My University of Puget Sound colleague Prof. Pierre Ly (shown above) accepted the award on my behalf, speaking in both English and Chinese. Pierre is in China lecturing and gathering material for the book that he and Cynthia Howson are writing about the Chinese wine industry.
Congratulations and a personal shout-out to Beate Joubert. Her book Taste of the Little Karoo won the “best in the world” bronze medal in the Local Cuisine cookbook category. We had a delicious lunch at Beate’s restaurant at the Joubert-Tradauw winery in Barrydale when we visited South Africa. Her husband Meyer and son Andreas are featured in the final chapter of Money, Taste, and Wine.
Thanks to Gourmand International for this honor. Thanks to my publisher Rowman & Littlefied and my editor Susan McEachern their valuable contributions to Money, Taste, and Wine. Special thanks to Pierre Ly for teaching me so much and representing me at the awards ceremony and to Édouard Cointreau for his encouragement and support.
Welcome to the page for my book Around the World in Eighty Wines. (2018). Available in hardback, eBook, audiobook and paperback (June 2020). Winner of the Gourmand award for best American wine tourism book. Ranked #20 on the BookAuthority list of best wine books of all time. #3 on BookAuthority’s list of best wine audiobooks of all time.
You will find Around the World in Eighty Wines and the other wine books by Mike Veseth at all the usual online and brick-and-mortar locations (click on the Amazon, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, Powell’s or Barnes & Noble button to order your copy today).
Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure tale, Mike Veseth takes his readers Around the World in Eighty Wines. The journey starts in London, Phileas Fogg’s home base, and follows Fogg’s itinerary to France and Italy before veering off in search of compelling wine stories in Syria, Georgia, and Lebanon. Every glass of wine tells a story, and so each of the eighty wines must tell an important tale. We head back across Northern Africa to Algeria, once the world’s leading wine exporter, before hopping across the sea to Spain and Portugal. We follow Portuguese trade routes to Madeira and then South Africa with a short detour to taste Kenya’s most famous Pinot Noir. Kenya? Pinot Noir? Really!
The route loops around, visiting Bali, Thailand, and India before heading north to China to visit Shangri-La. Shangi-La? Does that even exist? It does, and there is wine there. Then it is off to Australia, with a detour in Tasmania, which is so cool that it is hot. The stars of the Southern Cross (and the lyrics of a familiar song) guide us to New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina. We ride a wine train in California and rendezvous with Planet Riesling in Seattle before getting into fast cars for a race across North America, collecting more wine as we go. Pause for lunch in Virginia to honor Thomas Jefferson, then it’s time to jet back to London to tally our wines and see what we have learned.
Why these particular places? What are the eighty wines and what do they reveal? And—spoiler alert!—what is the surprise plot twist that guarantees a happy ending for every wine lover? Come with us on a journey of discovery that will inspire, inform, and entertain anyone who loves travel, adventure, or wine.
Mike Veseth has deftly captured the magical worldwide journey of wine. This is a great rollicking educational roller coaster of a ride that the global fraternity of wine enthusiasts will embrace. — Robert Hill-Smith, vigneron, Yalumba, Australia
Like a master blender, Mike Veseth stimulates the mind’s appetite with a wonderful balance of illusion and substance, as complex as a fine wine.Structured with cultural nuance and imagination, this delightful book is a must-read for serious wine enthusiasts and neophytes alike. Circumnavigating the world in eighty wines should be enjoyed with a glass of your favorite origin in hand. — George Sandeman, Sogrape Vinhos, Portugal
This captivating book is about more than just wine—it’s about human nature, travel, and enjoyment. As the Rick Steves of the wine world, Mike’s talents as a writer and storyteller transport the reader to a new territory to explore as each of the eighty wines are opened. — Howard Soon, Master Winemaker, Sandhill Wines
Mike Veseth takes the reader on a Phileas Fogg–inspired odyssey in search of the answer to the question: why wine? The solution is a true global adventure—a mosaic of stories that illuminate wine beyond the glass to embody the enduring human spirit through controversy, love, endurance, loss, and hope. I was packing my bags to join the journey before the end of part one. A must-read for all who love wine and life. — Michelle Williams, freelance writer and author of the Rockin Red Blog
“This adventurous book show us that wine is about more than what’s in the glass: it is about meeting new people and discovering vibrant cultures and amazing landscapes. Mike’s engaging storytelling reveals the histories behind the wine he tastes, which are often just as complex and delightful as the vino itself.
