Posts Tagged ‘london times’

Laying Tracks Before the Train

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Just this morning, while searching for inspiration, I delved into the London Times archives, which stretch back over 150 years, and it was there that I found this gem of an article. I’d recommend you read it in entirety, but as I know how pressed for time we all tend to be, I’ll try give a few outtakes to those of you passing through.

The article is from 1876, and is a report on the Californian wine industry where the author advises ‘great caution to those who may think of putting their money into vineyards’ in California, and states one of the problems of the industry as being ‘remoteness from the market and want of railways.’ More classic still is the quote about Californian red wine where the author states ‘but owing to the fact that it requires impressive skill and experience to produce good red wine and an abundance of certain varieties of grape, this branch of viniculture has not yet met with such success as it promises in the future.’ My, my, how time has changed things!

Indeed, we may look back on the last 10 years and marvel at how much change there has been, and anyone familiar with history would advise that nothing stays as it is, and the only thing we can ever be certain of is change itself. Critter wines came in hard and fast about the same time that French wines dropped in popularity, but my general prediction is this.

Now that Sarkozy has won, French wines are going to come back with a vengeance and win back their lost market share, giving California a run for its money, and deflating the over-inflated prices of Napa. Critter labels will drop in popularity, and good value/ high quality wines from Argentina, Spain and South Africa will begin to dominate the $7-$13 category. We’re going to see Australia depart from silly pictures, and will see a solid effort to tackle the wine glut by placing emphasis on more high-end Aussies.

Another point that I strongly believe is that there is a huge market for an online national wine retailer that stocks low cost, high quality and diverse global wines, challenging the perception that there are 4 types of white wine and 4 types of red. I think the Internet is the railway that the producers of over a century ago were longing for. Whilst a century ago, the lack of high-speed/ low cost and efficient means of transport to get wines to market left a lot of wines in cask without a buyer; today there are plenty overseas stateside wines that go unsold because of lack of cost-effective efficient means to get them to the consumer.

I’m all about tradition, but only insofar as tradition is based in culture, and is not a resistance of much needed modernization.

The full article I referred to appears below:

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