The Global Wine War

9914 WordsSep 29, 201140 Pages
9-910-405 AUGUST 13, 2009 CHRISTOPHER A. BARTLETT “We have the people, expertise, technology and commitment to gain global preeminence for Australian wine by 2025. It will come by anticipating the market, influencing consumer demand, and building on our strategy of sustainable growth.” — Sam Toley, CEO of Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation. “By phasing out the buyback of excess wine and increasing incentives for farmers to uproot their vines, the EC reforms will only bring in the New World’s agro-industry model. We need to protect the age-old European model built on traditional vineyards.” — Jean-Louis Piton, Copa-Cogeca Farmers Association. In 2009, these two views reflected some of the very different sentiments unleashed by…show more content…
During the French Revolution, many large estates were seized, divided, and sold at auction. And after 1815, the Napoleonic inheritance code prescribed how land had to be passed on to all rightful heirs. By the mid-19th century, the average holding in France was 5.5 ha. and was still being subdivided. (In Italy, similar events left the average vineyard at 0.8 ha.) While the largest estates made their own wine, most small farmers sold their grapes to the local wine maker or vintner. With payment based on weight, there was little incentive to pursue quality by reducing yield. Some small growers formed cooperatives, hoping to participate in wine making’s downstream profit, but grape growing and wine making remained highly fragmented. Distribution and Marketing Traditionally, wine was sold in bulk to merchant traders—négociants in France—who often blended and bottled the product before distributing it. But poor roads and complex toll and tax systems made cross-border shipping extremely expensive. In the early 19th century, for example, a shipment of wine from Strasbourg to the Dutch border had to pass through 31 toll stations.2 And since wine did not travel well, much of it spoiled on the long journeys. As a result, only the most sophisticated négociants could handle exports, and only the rich could afford the imported luxury. Late 18th century innovations such

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