—Matteo Bisol, Venissa Winery, Italy
Around the World in 80 Wines by Mike Veseth
Table of Contents
Part 1: From London to Beirut
1. London: The Challenge is Made and the Journey Begins
As I mentioned back in January, everyone at The Wine Economist was delighted and just a little surprised to learn that we were short-listed for a major award. The Gourmand International “Best in the World” awards are given annually to recognize excellence in food and drinks writing. My 2011 book Wine Wars was honored by Gourmand International in one of the specialized categories when it was published.
This year there is an award for best blog. Here are the finalists.
The results were announced on June 8 in Yantai, China. I wanted to be there along with the other nominees in all the food and wine categories, but I was already committed to being in Conegliano, Italy giving a pair of talks at the famous wine school.
Well, the results are in and, to make a long story short, the winner is …
The Wine Economist? Yes! We at the Wine Economist are surprised and deeply honored by this recognition. Many thanks to everyone at Gourmand International for this award and personal thanks to Edouard Countreau for his support and encouragement.
2015 was a busy year here at The Wine Economist and 2016 is shaping up to be pretty interesting, too.
Looking Back at 2015
In January I spoke in the “State of the Industry” session at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento. Then we left for New York City where I spoke at “Vino 2015,” a conference and trade show organized by the Italian Trade Commission.
North to Alaska: I traveled to Juneau and Anchorage to give talks and do a fund-raising wine dinner for the World Affairs Council chapters in those cities. Then it was east to Boise, Idaho to speak at the Idaho Wine Commission annual meeting. Both Anchorage and Boise were surprisingly warm, but …
It was really really cold in Ontario when I visited in March to speak to the Winery & Grower Alliance of Ontario meetings, but the people were warm and it was a great experience. Then a quick trip to Walla Walla to talk about wine industry at a regional business summit.
South to California in May, to speak at the Ramona Valley AVA symposium, then a fund-raiser for the Admiral Theatre Foundation in Bremerton along with my friends from Hedges Family Wines. Sue and I were delighted to be invited to the 50-year retrospective tasting of Oregon’s Eyrie Vineyards in Portland, too.
Italy and a Few Surprises
June’s highlight was lecturing at the Conegliano Wine School in Italy and visiting with winemakers in the Veneto and Friuli.While we were in Cormons I got word that around the globe in Yantai, China the Wine Economist had received the Gourmand International prize for the “Best in the World” wine blog. Incredible.
Back home it was north again in July, to speak at the British Columbia Wine Institute annual meetings, then south to Napa Valley to talk at the California Association of Winegrape Growers summer conference.
Two books came out in the fall, my newest volume Money, Taste, and Wine: It’s Complicated and the paperback edition of Extreme Wine.
We visited Barboursville Vineyards while in Virginia to meet with Luca Paschina and we were lucky to able to meet up with Marc Hochar in Richmond and taste some older vintages of Lebanon’s Chateau Musar on the same trip.
I spoke at the Seattle meetings of the Academy of International Business and then flew to Milan to participate in a discussion on sustainability organized in conjunction with the big SIMEI trade show there.
The year ended on a high note when we learned that Money, Taste, and Wine will receive the Gourmand International award for the year’s best wine writing in a U.S. book. As the U.S. winner it is a finalist for the “Best in the World” award to be revealed in Yantai, China in May 2016.
What’s Ahead for 2016?
The travel schedule is coming together for 2016. I am looking forward to going back to Sacramento at the end of January for my fifth year moderating the “State of the Industry” program at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium.
A few weeks later we will head to Napa where Sue and I are on the faculty for the Professional Wine Writers Symposium.
