Wine Wars Paperback: Smaller, Lighter, Cheaper

The motto of the Olympic Games is Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher Stronger). I think the motto of the new paperback edition of Wine Wars, which has just been released, must be Smaller, Lighter, Cheaper. That makes it a poor fit for the Olympics, but maybe a good fit for your pocketbook (and an interesting option for tasting room and book store sales).

Wine Wars Hardback Wine Wars Paperback Wine Wars Kindle
Size: 9” x 6.3” x 1” Size: 8.9” x 6.1” x 0.8” 439 KB
Weight:  16.1 oz Weight: 14.6 oz 0
List Price: $24.95 List Price: $16.95 $9.99


The book is modestly smaller in its physical dimensions as any paperback would be compared with the hardback original. Incredibly, there is actually a little bit more content crammed in. I took advantage of the new edition to correct a couple of typos and then to add brief “tasting notes” at the end of several chapters. The notes update important events and comment on what how trends of changed or developed since the hardback came out in June 2011.

Cheaper is the factor that will probably get the most attention. The list price is $16.95 compared with the hardback’s $24.95 suggested price. Amazon is selling the Kindle version for a mere $9.99, which is a great price, but of course you have to buy a Kindle to read it (or download the free Kindle software or App and read it on your tablet or personal computer).

New and Improved? Well, yes — but that’s not the point (or the only point). I hope the lower price will encourage more readers to read the book or give it to their wine-loving friends.


I’m in Cape Town, South Africa this week to participate in Cape Wine 2012 and give the keynote at the Nederburg Auction. Look for my first report next week.

Better in paper? You be the judge!

Boom Varietal: Film Festival Update

Boom Varietal: The Rise of Argentine Malbec, a documentary film produced by Kirk Ermisch and directed by Sky Pinnick, had its world premier last fall and has been on the independent film festival circuit since then, where it has earned several awards.

Boom Varietal is coming to the Seattle-Tacoma area in October as part of the Tacoma Film Festival. Local wine enthusiasts should make plans to attend the screening at 2pm on Saturday October 6 at the grand old Grand Cinema in Tacoma.

Boom Varietal is one of those films that seems to stimulate all your senses (and Kirk aims to make this literally true with a Malbec tasting and discussion after the film). It is certainly visually stunning with a beautiful soundtrack by Franchot Tone. And the story line should appeal to Wine Economist readers, too.

The tale of Malbec’s rise is about nature, history, people, passion and of course business — and that’s where I come in. I appear at several points in the film to sort of connect the dots. I was quite surprised by the amount of screen time I had when I first saw the film, but I guess it is an indication of how important economics is the world of wine today and how money connects people almost as well as wine!

I’ll be at the screening on October 6 — hope to see you there! Cheers!

Watch for Boom Varietal at these upcoming film festivals

Montana CINE International Film Festival 10/17-23
Rivers Edge International Film Festival 11/1-4
Napa Valley Film Festival 11/7-11

Wine Wars in South Africa: Nederburg Auction Keynote

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be giving the keynote address at this year’s Nederburg Auction in Paarl, South Africa. I was already planning to attend Cape Wine 2012 as a guest of Wines of South Africa, so I was delighted to receive an invitation from the Nederburg Auction organizers to extend my visit by a day or two in order to address their international audience.

About the Nederberg Auction

A premier event on Cape Town’s wine calendar, the Nederburg Auction serves to showcase the spectrum of award-winning wines and rare Cape finds created by the country’s most talented winemakers. Since its beginnings in 1975 with the ‘famous five’ founding participants; Delheim, Groot Constantia, Overgaauw, Simonsig and of course Nederburg, and an offering of just 15 wines, the Auction has evolved into an international event where major local and overseas wine buyers bid for a stringently selected range of the finest wines created by South Africa’s most talented winemakers.This year marks the 38th year of this prestigious event.

Here’s a video about the 2011 Nederburg Auction.

The Press Release

Guests at this year’s prestigious Nederburg Auction won’t want to miss the keynote address by best-selling US author and wine expert Mike Veseth on Saturday 29 September at Nederburg in Paarl.

