Although China's bustling metropolises and staid Bordeaux may seem worlds apart, the two are becoming increasingly intertwined. Indeed, China recently overtook the traditional strongholds of Germany and the United Kingdom to become Bordeaux's largest export destination. This transformation is particularly remarkable given the country's short history of mass wine consumption. Historically, beverages such as sorghum-based baijiu and beer have dominated Chinese alcohol consumption, with wine only recently gaining wide acceptance.

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01052012 wine-taber

The worldwide wine business is a good case study in free trade, given that there are many producers and few restrictions on commerce. In recent years, the cost of wine has reflected this generally free global market in two ways - one good and the other bad, as George M. Taber argues in this op-ed piece. Taber is the author of four books on wine. His latest is titled, A Toast to Bargain Wines: How innovators, iconoclasts, and winemaking revolutionaries are changing the way the world drinks.

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According to the study “Eco-Labeling Strategies: The Eco-Premium Puzzle in the Wine Industry,” carried out by the American Association of Wine Economists, based on more than 13,000 wine bottles from California that are sold in the US market, the wines with the best prices are those that perform sustainability actions though they not specified them in their labels.

“Eco-labels provide information about the environmental characteristics of a product. Eco-labels are effective if consumers are willing to pay a price premium for green products which are costlier to produce.” However, “in the wine industry, many wineries obtain eco-certification but do not label it on their wine bottle,” points out the study.

“Also, eco-labels are relatively new and consumers do not necessarily understand the actual meaning behind the different labels. More specifically, some consumers are still confused about the difference between wine made out of organically grown grapes and organic wine,” states the American Association of Wine Economists.

“Yet eco-certification does not need to be directly associated with consumers’ recognition of the label, as we demonstrate with the investigation of other potential benefits associated with certification. We theorize that certification can provide reputation benefits via clubs or trade associations. We also suspect that eco-certification can lead to a higher wine quality and provided a second set of regressions of wine characteristics on the scores attributed by the Wine Spectator. The results indicate that wine quality increases with eco-certification. The winery might also gain reputation and publicity,” maintains the report.

In order to see the full study, please click here:

By Ma. Soledad González | Source :: winesur

Capture has become the favorite online destination for 20- to 30-somethings who are new to wine and curious about it. Founded by Alyssa Rapp in 2005, the company has increased subscribers of its daily wine tips e-mail from 30,000 in January 2009 to around 130,000 now. Drawing on the popularity of sites like Facebook, Bottlenotes’ focus on social media is what makes the company unique, not to mention successful. This year, while much of the business world is still reeling from the economic meltdown, Bottlenotes expects to double its revenue over 2009, and projects that it will double it again in 2011.

But, Bottlenotes did not start out as a media platform. When first founded, Bottlenotes was essentially a wine marketing firm and e-commerce site. Near the end of 2008 though, Rapp and her team transformed the site into the community- and content-driven site it has become today. The goal, she says, was to make it something akin to a Wine Spectator of the 21st century.

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It also tastes better.

The Financial Times just published a fantastic infographic about wine, which basically tells you everything you’d ever want to know about grape varieties, wine regions, and good wines.

But buried in all the superb information is a remarkable nugget: A chart of the Liv-ex 100, which is the wine equivalent of the S&P 500:

Wine Index 2

By itself, that’s not remarkable. But then, take a look at the actual S&P 500. In the last three years, it’s down 26%. The Liv-ex 100, by contrast, is up by about 12%. That sort of performance would beat all but the very best hedge-fund managers. (And at least some of those guys are probably cheating.)

The Liv-ex 100 includes wines whose names you hear most often in a Bond flick or a rap song: Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Petrus, Ychem, Cristal, and Dom Perignon.

Once you’ve kicked yourself for salting money away in your 401k instead of going on a wine shopping spree, check out the rest of the infographic, which contains maps detailing the wine regions across the world, and recommendations from renown wine taster Jancis Robinson.

By Cliff Kuang | Source :: Fast Company

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