Then it is north to Anchorage for another World Affairs Council fund raising program before returning to Walla Walla for the big Reveal Walla Walla trade auction.
It looks like we will be going to Portugal in May to speak at a conference organized by Wines of Alentejo and later to Seattle for Riesling Rendezvous, an international conference sponsored by Chateau Ste Michelle and Dr Loosen.
That’s what’s on tap for 2016 so far, but the year is still young. No wait — it actually hasn’t even started yet. Who knows where the wine rivers and roads will take us.
That’s the look back and ahead. Hope to see you somewhere on our travels in 2016. In the meantime, cheers to all! And have a great New Year.
Sometimes I feel like I have been everywhere in the wine world to speak to wine industry groups, but the truth is … I’m not even close!
Just a quick note to tell you that The Wine Economist has been short-listed for a global blog award. The Gourmand International “Best in the World” awards will be announced on June 8 in Yantai, China.
I’ll copy the short list of blogs, magazines and “books of the year” (one finalist per country) in the “wine and drinks.” category. The Wine Economist is in good company, don’t you think? It’s an honor just to be nominated for this award and a double honor to make the list of finalists!
Thanks to Gourmand International for this recognition (and thanks to whoever nominated The Wine Economist for this award!).
Best Wine and Drinks Blog:
France- Cite des Civilisations du Vin
Singapore – The Wine Review, Ch’ng Poh Tiong
USA- The Wine Economist, Mike Veseth
Best Wine and Drinks Magazine:
Brazil- Vinho magazine
China- China Wine News
South Africa- Wine Mag
USA- Quarterly Review of Wine
Best Wine and Drinks Book of the Year
Australia- Barossa Shiraz, Thomas Girgensohn, ( Wakefield Press )
Brazil- Cachaca e Gastronomia 2014, Felipe Januzzi, Gabriela Bareto ( Mapa da Cachaca, Ministerio de Cultura- Destemperados )
France – Bordeaux et ses Vins 1814 – 2014 ( Feret)
Italy- Accidenti, malatti e parassite della vite ( Edizioni SUV )
Mexico – Bebiendo nuestra tierra, el vino mexicano, Pablo M.Aldrete,Maria Palau, Memo Garcia (MG )
Sweden- Whiskyns Landscap, Claes Grunsten ( Max Strom )
Switzerland- Vins Swiss Wines ( Vinea )
USA- The best white wine in the world, the Riesling, Stuart Piggott ( Stewart ,Tabori, Chang )
“It’s complicated!” That’s a simple way to describe the sort of relationship that seems to defy simple explanations. Like one of those romance novel love triangles, money, taste and wine are caught up in a complicated relationship that affects every aspect of the wine industry and wine enthusiast experience.
You will find Money, Taste, and Wine and the other wine books by Mike Veseth at all the usual online and brick-and-mortar locations (click on the Amazon, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, Powell’s or Barnes & Noble button to order your copy today).
What’s the Book About?
As wine economist and best-selling author Mike Veseth peels away layer after layer of the money-taste-wine story he discovers the wine buyer’s biggest mistake (which is to confuse money and taste) and learns how to avoid it, sips and swirls dump bucket wines, Treasure Island wines and toasts anything but Champagne. He bulks up with big bag, big box wines and realizes that sometimes the best wine is really a beer.
Along the way he questions wine’s identity crisis, looks down his nose at wine snobs and cheese bores, follows the money, surveys the restaurant war battleground and imagines wines that even money cannot buy before concluding that money, taste and wine might have a complicated relationship but sometimes they have the power to change the world. Money, Taste & Wine will surprise, inform, inspire and delight anyone with an interest in wine – or complicated relationships!
Money, Taste, and Wine is a great read; entertaining, informative and heartfelt. Like Wine Wars it is packed with economic and historic insights into the world of wine. At times I found myself laughing out loud and also reaching for my notebook to jot down facts and add (wine and non-wine) books to my reading list.