With the state of the global economy crisis posing many challenges to the wine world and the South African wine industry in particular, this acclaimed US economics professor and “wine economist” will bring his considerable expertise to the speaker platform, tailoring his keynote address around the subject of how South Africa can win the Wine Wars. This aptly follows the fresh insight presented by last year’s speaker, David White, into the changing wine landscape and the future implications for the industry and consumers.

He will discuss the market trends that are redrawing the world wine map and the terroirists (those focused on a wine’s terroir or place of origin) who resist them. Veseth believes that wine businesses are at a critical crossroads, shaped by the powerful forces of globalisation, corporate branding and the exploration of new markets.

As a professor in international political economy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, Veseth is regarded as an authority on the political economy of globalisation and the global wine market, applying his sharp and astute mind to analyse and understand the complex dynamics of the international wine world.

Nederburg Auction Business Manager Dalene Steyn says: “While believing in preserving the essence and the soul of wine, Mike is also well-versed on breaking into new markets in China, Australia, France and the US. With this combination of a love for wine along with extensive business and economic acumen, we believe he will inspire and motivate wine lovers in South Africa – just like he has done elsewhere in the world.”

The editor of The Wine Economist blog and author of more than a dozen books has won critical praise for his recent book“Wine Wars: The Curse of the Blue Nun, the Miracle of Two Buck Chuck and the Revenge of the Terroirists (2011)”, which draws remarkable conclusions on the market forces that drive the wine industry. The book has won several awards and prizes, including being selected as Best American Wine History Book 2011 by Gourmand International and a Wine Book of the Year by

Mike Veseth will address guests of the Nederburg Auction at 09:00 on Saturday 29 September in the Graue Hall, prior to the start of the day’s bidding session. For further information visit The Nederburg Auction is sponsored by Nederburg.

I’m honored to be asked to give this keynote address and pleased to be associated with such a prestigious event.

Wine Wars is Now Well Read

Well Read is a weekly book program on TVW, which is Washington State’s version of C-SPAN. Terry Tazioli is the host and Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn is a regular contributor. I was pleased to be invited to tape an interview with Terry last month and the program goes live today both on the cable channel and streaming on the web. Click on the video image above to watch the discussion.

I enjoyed making the program. Terry is a great interviewer and Mary Ann’s suggestions for further reading are on the money. What would I do different if I could do it again? Well, I guess I wouldn’t fumble so much at the end before recommending that the viewers run out and buy Washington wines (d’uh!).

And I wish I’d brought a bottle of wine with  me to share with Terry, Mary Ann and the video crew. I almost did, but for some reason I hesitated at the last minute, uncertain if it would be appropriate.  I should have just done it. What could be better than wine and a wine interview! Maybe you can correct my mistake by pouring yourself a glass to sip while you watch the interview.


The posts are likely to be a bit shorter on The Wine Economist for the next several weeks. I’m busy working on the first draft of Extreme Wine. Thanks to everyone who sent me suggestions for extreme people, places and wine things. Now it’s up t o me to get it written.

Extreme Wine: A Sideways Analysis of the World of Wine

I’ve started writing my next book which I’m calling Extreme Wine and I’m looking for a little help from Wine Economist readers.

Extreme Wine is a sequel to the best-seller Wine Wars. Where Wine Wars probed the center of the world wine market, Extreme Wines focuses on  edges based on the same theory that wine lovers use when they tilt their glasses “sideways” and analyze the liquid’s rim: the forces of change first make themselves visible at the outer limits.

I’d like to invite you to read about the ideas behind Extreme Wine by clicking here and to scroll down to see the working table of contents. Then please use the Comments section below to tell me what extremes you find the most interesting. What are the most unusual wines? Who are the most extreme wine personalities? What are the most extreme wine films and televisions programs? Where should I go on my “Around the World in 80 Wines” analysis of extreme wine tourism?

You get the idea — let me know your Extreme Wine suggestions and I’ll try to incorporate them in my book!

