How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink
After reading this intriguing book, a glass of wine will be more than hints of blackberries or truffles on the palate. Written by the author of the popular, award-winning website DrVino.com, Wine Politics exposes a little-known but extremely influential aspect of the wine business—the politics behind it. Tyler Colman systematically explains how politics affects what we can buy, how much it costs, how it tastes, what appears on labels, and more. He offers an insightful comparative view of wine-making in Napa and Bordeaux, tracing the different paths American and French wines take as they travel from vineyard to dining room table. Colman also explores globalization in the wine business and illuminates the role of behind-the-scenes players such as governments, distributors, and prominent critics who wield enormous clout. Throughout, Wine Politics reveals just how deeply politics matters— right down to the taste of the wine in your glass tonight.
In this economic history of vino, writer, teacher and blogger Colman explains how the wines we drink-that is to say, the bottles that wind up on the shelves and on our tables-are shaped by politics: "not only which grapes grow where, what can be written on the label, which wines are exported or imported, which wines are available in local stores, and how much a wine costs, but, perhaps most importantly... affects the quality of the wine in the bottle." Colman focuses on two of the biggest producer nations in the world, France and the United States, comparing the hold each has had on the industry. In France, vines grew abundantly and consumption became a national tradition, but Americans have been trying to grow wine grapes for at least 400 years-and have really been successful only in the past 40. The author also examines the significance of terroir, wine critics and distribution networks, the alcohol laws of different states (some dating back to Prohibition) and other factors complicating the relationship between those who make wine and those who want to drink it. By exploring these and other crucial concerns, Colman provides an enlightening volume on a complex topic.