The Future of Wine & Globalization

My life is about to get a lot more complicated, but  in a good way. And that’s not Globaloney.

Readers of this blog know that I’m working on a book that I call The Future of Wine: Globalization, Two Buck Chuck and the Revenge of the Terroiristes.The argument is that the future of wine will be different from its past and that difference will be shaped by three powerful forces, globalization (new producers, new consumers, new values, new opportunities, new pressures), Two Buck Chuck (mass market commercialization and changing wine distribution channels) and the Revenge of the Terroiristes (the inevitable reaction to these radical forces of change).

It is not a completely original idea (have you seen Mondovino?), but I think it is a very useful one.  It’s a framework that will let me tell an important story in a way that a lot of people will find interesting.

But my work on the wine book was recently interrupted by a call from my publisher. Would I be interested in revising my last book (Globaloney: Unraveling the Myths of Globalization) to take into account the continuing financial and economic crisis?  Wow, what an opportunity.  I had to jump at it.  The impact of the economic crisis on global relations is so obviously interesting and important. The chance to rethink globalization in this context is too tempting to refuse.  So tomorrow I start work on Globaloney 2: The World Economic Crisis and the Future of Globalization.

You can read all about the new book at Globaloney2.com.

You’ll notice that “The Future of ” features in the titles of both the wine book and the new Globaloney edition and that’s not an accident. Thinking about the future of wine has affected the way I think about the economy. The conventional wisdom is to consider the wine world and the global economy as fundamentally stable, suffering inevitable booms and busts (globalization) or vintage variations (wine) within a relatively stable and predictable overall environment.

But we know that this isn’t always true with wine.  Wine’s history is full of structural shocks that have transformed established relations. Phylloxera, the rise of Australia, and  prospect of global climate change are just three examples that come to mind.

And we know that the global economy doesn’t always bounce back to the old path, either.  There is no reason to think that globalization after the crash will take the same form as globalization before it. Ask anyone at Lehman Brothers or General Motors if they think the road ahead and the one in the rearview mirror are the same and see what they have to say.

There are times when the “givens” give way and fundamental change occurs.  My working hypothesis for both books is that these are such times and that both wine and globalization are being deeply transformed. I may be wrong about this, but I know from experience that you never see the the big changes unless you look for them. I’m willing to risk seeing change that isn’t there in order to avoid missing it if it is.

So that’s how I’ll be spending the next few months — hoping that my understanding of wine will help me think clearly about globalization and that what I learn about the global economy will help me write more effectively about the future of wine.  It should be a wild ride. Watch this space for frequent updates.

Note: Ken Bernsohn reports that in Canada it is illegal to predict the future on a fraudulent basis.  He recommends that I add a disclaimer to this post and my “future of” work just in case.  Good idea.  Here is Ken’s suggested general purpose disclaimer:

Disclaimer: Some songs may contain a lyrical advisory. Parental discretion is advised. Enter at your own risk. This product is meant for educational purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental unless identified in this section of the book. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Use only as directed. No other warranty expressed or implied. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Postage will be paid by addressee. Apply only to affected area. May be too intense for some viewers. Do not stamp. For recreational use only. Do not disturb. All models over 18 years of age. If condition persists, consult your physician. No user-serviceable parts inside. Freshest if eaten before date on carton. Subject to change without notice. Times approximate. Simulated picture. No postage necessary if mailed in the United States. Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement. For off-road use only. As seen on TV. One size fits all. Many suitcases look alike. Contains a substantial amount of non-tobacco ingredients. Colors may, in time, fade. Slippery when wet. For office use only. Edited for television. Post office will not deliver without postage. List was current at time of printing. Not responsible for direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages resulting from any defect, error or failure to perform. At participating locations only. Not the Beatles.

Penalty for private use. See label for sequence. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. Do not write below this line. Falling rock. Lost ticket pays maximum rate. Place stamp here. Avoid contact with skin. Sanitized for your protection. Employees and their families are not eligible. Beware of dog. Contestants have been briefed on some questions before the show. Limited time offer, call now to insure prompt delivery. You must be present to win. No passes accepted for this engagement. No purchase necessary. Processed at location stamped in code at top of carton. Shading within a garment may occur. Use only in well-ventilated area. Keep away from fire or flame. Replace with same type. Approved for veterans. Some equipment shown is optional. Price does not include taxes. Not recommended for children. Prerecorded for this time zone. Reproduction strictly prohibited. No solicitors. No alcohol, dogs, or horses. List at least two alternate dates. First pull up, then pull down. Call toll free before digging. Driver does not carry cash. Some of the trademarks mentioned in this product appear for identification purposes only.  This supersedes all previous notices.

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4 responses

  1. Hi Mike,

    Congratulations for that good news, but…arghhh, I was waiting for your wine globalization book…. I guess I’ll have too wait a litle bit more.

    Good luck!

    Martin

  2. Thanks for this. I promise to get back to the wine book as soon as possible, Martin. In the meantime, keep checking this blog — I still have a lot of ideas to work out and I need everyone’s feedback.

    Mike

  3. Hi Mike,
    congratulations and good luck. I think we tend to view change as an exception and the status quo as the rule, but in reality and as you point out, change and flux are really the “constants” and little pockets of stability are the exception. Cheers.

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