I’ve been trying to post this for a week but between packing to head east to New York City and the Jersey Shore and all the extra shopping required because at least three of the four munchkins has outgrown their bathing suits, it didn’t happen. Even my favorite pastime – Twitter, has seen neglect! But tonight, while half the family watches the Cavs and the Warriors play, I have a moment to post. One thing, I so hoped it would have been the Thunder and Cavs but maybe next year.
Summer is upon those of us living in the northern hemisphere. Time to break out the summer novels, those saucy paperbacks, chilling thrillers, tales of romantic heartbreak, sweet memoirs, and mysteries. Whatever whiles away the hours by the pool or shore. Nothing too taxing on the intellect of a sun drenched and Long Island Iced tea soaked brain. At the start of our summer break, I picked up a few wine books to fill my beach bag before we left for the Jersey shore. There is a cornucopia of wine literature out there that you can prop open with a bottle of Banana Boat SPF50 while lounging around. Here’s one I plucked from the shelves and opened early:
Wine Wars by Mike Veseth
It’s a fairly straightforward tale of global wine marketing told by a witty professor of economics. Wine Wars zeroes in on the influences at work behind directing wine drinkers to buy certain wines and untangles the economics behind the wine route. It starts with a lesson in British wine history and the Empire’s vast influence on wine global marketing and moves to the homogenization of wine or what Veseth calls McWine. There’s an interesting antedote about Karl and Theo Albrecht, founders of the Aldi grocery stores. Aldi, the barebones discounter, apparently sells wine for .97 cents/liter in Europe. Their upscale American shop, for those of you in the know, is none other than that West Coast hipster, Trader Joes. Since there aren’t any Trader Joes in my area I’ve never had the pleasure of sampling a TwoBuckChuck but recently there has been a push to modernize Oklahoma’s liquor laws and allow grocery stores to sell wine. This means our neighborhood Aldi might be hocking wine for a $1.00! Now the question is Will I Buy it? Definitely! I’m up for adventure and I can spare a dollar. Well, at least until we hand over the college tuition in August. After that the only wine I’ll be able to afford will be Aldi’s “dump bucket red”.
In war, you need opponents and with the birth of McWine, a group of vignerons called CRAV (French acronym) or the “Regional Committee for Viticultural Action” has arisen. These wine vigilantes are the modern version of the Boston tea party. They hijack wine containers filled with what they deem as inferior wine and dump them out. They have vowed to protect wine’s sense of place, it’s terrior and the “heart of European Culture”, thus creating the wine war and their nickname of the wine terroirists.
“Globalization brings the world to you, Two Buck Chuck makes it understandable and gives you the confidence to buy, but we need terroirists so that we don’t forget that wine is a beautiful product of nature, not a commoditized manufactured good.” – Mike Veseth, Wine Wars.
Overall, I liked the book. Now I think I’ll hunt for a wine novel about vineyard adventures with complex characters, an old wine cellar and mystery or maybe just a wine comedy with quirky characters and recipes. I’ll let ya know what I find.
photo credits: flickr.com & amazon.com respectfully