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Waiting at the Station


Posted: Mar 31, 2006 6:57am ET

I read this comment from David Hamshere on my blog a few days ago and I continue to go back to it. I think that it puts it in a perspective that we can all appreciate. There are so many other businesses in the world that are being affected in the same way as the small wine growers of Bordeaux. It is a huge shame, but nobody seems to have a solution. As consumers look for better products at lower prices, manufactures and markets have no alternative but to look for less expensive sources for product. Living in Italy, I have a number of friends in the fashion business and they have had to source clothes from places like China and Romania rather than having them produced  in Italy. The Bordeaux wine trade is trying to come up with solutions, but it still seems incapable of doing anything. I guess it doesn’t help that the world focuses primarily on the big named wines of Bordeaux and nothing else. But that is the situation. I remember years ago when the Bordeaux wine trade used to say “the first growths and other great growths are the locomotive that pulls the train full of other wines from the region.” Unfortunately, I have to say that the locomotive left the train in the station a long time ago in Bordeaux.

Here is David’s post on my blog:

Regrettably this same story can be repeated in my field as a retailer of Mens & Womens clothing. There is a huge demand for Top Brands ala Prada, Gucci,Amarni etc with little if any price resistance. The smaller, no name producer of clothing in Europe cannot compete economically with India & China production.I believe this parrallels the comparison between the demand for the Trophy Bordeauxs at any price and the fate of the smaller Bordeaux producer who has difficulty making any return on his production.Market forces are at play.

Jeffrey Ghi
New York —  March 31, 2006 11:14am ET
To an extent it's a fundamental of markets in a global world. The process in which the bordeauxs are brought to market are incredibly outdated. French wines pass through what seems like a whole army worth of dealers/merchants/resellers before it gets to the consumer. Leading to higher costs and turning off many consumers from trying unproven and comparatively more expensive wines. In the cut throat world of commodities, one of the only viable ways to survive is to pool your resources or try to get a cult following.
David Allen
Lufkin, Texas —  March 31, 2006 2:55pm ET
Hmmm.Lets not forget there is lots of wine made in Bordeaux. The "Stars" will always have a cult following wordwide. Its the followers that need the message. I totally agree with the need to reform the French system but doubt that will happen any time soon.

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