By Kori ~ October 28th, 2008.
Thank you for joining us for the fifth â€œvirtual meetingâ€ of the Wine Book Club. Many thanks to Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 who originally proposed the idea for the WBC where bloggers and wine lovers all over the world come together for book reviews and discussions every other month after reading a selected text. Dr. Debs is also our host for this edition and the text she selected was Wine Politics: How Governments, Environmentalists, Mobsters, and Critics Influence the Wines We Drink by Tyler Colman.
Tyler Colman, aka Dr. Vino, is a fellow wine blogger and teaches wine classes at NYU and the University of Chicago. His wine writing has also appeared in print publications such as Food & Wine, Wine & Spirits, and the New York Times. Wine Politics grew out of Mr. Colmanâ€™s PhD dissertation in the political science department at Northwestern University. He set out to examine the political factors that influence how a wine is made, how much it costs, how it is labeled, what wines we can actually buy, and so forth. A lot of information is packed into this relatively short 148-page read.
While he presents a lot of interesting information, the chapter that I found the most compelling was Chapter 4, Baptists and Bootleggers, particularly the section on distributor politics. As a citizen of the United States of America, home of the free-enterprise system, it is hard to believe that in 2008 there still remain numerous archaic laws regarding the sale and distribution of alcohol. I thought this line summed up how ridiculous these laws can be:
â€œBecause of the odd patchwork of state laws, it is easier for a producer to ship a case of wine from Bordeaux to Berlin than from Napa to New Jersey.â€
Letâ€™s think about that: it is easier to ship wine from France to Germany than it is to ship it within the United States of America.
If you really want to know why you canâ€™t buy a bottle of wine you fell in love with on a recent trip to California and have it shipped to your home, then you should definitely pick up a copy of Wine Politics to find out. And then head over to Free the Grapes to join the grassroots effort to remove these restrictions. However, if youâ€™re simply looking for basic wine information or for a recommendation on what bottle of wine to drink tonight, then this book is probably not for you.
If youâ€™ve already read Wine Politics, please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of it.
Filed under: Wine Book Club, Wine Books