as always, on Tom Wark's Fermentation and Alder Yarrow's Vinography. An issue that has made headlines everywhere, especially in the wine blogosphere, is the H.R.5034 bill before congress. Here is Tom's take on it.
Another couple of good analyses are on Palate Press and the 30 Second Wine Advisor.
Alder did an in depth review of "The Coming Carnage in the California Wine Industry" with excellent comments that followed his post.
Even though they are two different issues, what is their common thread? Why jobs of course. Both have the potential of some serious job losses. But hold on, coming back to my previous post about Prohibition and its results, who is not looking for a new job? Massive government bureaucracies were created to interfere, oh pardon me, I meant regulate, alcohol consumption and subsequent contributions to government coffers. Do you know or have you heard of any regulatory inspectors loosing their jobs? If anything, they will be hiring more, with great job security as a bonus thrown in for the lucky candidates.

After all making sure that proper licencing is in place ensures those extra revenues. British Columbia has also seen some significant government lay-offs with the last go around another 230 people losing their jobs.
Recently the Naramata wineries held another very successful annual wine event in Victoria. At the same, in the same hotel, some government liquor inspectors were holding a conference. Guess what? They just could not resist and marched right in to check that every winery had proper licencing for the event. And as an added bonus for their efforts they got to taste some awesome new releases.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

May We Have a Little Culture with our Wine ?

It would have been inconceivable to think of Plato, Socrates and other Greek philosophers to have held their famous symposia without the benefit of wine. Ancient Greek society has contributed much to modern Western civilization, not the least of which is the culture of wine. For centuries Britain dominated the world wine trade and the nouveau rich upper middle class was largely responsible for creating the impression that wine was only for the educated well to do members of society.The poorer members of society went to the local 'Jug & Bottle' when they were thirsty.Thank goodness we are more enlightened these days.
Today there is a problem with young people and binge drinking. So how enlightened can it be for the French government's plan to bring wine education to French university canteens? It is not without opposition of course, but can you imagine some US state or in Canada a provincial government to even think of such a proposal? No, I am afraid we are still suffering from the hangover of Prohibition enacted in the US in 1920. And what were the results? Massive crime waves with the establishment of the Mafia. Ah, but the answer was to regulate alcohol consumption and of course use it as a cash cow for governments. It truly set back North American wine culture. Yes, it should be regulated as far as drinking and driving is concerned. Plato and the boys did not have to worry about getting into a car and causing accidents. It is morally very wrong to drink and drive. Killing yourself is one thing, but to be the instrument of death of another human life is reprehensible. Wine has been around since very ancient times and is not about to go away. So why not introduce wine culture and wine tasting at every opportunity out there?
How refreshing to read that at the California State University at Sacramento there is a course available on wine tourism.There is an enrollment limit of 20 students at a time because it involves field trips and yes, actually tasting wines.
There is I am afraid, a bit of nouveau snobbism out there. In our North American eagerness to catch up, there is a potential of wine education for the sake of the education itself. Consequently these 'experts' have an intimidating effect on large numbers of potential drinkers. They are forgetting about the best part of wine. Wine was made to be enjoyed to the fullest. Notice that the young lady in the picture knows not only how to hold the glass the right way, but most of all that she is taking time to enjoy the fruit of the vine. In Vino Veritas indeed. She has learned and knows the truth about wine. The truth about wine is that it is a most enjoyable drink and was meant to be shared and give pleasure to human kind.