Monday, 1 March 2010


Oliver Styles is away


Thursday, 20 August 2009

Cheap wine for everyone

You're all cynics. Oscar Wilde said cynics 'know the price of everything and the value of nothing'. A lot of wine collectors seem to fall into this category.

So it's a little bit refreshing when Fred Franzia says there's no wine worth $50.

He's right really, isn't he? Even La Revue de Vin de France estimated that the actual cost of production of a bottle of Château Latour was about €24. So where does all this 'added value' come from?

I don't mind people adding a bit of profit to their wines - that's fine, and normal. And you can't stop people adding value at auctions, and so on. But if a cap was put on prices at the start, estates would have to find out different ways to deal with the demand - reward loyalty, or visitors.

Because aside from the prestige of having a £1,000 price tag, the only other aspect influencing price is demand.

So lets go skiing. Back in the '90s when skiing was all the rage, top resorts found the influx was too much to handle. They needed to reduce numbers. What was the best way? Increase the price of the lift pass. A lot.

And it worked. Less people came because they were priced out, but people with more money came. Win-win right? Well what about all those kids that could be enjoying the experience but couldn't because families couldn't afford to go? They'll never learn to love skiing because they're a drain on resources. And I'll tell you another thing for free: the skiing experience is not enhanced by having a greater propensity of rich people on the slopes. Not one bit.

And if good wine (and I'll admit Two Buck Chuck isn't my idea of good wine) is such a wonderful, cultural product that is best enjoyed in the company of those we love, why is this enjoyment only for the rich?

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