Friday, May 3, 2019

We Live In A Golden Age of Drinking

The other night I enjoyed a GSM with a meal of grilled veggies and meat.  The classic blend of grenache, syrah, and mourvedre takes on different styles depending on the continent of origin, but
always seems to dazzle with its combo of fruit and savory flavors.  This particular one, made in southern Australia, set me back a very reasonable $11 and got me to thinking, yet again, that we live in the golden age of drinking.

How is it possible that a wine can be cultivated, harvested, and made well in the Barossa Valley before being bottled in glass, loaded into cases, trucked to a port, craned onto a ship, sailed halfway around the world, trucked again through who knows how many warehouses, before making its way to a grocery store shelf in the eastern edge of the Midwest and still cost just $11?

That, people, is a miracle of modern times. If you’re looking for evidence that we live in a marvelous time to be a wine consumer, this is it!

Four or so years ago I wrote a piece about the potential upsides of the three tier system relative to what unintended consequences a deregulated market could bring.  The devil's advocate argument in that article elicited more spirited response than the vast majority of subjects covered on these pages.  Why?  Because people love to hate on the man that is the establishment underpinning the three tier system.  (And, well, the lack of love is not entirely without good reason.)


It's easy to throw the baby out with the bath water and join the fervor that the three tier system is evil, but its primary function is supply chain, and a robust supply chain is what makes drinking wine from other continents possible.  That we can enjoy non-US wines at generally more reasonable prices than domestic stuff is proof that the supply chain is oozing efficiency.

It wasn't all that long ago that consumer choices were extremely narrow and homogeneous.  But today you can walk into a wine shop in almost any city and find an incredible diversity of products from around the world.  We have come a long way, baby. So, in the spirit of gratitude and pointing out minor economic marvels of modernity, cheers!

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