The figures are mind-boggling. I read the International Herald Tribune every day, and I just can't get my head around the amount of money our government is spending to try to right a completely broken financial system. Today, I read that "in the last year, the government has assumed about $7.8 trillion in direct and indirect financial obligations. That is equal to about half the size of the nation's entire economy and far eclipses the $700 billion that Congress authorized for the Treasury's financial rescue plan."
Where will it all end? I hope all of us will not be completely ruined by this.
But one word keeps coming to mind with all of this: GREED. The financial world sold and resold the contents of the candy shop, leaving us with just empty shelves to restock. In the meantime, most of them walked away with fat bonuses. I get sick just thinking that someone like the head of Citibank who walked away with a $10 million bonus last year. For what? For losing billions of dollars? Don't get me started.
The sad thing is that I think that many wine producers and vintners also have been greedy, but not to the magnitude of the financial fat cats. Some wine producers charged exorbitant prices because they could. That's all. The market apparently could bear it at the time. Or at least someone was buying these ultra-expensive young wines. But I always wondered who was actually buying $400, $500 or even $5,000 bottles, and whether they had any intention of drinking these bottles down the line.
But why did the wine producers have to be so greedy? How much did it cost them to make a bottle of their precious wine? I can't believe that a first-growth spends more than $15 or $20 a bottle to make its wine, so why did it cost $1,000 to us in a wine shop? It’s the same with ultra-priced California cults, Burgundies, super Tuscans and just about anything else that sells (or sold) at mega-prices. I stopped buying all of them about five years ago. I had other things to pay for like school fees, alimony, and all sorts of other day-to-day things. And there are so many relatively reasonably priced wines of nearly comparable quality on the shelves ... for drinking.
Some wine merchants were just as bad, charging big margins and making more money than many of the wine producers themselves. Who would have ever thought that some wine merchants could get so rich – private jets, Ferraris, Hermès ... whatever. Those days are over.
If only they had all been a little more reasonable. If only they had remembered that wine is something that we consume, and it is not art, a luxury product, or an investment. But it's too late now. Prices are plummeting on these high-end wines. Look at last weekend's auction results in New York City. The fine wine market appears to be following the downward spiral of the Dow.
But there's a silver lining in the dark clouds of the wine market. It's become a drinker's market, and not an investor's market. As I keep saying, it's time to invest in a corkscrew and not in wine anymore.
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — November 26, 2008 11:52am ET
Peter Vangsness — Springfield, MA — November 26, 2008 1:26pm ET
Michael Myette — Sacramento, CA USA — November 26, 2008 3:20pm ET
James Suckling — — November 26, 2008 3:26pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — November 26, 2008 6:31pm ET
Mark Reinman — NJ — November 26, 2008 7:06pm ET
Mark Reinman — NJ — November 26, 2008 7:14pm ET
John Lin — TW — November 26, 2008 8:12pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — November 26, 2008 8:33pm ET
Jim Mccusker — Okemos, MI — November 26, 2008 8:52pm ET
Kevin Smith — Sunshine State — November 26, 2008 10:34pm ET
James Suckling — — November 27, 2008 2:35am ET
Thomas Bohrer — Hong Kong — November 27, 2008 2:42am ET
Jonathan Li — Toronto — November 27, 2008 10:35am ET
John Shuey — Carrollton, TX — November 27, 2008 1:16pm ET
James Suckling — — November 27, 2008 5:16pm ET
Morgan Mcrae — November 27, 2008 11:49pm ET
James Suckling — — November 28, 2008 7:16am ET
Markus Jelitto — Geneva, Switzerland — November 28, 2008 10:09am ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — November 28, 2008 11:29am ET
James Suckling — — November 28, 2008 12:23pm ET
Eugene Kim — Houston, TX — November 28, 2008 1:00pm ET
Fairway Inc — November 29, 2008 2:47pm ET
James Suckling — — November 29, 2008 2:52pm ET
Fairway Inc — November 29, 2008 4:32pm ET
James Suckling — — November 29, 2008 4:55pm ET
Sam Chanhao — calgary — November 30, 2008 7:10pm ET
Mr Damian Zaninovich — Bakersfield,Ca — November 30, 2008 10:48pm ET
Douglas Johnson — Appleton, WI — December 1, 2008 12:02am ET
Loren Lingenfelter — Danville, CA — December 1, 2008 1:20pm ET
James Suckling — — December 1, 2008 3:12pm ET
Douglas Johnson — Appleton, WI — December 1, 2008 6:36pm ET
Jason M Meyers — Medford, NY — December 1, 2008 10:17pm ET
Chris A Elerick — Orlando, FL — December 1, 2008 11:23pm ET
James Suckling — — December 2, 2008 3:32am ET
Brad Baker — Vancouver Canada — December 2, 2008 12:50pm ET
Mark Reinman — NJ — December 2, 2008 1:47pm ET
Douglas Johnson — Appleton, WI — December 2, 2008 10:34pm ET
Michael Tracy — Corona, CA — December 3, 2008 12:36pm ET
Michael Tracy — Corona, CA — December 3, 2008 2:40pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions