Dirty Jobs: Extreme Wine Edition

Dirty Jobs is a popular television show where host Mike Rowe goes out and works alongside ordinary people as they earn a  living for themselves and their families and make products and services for the rest of us. The jobs are frequently dangerous and often have a high “yuck!” factor  but, as they say, it’s a dirty job and someone’s gotta  do it.

Memo to Mike: Next Time Wear a Maroon T-Shirt.

Winemaking is a Dirty Job

Mike’s done all sorts of dirty things — he’s even worked as a winemaker. Mike gets pretty dirty in this episode (click on the link to view it) although the brief clip on the Discovery Channel website is relatively clean.

One job that is apparently too dirty for the Dirty Jobs crew is research. At the end of each show Mike pleads with his audience to send in ideas for even dirtier jobs. If you don’t, he says, I’m out of a job!

Now I don’t really believe that the Dirty Jobs staff is as clueless as they say, but I think they have the right idea. The people who watch their show have a world of experience and are full of great ideas. They’d be crazy to ignore this great (and free) resource. No wonder the show is so successful.

Wine Writing is a Dirty Business, Too

This started me thinking. Wine writing is a dirty job, too, and readers of The Wine Economist are pretty smart and creative. Maybe I should exploit their expertise for the book I’m working on now.

My new book, Wine Wars will be out in June and I’m doing research for a follow-up project tentatively titled Extreme Wines that explores the world of wine from its outer limits — the best, worst, cheapest, most expensive and most outrageous wines that I can find. The idea is that the forces that are shaping wine today will show up first and maybe most clearly at the edges, so that’s where I want to go.

I’ve got a lot of ideas about what extremes would be the most interesting and I have gathered them up into a few categories:

  • Extreme Wines: Best and the Worst
  • The Fame Game: Most Famous, Most Forgotten and Most Infamous
  • Sold Out: Rarest, Most Unusual and Most Ubiquitous
  • Money Wine: Cheapest, Most Expensive, Most Profitable and Most Overpriced
  • Big and Small:  Extreme Wine by the Numbers
  • Message in a Bottle: Wine Magazines, Critics, Books and Films

Like the Dirty Jobs folks, I’m looking for a little help here, folks. Can you think of interesting categories I have left out? Do you have nominees for wines (or wine regions or types of wines) that I should include in the book? If you do, leave a comment below or send email to Mike@WineEconomist.com. Like that other Mike, I need all the help I can get.

Because writing wine books is a dirty job but, hey, someone’s gotta do it. Why not you?

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7 responses

  1. As an economist, you must surely seek out “worst investment” or “most insane rate of return”. Only problem in our business will be sorting through all the entries.
    Given the worshipful press for low yields, how about “stingiest vineyard”? And don’t forget “most painful slippery fingers”, presumably the Forbes Jefferson bottle accident.
    Dirty jobs? I had one (my briefest). One summer on temp labor, we were hired out to fix chicken coops in an egg-laying factory. Enormous coops, 100+ degrees, dodging robot feeders traveling up and down the aisles, working around tortured demented chickens 5-10 per cage, the smell was not to be believed. The cages were open-bottomed mesh, so all chicken droppings fell to a subterranean level below the flooring between cages. Last straw – we were told if we dropped any of the repair wire, we were supposed to go down to the subterranean level and retrieve it.

  2. You might consider ‘extreme’ countries that are the largest net exporters, net importers, or have the highest market share growth. You could even put it in terms of wine produced or exported/imported per-capita. That might be pretty interesting.

    Also, ‘extreme’ barriers to trade such as, tariffs, trade distorting mechanisms (EU wine subsidies maybe?). Argentina charges a 5% wine export tax, but then reimburses them with a 5% export subsidy. Maybe that doesn’t qualify as ‘extreme’, but definitely counts as ‘quirky’.

  3. If your boss is coming for dinner, you’re not going to serve Vin Plonk. but if the Chairman of the Board is dropping by, you’ll want something tht will impress him. So what wine wins The Flute-Snoot award for the most snobbish and over-rated wine?

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