— Caro Feely, Terroir Feely Wines & French Wine Adventures
Written in Mike Veseth’s ineffable style, Money, Taste, and Wine goes down as easily as the finest pinot, will make you laugh, and fatten your wallet. If you’ve ever suspected that wine’s pricing is rigged, fumed at stratospheric restaurant tariffs, or want to be amazed at how the revolution in global trade has affected your favorite drink, then look no further than this book. A must for any consumer of the fruit of the vine.
— William Bernstein, Author of Birth of Plenty, A Splendid Exchange, and Masters of the World
With his usual wit, wisdom, and whimsy, the ebullient Mike Veseth (aka the Wine Economist) unravels the complexities of what he calls the ‘unhealthy love triangle of money, taste, and wine.’ For anyone with taste who is remotely interested in discovering hidden, undervalued vinous treasures and willing to learn a little about themselves along the way, this insightful book is a must read. Having fought the good fight in Wine Wars and tickled the imagination in Extreme Wine, Mike’s insights into the vexed relationship between Money, Taste, and Wine could be subtitled ‘choose your wine and those you share it with carefully.’ — Michael Hince, HinceOnWine, Australia
I laughed out loud several times reading Mike Veseth’s new book, Money, Taste, and Wine. He has such a humorous and down to earth style when writing about wine, and this new book that involves romps through the supermarket aisles, restaurants and discount stores to find a good deal on wine is hilarious at times. It also has its serious points, and provides useful information for wine lovers in analyzing their own palates and expectations. A definite read for all wine enthusiasts, wine students and wine newbies.
— Dr. Liz Thach, Master of Wine, Professor of Wine Business & Management, Sonoma State University
Mike has the unique ability to look at wine differently and discover facts beyond the mythology. In this fascinating book, he gives the poor consumer overwhelmed by choice and myth an eye-opening look at wine. — Paul Cluver, Paul Cluver Wines, South Africa
In Money, Taste, and Wine, preeminent wine economist Mike Veseth teaches us how to be a rational, informed wine consumer by better understanding available wine choices, personal tastes and preferences, and common wine buying mistakes. Along the way, he provides fascinating insights into the workings of the wine industry in a fun and interesting way with his engaging and provocative writing style. A must read for anyone who drinks wine or has an interest in the wine market. — James Thornton, Eastern Michigan University, author of American Wine Economics
A remarkable blend of research, history, and examples straight from the heart of a genuine explorer makes this book a must read. Mike skillfully walks his readers through the multifaceted relationship of money, taste, and wine and leads them to a smart, optimistic, and enjoyable conclusion. A perfect fit for those who thirst for more. — Evy Gozali, CEO of Sababay Winery, Bali, Indonesia
Money, Taste & Wine: It’s Complicated!
Table of Contents
Part I: Buyer Beware!
1. The Wine Buyer’s Biggest Mistake
2. Anatomy of a Complicated Relationship
3. Wine Drinker, Know Thyself
Part II: Get a Clue! Searching for Buried Treasures
4. Dump Bucket Wines
5. Treasure Island Wines
6. Bulk Up: Big Bag, Big Box Wines
7. Sometimes the Best Wine is a Beer (or a Cider!)
Part III: A Rosé is a Rosé? Money, Taste & Identity
8. More than Just a Label: Wine’s Identity Crisis?
9. Wine Snobs, Cheese Bores and the Globalization Paradox
10. Anything But Champagne
Part IV: What Money Can (and Can’t) Buy
11. Restaurant Wars
12. Follow the Money
13. Invisible Cities, Imaginary Wines
14. Groot Expectations
Money, Taste & Wine answers a host of intriguing questions including …
Who is the wine buyer’s biggest enemy? What is the wine buyer’s biggest mistake?
Why is “know thyself” the best way to overcome the wine buyer’s biggest mistake?
Do you sometimes wear your underwear inside-out (to avoid the itchy seams)? What does your answer to this question say about your taste for wine?
Why do Parisians like not drinking wine and what does this have to do with the money-taste-wine trilemma?
What’s the difference between dumped wines and dump bucket wines (and why should bargain hunters seek out one but not the other)?