>>> Working Outline <<<

Searching High and Low for the Best, Worst and Most Unusual in the World of Wine

by Mike Veseth

  1. X-Wines: In Vino Veritas?
  2. Extreme Wine: Best and the Worst
  3. The Fame Game: Most Famous, Most Forgotten and Most Infamous
  4. Sold Out: Rarest, Most Unusual and Most Ubiquitous
  5. Money Wine: Cheapest, Most Expensive and Most Overpriced
  6. Extreme Wine Booms and Busts
  7. Extreme Wine People
  8. Fifteen Minutes: Celebrity Wine
  9. Message in a Bottle
  10. Extreme Wine Tourism
  11. BRIC by BRIC: Going to Global Extremes
  12. Tasting Notes  from the Edge

Wine Economist Milestones

Most Lucky Fellow

“Everybody should be so lucky as Mike Veseth — his lifelong intellectual passion is also his job, ” according to a recently published interview with Seattle Times book editor Mary Ann Gwinn that was highlighted by this front page “teaser” (see above). ” Lit Life” is a reference to Mary Ann’s regular book column — not to my wine consumption as some mischievous friends have suggested.

I can’t really argue with the “lucky” tag. I especially appreciate all of you who have read Wine Wars and follow the Wine Economist — I’m lucky that you’ve decided to come along for the ride!

Milestones Along the Way

The Wine Economist passed a couple of milestones when I wasn’t looking.

  • Number of posts: now more than 300 or roughly the equivalent of three 80,000-word books.
  • Number of visits: now more than a half million in total according to the click counters at WordPress, the company that hosts my blog.
  • Number of subscribers/followers: now more than 900 followers of the blog plus almost 350 more on The Wine Economist’s Facebook page.

New Books in the Pipeline

Finally, I want to mention two new projects. I’m putting the finishing touches on some additional material that will appear in the forthcoming paperback version of Wine Wars, which is set for November 2012 release.

And I’ve started work on the sequel to Wine Wars, which is called Extreme Wines. I’ll provide more information about this soon.

Now back to work!

Wine Wars Update: University of Pinot

The Wine Wars “world tour” is still rolling along; I thought you might like to see the current schedule of events (see list at the end of the post).

More Homework!

I’m particularly pleased to announce that I will be teaching in the “University of Pinot” that is being organized as part of the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon at the end of July. The IPNC is the premier event for Pinot Noir lovers, drawing winemakers (and drinkers) from all over the Pinot world. It will be fun to mix and mingle with them and talk about the state of wine on Planet Pinot.

There will be courses on geography, geology, climatology, and applied cultural studies (flying winemakers) taught by a cast of wine experts and celebrities.  Allen “Burghound” Meadows is teaching the “study abroad” course, although I think Burgundy will come to Oregon, not the other way around.

Several courses include wine tastings led by the winemakers themselves. Sounds great, doesn’t it. I expect the students to demand more homework! (No problem: the wine really flows at IPNC.)

I’m honored to be on the UP faculty and to be able to bring a global wine economics perspective to the curriculum. Here’s the catalog description of my course:


Globalization cuts both ways. It brings us a world of exciting wine experiences, but it also unleashes market forces that threaten to overwhelm the soul of wine. This dilemma affects all wine but the stakes are highest for real terroir wines such as Pinot noir. Drawing on the lessons of his 2011 book Wine Wars, Mike Veseth will investigate the global forces shaping wine and explain why he has “grape expectations” that Pinot terroirists will prevail.

My only regret is that Benjamin Lewin MW, the author of In Search of Pinot Noir, is not also on the program. But I understand that he will be in Bordeaux in July … in search of Cabernet Sauvignon (for his next book). Happy hunting!

Wine Wars World Tour Update

Here are the upcoming stops on the Wine Wars tour. Click here for the latest updated information.
April 2012
May 2012
  • Eastside Business Roundtable breakfast talk, Thursday May 3. Overlake Golf and Country Club (private event).
  • University of Puget Sound Olympia area alumni event, Thursday May 3. Details here.
June 2012
  • University of Puget Sound Alumni College. June 8-9. Details here. I’ll be talking about “Robert Mondavi and the ‘Grape Transformation’ of American wine.
July 2012
August 2012
  • American Wine Bloggers Conference, Portland, Oregon. August 17-19, 2012. I’ll be moderating one of the break-out sessions.

