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Winebits 254: Wine prices, French wine, Asimov

Aussie harvest: I suppose I’ll have to stop trying to teach journalism to the wine business one of these days, but one more lesson: The wine business in Australia is still in the tank (no pun intended), but a good harvest has increased the supply of grapes. The Aussies have cut the number of acres of vines by six percent, but production still increased three percent in the last harvest. And, given that the wine business is worldwide, more grapes in Australia helps offset shortages elsewhere. Without taking demand into account.

Changing habits: Simon Kuper in the Financial Times looks at the changing role of wine in French culture, in which they are drinking less but apparently enjoying it more. And, lest anyone forget the paramount role the French play in wine, he writes: “In drink as in other domains, France still shapes global tastes. Around the world, wine has become the upmarket drinking option – the opposite of earthy, proletarian or peasant beer. Soon middle-aged male ‘wine bores’ will be as much a Chinese affliction as a French one.”

• “How to love wine:” Eric Asimov, one of the few members of the Winestream Media who understands what’s going on, has a new book. In it, he demonstrates that insight: “Uncertainty [in wine] means that you can say, ‘I don’t have to tell you precisely what you should taste in this wine or how many points it should score. There is something more ambiguous about this wine and I can’t really grasp it and I am okay with that.’ “ Would that more people who profess to be wine experts understood that concept.

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