Who is Fred and why were Fred’s Friends wines such a bargain? (Hint: Fred is not Fred Franzia of Two Buck Chuck fame.)
Are “second wines” a good deal?
How do Costco, BevMo and Total Wine use different Treasure Island wine strategies to produce happy customers and strong wine sales?
How big of a choice do U.S. wine consumers really have (and why is this a complicated question to answer)?
Why is the best wine sometimes a beer or a cider and what are the implications for the wine industry?
King Midas had the golden touch. What did he drink and how do we know?
What comes in a 24,000 liter bag inside a 20-foot shipping container? (Hint: you may be drinking it now!)
How are big bag, big box wines changing the global wine business?
If you can’t judge a book by its cover, why do so many people judge wines by their labels (and does this mean that cute kitty wine labels should be outlawed)?
What do wine snobs and cheese bores have in common? And how does the globalization paradox explain them both?
Anything but Champagne? Really?
Wine in restaurants is one of those love-hate things. What’s the key to winning the restaurant wars?
When is the best time to invest in wine?
Some wines are so scarce that money cannot buy them — they are almost imaginary. What do truly imaginary wines taste like?
The money-taste-wine relationship is both complicated and powerful. Can it really change the world? How?
About the Author
Mike Veseth is a leading authority on the global wine business. He is editor of The Wine Economist blog and author of a dozen books including Extreme Wine (2013) and Wine Wars, which was named a 2011 Wine Book of the Year by JancisRobinson.com. Mike is emeritus professor of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.
Mike is currently working on his next book, Around the World in 80 Wines, when he isn’t actually traveling around the world with his wife, Sue, looking for great wines, great wine stories and speaking at wine industry conferences.
Wall Street Journal wine columnist Lettie Teague writes that “Of all the wine blogs in the wide, wide blogosphere, one that I look forward to reading the most is Mike Veseth’s Wine Economist. There’s nothing else quite like it—a blend of economic insight … and often irreverent winespeak.”
Mike speaks frequently at national and international wine conferences. Click on “The World Tour” link to see where Mike’s been recently and where he is going next.
Scroll down for more information and video clips of Mike in action.
Mike Veseth is professor emeritus of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. He is an authority on globalization and the global wine market. Mike was named Washington Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. His 2005 book Globaloney was selected as a Best Business Book of 2005 by Library Journal. JancisRobinson.com’s annual book review named Wines Wars a Wine Book for the Year in 2011.
Mike has also taught at the American Institute on Political and Economic Systems in Prague and at the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Italy. He was Academic Advisor to the award winning educational website for the PBS/WGBH series, The Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy.
Mike earned the B.A. degree in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Puget Sound and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from Purdue University.
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.”
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 http://www.nederburgauction.co.za. 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 featured in the year-end collection of book reviews in Wine Spectator magazine’s “Top 100” issue, which will hit newsstands in a few days. You can’t miss it — it’s the first book reviewed and there’s a big color image of the book cover. Thanks for your support, Wine Spectator!
Two of the featured books were also reviewed here at The Wine Economist: Katherine Cole’s Voodoo Vintnersand Authentic Wineby Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop. Ian Mount’s history of Argentina wine, The Vineyard at the End of the World is also included in this WS article — look for a review here in early January, just before the book’s official publication date.
I also want to thank the folks at the Gourmand International Wine Book Awards. According to the email I received earlier this week they’ve named Wine Wars the best American wine book of 2011 in the history category. It will now enter the competition for the global wine book awards. The full list of winners will be revealed in Paris in March 2012. Merci beaucoup for the honor!
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. Wine Wars has also received a Best American Wine Book award from Gourmand International and received the Silver Medal in the category of Best Business and Economics Book 2011 from ForeWords Reviews.
You will find Around the World in Eighty Wines and the other wine books by Mike Veseth at all the usual online and brick-and-mortar locations (click on the Amazon, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, Powell’s or Barnes & Noble button to order your copy today).
Table of Contents
Prelude: Grape Expectations?
