Industry insiders present their evidence that the line between bulk wine and fine wine has become blurred. In this new release from Dog Ear Publishing, the authors work to promote the craft of artisan wine making, showing how it differs from its mass-produced counterpart.
Wine is big business in the United States – the largest wine market in the world – with a projected retail value of $4.4 billion in 2012, note the authors of this new book exploring how wine is marketed and sold. Even as the retail value of wine has gone up, the number of U.S. distributors has declined in the last 20 years from about 7,000 to 700, according to Stonebridge Research Group, with just more than 80 percent of all shipments coming from the 10 largest wine companies. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see how small artisan winemakers face unprecedented challenges in the U.S. market and worldwide.
In “Grape-a-Hol: How Big Business is Subverting Artisan Winemaking and the Future of Fine Wine,” two industry insiders explore the impact of large, multinational mass production of wine on the fate of small artisan winemakers globally, particularly in New Zealand, where they operate a winery. The book’s title features a term the two coined to distinguish fine wine from “grape-a-hol,” a beverage mass-produced by factories from fermented grape juice and passed off as a substitute for fine wine. In the authors’ view, wine “must be worthy of the expectations and inquisitiveness of the people consuming it,” something they say artisans winemakers take to heart.
The book, divided into a series of essays, features hot-button chapter titles such as “The Plonk That Launched a Thousand Ships,” “Carnival Tricks,” “Brand Burning in the Supermarkets” and “Claptrap about Closures,” a discussion on corks , screw caps and plastic closures. Perhaps the most unusual entry is the chapter “Harry Potter Has Nothing over Biodynamics,” which features a description of biodynamics, a method of organic farming that uses observance of lunar phases and planetary cycles, as well as incantations and substances prepared by ritual to produce better grapes, wines and marketing. The authors cover everything from bulk shipping to offshore bottling, unscrupulous marketing, wine industry parasites and reduction of consumer choice, offering their own solutions to preserving the craft of making fine wine.
Author Michael Spratt, founder and owner of Destiny Bay Vineyards, is a founding member of The Specialist Winegrowers of New Zealand. He is president of the Waiheke Winegrowers Association and director of New Zealand Winegrowers. He has a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Barkeley. Author Mark Feldman, CEO of Destiny Bay Wine Imports, has experience as a U.S. importer and distributor of New Zealand’s highest rated artisan wine. He has a Ph.D. in communications from Northwestern University and has been instrumental in marketing Destiny Bay Vineyards since its founding in 2000. This is the second book the pair has written. Their first, “Five Frogs on a Log: A CEO’s Guide to Accelerating the Transition in Mergers, Acquisitions, and Gut-Wrenching Change,” has been printed in five languages.
For additional information, please visit www.grapeahol.com.
Grape-a-Hol: How Big Business is Subverting Artisan Winemaking and the Future of Fine Wine
Michael Spratt and Mark Feldman
ISBN: 978-1-4575-1030-4 120 pages $13.99 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble
and fine bookstores everywhere.
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