The polarization of the wine trade
Just read a thought-provoking, heartfelt post by Doug over at the Les Caves de Pyrene Blog on the polarization of the wine trade.
I decided to write about wine for a living because I care about it, am enthusiastic about it, and derive great pleasure from it. Not because I wanted to get rich. I'm thrilled that so far I seem to be making a living from it - enough to support a family - but that's a side issue.
Because I care about wine, I want the good guys to win and the bad guys to get their come-uppance. I want people everywhere to be able to drink interesting wines, and it upsets me when people are put off wine by being offered commercial dross at price points where they could have been enjoying something more interesting.
Les Caves are, in my book, right at the front of the line of 'good guys'. They've got a crazily full list of amazingly interesting wines. I want them, and merchants like them, to succeed. [They're not the only ones, by any means, which is a fortunate thing.]
Doug touches on the issue of morality, something that matters a great deal, even if - in our cynical age - it sounds a bit 'preachy'. It matters how we treat other people.
"I wonder how far you can divorce morality from your business. A mentality that exploits suppliers, also probably abuses staff and disrespects customers. Greed is not good; it demonstrates weakness and ultimate lack of faith in quality and usually leads to karmic payback. When I talk to some restaurateurs I realise that they will never respond to rational argument for they see the world dimly through excessively frosted, triple-glazed egos. Do-as-you would-be-done-by is a mantra that most people would have no trouble endorsing. Except in business. Business relationships, like five pounds notes, are paper thin; agreements have no validity unless underpinned by written contracts and loyalty is an aerial as an angelís good intentions. Wine merchants are constantly enjoined to look at the bottom line profits of their customers; those customers, however, are rarely capable of seeing how sustainable margins are just as vital for wine merchants."
His piece is worth a read. One of the things that I hope web2.0 achieves is a change in the relationship between customers and merchants/businesses/service providers: I hope we all begin to look behind the surface, to see what is really there. It's a bit like walking behind a row of houses, only to find that it was just a Hollywood set, built of plywood and 2 x 4s. We'll move on to something different and more authentic.