1. A Tale of Two Glasses
2. Old Bottles, New Wine
Flight One: Globalization: Blessing or Curse?
3. The DaVino Code
4. Missionaries, Migrants and Market Reforms
5. The Masters of Wine
6. Curse of the Blue Nun
7. America’s Hangover
Flight Two: The Miracle of Two Buck Chuck
8. Martians versus Wagnerians
9. They Always Buy the Ten Cent Wine
10. Everyone’s a Critic
11. The McWine Conspiracy
12. The Future of Wine in Three Bottles
Two Buck Chuck Tasting
Flight Three: Revenge of the Terroirists
13. Mondovino and the Revenge of the Terroirists
14. The War on Terroir
15. The China Syndrome
16. The Best of Wines or the Worst of Wines?
Writing with wit and verve, Mike Veseth (a.k.a. the Wine Economist) tells the compelling story of the war between the market trends that are redrawing the world wine map and the terroirists who resist them. Wine and the wine business are at a critical crossroad today, transformed by three powerful forces.
Veseth begins with the first force, globalization, which is shifting the center of the wine world as global wine markets provide enthusiasts with a rich but overwhelming array of choices. Two Buck Chuck, the second force, symbolizes the rise of branded products like the famous Charles Shaw wines sold in Trader Joe’s stores. Branded corporate wines simplify the worldwide wine market and give buyers the confidence they need to make choices, but they also threaten to dumb down wine, sacrificing terroir to achieve marketable McWine reliability.
Will globalization and Two Buck Chuck destroy the essence of wine? Perhaps, but not without a fight, Veseth argues. He counts on “the revenge of the terroirists” to save wine’s soul. But it won’t be easy as wine expands to exotic new markets such as China and the very idea of terroir is attacked by both critics and global climate change.
Veseth has “grape expectations” that globalization, Two Buck Chuck, and the revenge of the terroirists will uncork a favorable future for wine in an engaging tour-de-force that will appeal to all lovers of wine, whether it be boxed, bagged, or bottled.
“In the fine tradition of insightful and accessible bestsellers like Freakonomics and The World Is Flat, Wine Warsprovides a valuable service to wine enthusiasts everywhere. By combining a clear-eyed economist’s point of view with globalization expertise, Veseth offers an insightful and accessible survey that will give readers an understanding not only of what’s in the glass, but also how it got there, and what the future may hold as the borders of the global wine village draw closer. This is an important work and a fun read, too.” –Jeff Lefevere, writer, Goodgrape.com
“If we are what we drink, Mike Veseth knows the reasons have as much to do with market forces as mouthfeel. He is as at home with a winery’s annual report as a vintner’s tasting notes, and this delightfully unstuffy tour of the modern wine industry will fascinate anyone who wants to understand how business works today.” –Sasha Issenberg, author of The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy “Wine is, first and foremost, a business, though the nuts and bolts of economic survival rarely make for good reading. Enter Mike Veseth, who brings the mind of a trained academic and the writing talent of a veteran blogger to this fascinating exploration of the macroeconomic forces shaping the global wine industry. He knows his subject inside and out, and after reading Wine Wars you will have a deeper understanding of the major trends that are shaping not only the business of wine but the actual flavors of the wines you drink.” –Paul Gregutt, columnist, blogger, and author of Washington Wines & Wineries: The Essential Guide
Three major “flights,” or selection of wines for tasting, the first being the effects of globalization. Looking at expansionist politics and economics, he examines retailing policies in domestic markets such as England, Germany, and the U.S. Veseth turns to the wine drinking market and its evolution, and the ever-expanding influence of wine criticism on both in the face of the rapid changes in bulk production. The last part of his analysis looks at terroir and the potential effect of climate change….Veseth’s analysis is provocative. (Publishers Weekly )
