Italy passes No Wood Chips in Wine Law
Italy has once again moved to protect itself from Cowboy Capitalism so rampant here in the US. I have written about the new processes employed by worldwide manufacturers adding Wood Chips to Wine to force the flavor of the wine. Adding chips is a precursor to pouring wood extracts directly into the wine. Needless to say, both chips and liquid flavoring reduces significantly the quality of the wine. It is like buying a Versace winter coat and finding out that the filling between that beautiful, puffy coat is actually crumpled newspaper.
US winemakers will complain that this is unfair trade practice but our government could learn something from Italy. Italy continues to grow GDP. Italy maintains high quality manufacturing and production. Italy provides fresh produce from numerous sources instead of just two mega farms. Italy’s working class is making twice the US worker, has national health insurance, six weeks paid vacation, University is free to everyone, and a functioning pension program. Companies are very careful about worker safety and their relationship with the community because in cases like Texas City some executive ends up in jail.
What is the context of this comment? Quality wins over quantity every time. Shortsighted companies will cut quality to pay less for materials and labor in an attempt to please short-term financial markets and bring home hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses. The decisions make no sense for the company and for the country in general but they do make sense for the executive management and the investment community. If one guy brings a gun to the poker game, all the players have to bring a gun otherwise they are at a disadvantage. The laws protecting quality are, in fact, banning guns in the poker game of business.
For us, the consumer, it has a different connotation. It means that we can buy Italian wines without having to spend hundreds of hours researching the producer’s processes, trying to determine if they are superficially pumping the wines to reduce quality and cost. In other words, California producers, if you do not use chips or liquid flavoring in the wine you need to say it. Put it big and bright on the label otherwise you will be again at a quality disadvantage.
An Italian Wine Blog, Aristide, has been promoting a fight to inform the consumer when a producer uses wine chips or worse liquid flavors. It seems that common sense and good business practice has won a battle with this one.
Tags: Quality Wines Wine Business Red Wine Italian Wine Fake Wine Sommelier Food and Wine Travel Italy