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Wine Wars Book Review

Greetings from Sedona….

One of the greatest philosophical principles is, “There are no contradictions.  If you think you have found one, check your premises.  One of them is wrong.”   It is a never ending frustration that critics assume that globalization is a major factor in causing continued grinding poverty around the world when the obvious explanations of corruption, Byzantine bureaucracy, and idiot economic regulatory structures are the great constants of perpetuating poverty in a world of abundance.

Truly free trade and globalization are keys to alleviating poverty.  The real reason for objections to both is that some people in rich countries will see their relative status and wealth decline.  The tragedy is that so many poor countries ape many rich countries’ hypocritical protectionist policies.

Since Frederic Bastiat there has been little written that further illuminates the subjects of tariffs and trade, and I had long since given up the idea that I would find any new books of value here.  Then I came across WINE WARS: THE CURSE OF THE BLUE NUN by Mike Veseth, which I purchased because of my interest in wine – making and growing as well as the drinking.

WINE WARS is about the globalization of the wine industry.  It is a terrific read for people from all levels of familiarity with wine.  It is of extra value to the novice who will obtain an important understanding of what is on the “wine wall” at the store and why it is laid out as it is.

From the perspective of a jaded economist, like me, WINE WARS served up excellent examples of how every country that tried protecting its domestic wine makers succeeded only in creating a wine industry that turned out crappy wine and a moribund wine industry.  In nearly every case, when protections were lifted, from Argentina to New Zealand, the wine industry experienced a dramatic rebirth.  Today the French continue subsidizing winemakers which results in a glut of garbage wine form the Languedoc region.

Thanks in large measure to globalization, I am drinking wine significantly superior to wine made even as recently as twenty years ago.  The glitterati benefit from this trend, but the biggest beneficiaries are novices and those on a strict budget as WINE WARS’ discussion of Two Buck Chuck will show. WINE WARS is full of many more surprising facts and well written analysis of wine, the wine industry and its history.  I wish you all good reading and great drinking.

All the best to you all,

Stephen Reiss