Book of the Year, Wine Wars Tour & Top Posts of 2011

Happy New Year, everyone! Herewith brief reports on the top Wine Economist posts of 2011, the next stops on the Wine Wars World Tour and an unexpected book of the year award.

Wine Book of the Year

I’m very pleased (and more than a little suprised)  to report that Wine Wars and Benjamin Lewin’s terrific In Search of Pinot Noir have been named wine books of the year 2011 by Paul O’Doherty, the book reviewer at JancisRobinson.com.  He writes that

From the get-go you just don’t want to put this book down, slaloming as it does informatively through economic and social history, the wine industry, the future, and observations setting the scene for the great battle between the market forces redrawing the world wine map and, as Veseth puts it, ‘the terroirists who are trying to stop them’.

O’Doherty makes the fair criticism that, like the college professor that I am, I tend to go off on occasional tangents and not always get to the point as quickly as you might like. But he spins this into a rather charming compliment:

 However, in his defence, there’s a kindly lecturing sweep to his narrative so that, if you were listening to him at the back of his economics class in college, you’d just want him to keep talking forever.

Not sure my students would vote for “forever,” although I suspect it seems like forever to them on some days. He concludes that

This is undoubtedly a fascinating read that will be a treat to most tastes and is, along with Benjamin Lewin’s In Search of Pinot Noir, one of the books of the year.

Thanks for the kind words. I am flattered by the praise and honored to be on any list that includes a book by Benjamin Lewin.

Looking Ahead: Wine Wars Tour Continues

I’m excited to see what 2012 will bring. I know I will meet more interesting people as the Wine Wars World Tour continues to unfold. Here is my current schedule for January and February.

January 2012

February 2012

Looking Back: Top Posts

2011 was a big year for the Wine Economist blog, with about 190,000 hits for an average of about 525 per day. About 1000 people “follow” the Wine Economist either through email updates that are sent out whenever a new post goes live or via the Wine Economist FaceBook page. These are small numbers compared to the most popular wine websites, but they suggest that there is a surprisingly large audience for wine economics analysis.

I thought you might be interested in the most frequently visited Wine Economist posts for the year. Here is the league table as compiled by WordPress, based on which posts on the entire Wine Economist site received the most hits.

Year’s Most Popular Wine Economist Blog Posts 2007-2011

  1. Wine’s Future: It’s in the Bag (in the Box)
  2. Cracking the Chinese Wine Market
  3. Costco and Global Wine
  4. Curse of the Blue Nun
  5. Olive Garden and the Future of American Wine
  6. What’s The Next Big Thing in Wine?
  7. Wine Distribution Bottleneck
  8. The World’s Best Wine Magazine?
  9. Argentinean Wine: A SWOT Analysis
  10. Riesling: How Sweet It Is?

The picture changes a bit when you look at number of hits for posts first published during 2011 (excluding those from previous years).

Year’s Most Popular 2011 Wine Economist posts

  1. What’s The Next Big Thing in Wine?
  2. Argentinean Wine: A SWOT Analysis
  3. It’s Official! The Wine Wars Have Begun
  4. Extreme Wine: O Canada Ice Wine
  5. The Forbes Interview: Wineries that “Get It”
  6. Sizing Up Supermarket Wine
  7. The BRICs: Russian Wine Market Report
  8. The BRICs: Surprising Wines of India
  9. The BRICs: Misunderstanding Brazilian Wine
  10. Liquid Assets: Fine Wine versus Crude Oil

At first glance it is difficult to pick out a common thread from among these posts, since they cover so many individual topics (both a strength and a weakness of this blog, I suppose). But, stepping back a ways, I think I do see a theme: change. Most of these posts examine ways that the wine world is changing, shedding old traditions, embracing new technologies, opening new markets. Certainly economics is a driving force for innovation and change in wine, so perhaps this makes sense.

On that note I wish you a Happy 2012. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

>>><<<

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped me with The Wine Economist and Wine Wars in 2011, especially during our fieldwork expeditions in Argentina and Italy. Special thanks to my university students, Patrick (“the wine guy”), research assistants Janice & Scott, Nancy & Michael, Ron & Mary, and of course #1 research assistant Sue.

5 responses

  1. The Construction Specifications Institute? At any rate, as a former student, yes, you are right, I wouldn’t vote “forever” – at least not in a lecture format. Over a bottle (or two) of well-chosen wine and some of Sue’s cooking, well that’s a different story. You are indeed a great conversationalist full of a surprisingly wide spectrum of interesting bits of knowledge with the depth to share them in a broader context that makes it hard to call it an evening, either in person or with one of your books. Congratulations on the success of Wine Wars and your blog, which has really taken off (for good reason).

    • Think of it as CSI — much cooler that way. In any case, I’m going to add a bit to the talk about how wineries try to be “destinations” these days and not just production facilities and the effect this has on design and construction.

  2. Wine Wars – excellent read! Thank you Mike. I’m nearly 40 years in the industry now, your book ties together lots of things I lived thru in these years. Will recommend your book to all my winemarketing students at Heilbronn University

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