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Where or where will it end?

Unlimited money to burn is a great thing, I mean who would not want such means. But I ask this question up front, is it good for the wine industry?

The prices for my beloved Burgundy have reached a point where I can no longer participate. Please hold your sorrows for someone much more deserving. You see I had my day in the Sun, remembering all the DRC, Leroy, Jayer and Rousseau I consumed would bring a Kings ransom today. I wish I had been more prudent, a little more self-aware, however youth and ego coupled with excitement drained many bottles before their time. I will add that many of those bottles were shared, with friends, family, and your occasional server at a restaurant nearest you. That part I would never change. However what was once $250 dollars is now $2500.  This has happened in a short 15 years. But why? Oh and it’s not Just Burgundy. Napa, Bordeaux, Champagne all are inflated.

Some blame it on the world market, the advent of China and growing interest from all over the world. Some on the aforementioned wealthy who can buy and sell an estate in France, Italy or Napa with out blinking an eye. Times have changed for sure, but I don’t blame any of the conventional reasons. I Blame ourselves. The race to have the best, to be the best presides with in, and price be damn.

As a producer of fine wine, although very little I know the cost of a bottle. I am also not against a profit. But once things get out of hand one must protest and pass. A very hard thing to do when you still have the means. The point is to grow! But the industry access to great wine is becoming limited. You don’t see college kids drinking wine in masses. Not when mixed drinks and beer rain supreme. Easier access, affordable, and easy to understand. “Paying through the noise” has it’s origins from the Danes conquering Ireland. Like those ninth-century Irish we to are feeling the pinch. But the difference is we have a choice. I see no stopping the train, it’s left the station and so where do we get off? I don’t write this because I know the answer, I write it because I seek the wisdom. 

So how do we inspire the next generation. If you start with 1000 people you may get 1 person that finishes the journey. Each young mind is precious and vital to sustainability. If all goods were on the same rate of inflation as collectable wine labels the fed would tax us at 500%. It’s maddening! I feel for those that will never taste a grand Cru Burgundy from a great vintage and producer, it is a pleasure that should not be missed. Wine is not supposed to be only for Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers and Evil Empires. It’s supposed to be for the masses as well. I just hope we can give them a chance at enlightenment.  Pressure on our industry is coming from many places

Taxes, regulation, compliance, shipping, and Mother Nature to name just some. To move forward to retake or capture or market share is little to ask but self-inflicted wounds are un-necessary. The phrase death by a thousand cuts comes to mind! I am sure some might say good for Burgundy, talking out of two sides of my mouth I might be one.

But it is a shame because my inspiration is from this region and many will never fully understand as they will never get the chance. I hear people using Burgundian over and over again as a selling point, but when questioned they have no recall of what Burgundy they consumed or related their talking point too.

I am sad, however I have been lucky. I wish more could have tasted what I tasted in my life. To wish for yesterday is folly, we are on a fast track to somewhere else. I have down graded to Village wines, but there’s always Sanceere!

–Greg Linn     

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