Cheers! Wine Wars Reviewed in Decanter

The April 2012 issue of Decanter (the self-proclaimed “World’s Best Wine Magazine”) arrived yesterday and I was surprised and pleased to find Amy Wislocki’s review of Wine Wars on page 109 in an article that also includes reviews of Naked Wine, Authentic Wine and In Search of Pinot Noir. It’s a very positive review and I’m pleased to be included in this group of recent wine books.

Wislocki calls Wine Wars “a breakneck gallop along the wine shelves of the typical store.” Breakneck gallop? I kinda like the sound of that! “Despite his academic background,” she writes, “Veseth has an unpretentious, lively style, if often overdoing the puns. His arguments, though, are serious.”  Good! I wanted Wine Wars to be a lively read, but the questions it confronts are serious indeed.

Wislocki does a great job of capturing my argument in Wine Wars and my optimism about the future of wine. She understands and appreciates both the strengths and limitations of the book. She writes, for example, that “The section on terroir wines feels slightly thin, but it is natural that he would be more at  home talking about wine economics than soil composition.”

The bottom line? “There is much that will be familiar to those in the trade, but any consumer keen to understand how the wine world works — and will develop — will find this a highly readable, comprehensive account.” I can’t argue with that assessment! Thanks Amy Wislocki and Decanter!

Wine Wars: Wine Press NW Interview, Eataly NY & More

[Click here if a video does not appear above.]

I’ve been on the road quite a bit recently, speaking at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers meetings in Eastern Washington and many other places. Andy Perdue of Wine Press Northwest managed to slow me down long enough to do this interview, which I think captures very well my enthusiasm for the opportunity to speak at these events and work with such great people.

World Tour Update: Eataly NYC

The Wine Wars World Tour continues next month (see schedule at the end of this post) with trips to New York, Washington DC and Hawai’i. Most of the scheduled events are for University of Puget Sound alumni, but I’m doing a class on March 13 at Eataly in New York City that is open to the public (for a fee, of course, but read on and you’ll understand why).

I’ll be talking about Wine Wars, Dan Amatuzzi (Eataly’s Wine Director) will lead a tasting of five Italian terroirist wines and Patrick Lacey (Executive Chef of Eataly’s La Scuola) will prepare regional food pairings (tasting notes and adapted recipes will be provided). What fun! Here’s a listing of the wines and foods. Wow!  What great choices!


Monastero Suore Cistercensi “Coenobium Rusticum” 2009, Lazio
Giacomo Borgogno Barolo Riserva 1999, Piemonte
Antinori Brunello di Montalcino “Pian delle Vigne” 2006, Toscana
Argiolas “Turriga” 2006, Sardinia
Tenute Rubino Aleatico Amabile 2007 (500ml), Puglia

Puntarelle in Salsa
Due Crostini – Piemontese & Toscani
Malloreddus con Salsiccia

Wine Wars at Raymond Vineyards

We did a Puget Sound alumni event at Raymond Vineyards in Napa Valley during our California trip and I thought you might be interested in Sue’s photos of the event, which try to capture the drama of the Raymond experience.  I did a book signing in the absolutely fabulous Red Room and then an alumni luncheon talk in the Crystal Cellar room. It was quite an feeling to have nearly 100 alumni seated at one long mirrored table with candlelight the only illumination, eating a fabulous meal along with great Raymond Vineyards wines.

Setting up for the luncheon

Lowering the lights

Alumni and guests dining by candelight

Book signing in the Red Room


Thanks to Patrick Egan and his boss, Jean-Charles Boisset, for their hospitality at Raymond Vineyards and to Svetlana Matt for organizing the event. Thanks to Andy Perdue for the great interview. Thanks to Dan and Cristina at Eataly for making the New York event possible. Thanks to Sue for the photos. Thanks to you for reading The Wine Economist!

Here is the Wine Wars World Tour schedule for next month.

March 2012


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