Seeking to view the global wine trade through an economist’s lens, Veseth (international political economy, Univ. of Puget Sound; Globaloney: Unraveling the Myths of Globalization) takes readers through an engaging examination of international wine markets and the impact of consumers. Veseth carefully explains the construction of stores’ wine walls, including the psychological, physiological, and economic impact of the placement of wines on them (think of reaching up for the “top shelf”). Also included is an analysis and breakdown of the wine consumer market into distinctive groups, such as “Satisfied Sippers,” “Image Seekers,” and “Wine Enthusiasts.” Veseth’s basic premise is that the modern, globalized market now pits mass-made bargain wines against stuffy, epicurean standbys, creating limitless choices for certain types of consumers and turning the traditional model for what drives industry sales on its head. VERDICT This book will interest not only oenophiles but also general readers following the global economy or market analysis. (Library Journal)
Mike Veseth’s Wine Wars is broader than simply a book on the economics of wine, but it definitely looks at the trends that shaped the global wine industry as it has become today from an economist’s perspective….These stories are fascinating and informative….Anyone with an intellectual curiosity as to how all the factors came together to produce the wines available to us today will find much in Wine Wars to satisfy that curiosity. (New York Journal Of Books )
Written by a wine economics expert who lives in Washington, this book provides fascinating history on the globalization of the wine industry – and why that is not necessarily a bad thing. Veseth convincingly makes arguments for why inexpensive wine is not a problem and why the wine world is unlikely to collapse on itself. All in all, it is a comprehensive, well-written and glass-half-full book. Frankly, I learned a great deal about wine, how it is made and the history of many wine regions. I learned a great deal about the Chinese market, as well as the problems going on in France and Australia. This was a hugely entertaining and valuable read. (Good Reads )
Of all the wine blogs in the wide, wide blogosphere, one that I look forward to reading the most is Mike Veseth’s Wine Economist. There’s nothing else quite like it….As of this month, Professor Veseth’s thoughts are available in long form. He’s just published a book entitled Wine Wars in which he tackles economic forces as diverse as Two Buck Chuck (he’s a fan), the oft-debated descent of ‘real’ wine into ‘McWine,’ and much else. It’s more business book than guide to wine — but students of wine as well as the economy will find much to enlighten and even entertain, thanks to Professor Veseth’s readable style. (Lettie Teague, Wall Street Journal )
It’s said that wine is bottled poetry, but Mike Veseth knows it is also big business. Veseth, a professor of international political economy at the University of Puget Sound in Washington, has pulled together his love of wine and economic sensibilities to write a book that is an interesting, accessible read. Veseth is clearly enthusiastic about both wine and economics, and as a self-proclaimed “wine economist” he explains the intersection of these interests with verve. It’s a quick tour of the field, and for the purposes of his discussion, he sticks to big names and describes the successes of Yellow Tail, Charles Shaw, Blue Nun, Costco, Tesco and even Olive Garden with admiration. As an economist he sees the benefits of globalization, including more choices for consumers and a stabilizing effect for an industry that reacts slowly to changes in supply and demand. (Wine Spectator )
Veseth expertly presents the economic forces that are shaping wine consumption, and he frets about the beverage’s future, particularly with the pushback seen by “terroirists”-people who are obsessive about a wine’s “terroir,” that its identity reflect its unique growing conditions and place. The battle for wine’s future isn’t only about money, he posits, but also about power struggles between vintners, retailers, and governments….In his artful and sometimes amusing analysis of the “wars” taking place within the wine world as a result of all these skirmishes. Veseth untangles a complicated issue and provides a cogent summary of an industry’s challenges. For anyone who appreciates a good glass of wine-or who’s been disappointed by a bad one, despite a high sticker price-Veseth’s insights will prove tantalizing. (Foreword Reviews )
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’. (JancisRobinson.com)
A clear-eyed and expansive take on globalism and big business in wine. It’s a welcome addition to the wine book shelf…. For many writers, the wine business is handled as a dry, academic subject, but in the hands of Veseth (like Perdue before him) it’s interesting and zippy reading (bordering on a fun vacation read) and an incredibly helpful primer for not only the newly wine interested to help them understand the wine wall at their grocery store, but also savvy veterans who have, perhaps, focused their learning in specific regions, not looking at the wine world in totality and from a business perspective. (Good Grape )