business news in context, analysis with attitude

It doesn’t look like the prospects are getting any rosier for the French wine industry, which continues to show a decline in popularity both at home and abroad. (In part, ironically, the troubles in the French wine industry can be traced back to the rise in quality of American wine, which was pioneered by the Mondavi winery…which is now on the sales block. Go figure.)

Numbers released by the French government indicate that domestic consumption of French wine dropped by five percent last year, with the average French citizen drinking half as much wine during the year as he or she did 40 years ago.

At the same time, fewer than one in six bottles of wine bought by Americans comes from France, compared to one in three a decade ago. US sales of French wine declined more than 10 percent last year alone.

Experts say that French vintners need to change the way they do business. One important shift would be for the government to simplify labeling regulations so they are more understandable to consumers; another positive change would be to allow modernized irrigation techniques that might allow vineyards to create more consistent products.

But in some ways, the French wine industry’s future may be linked to global perceptions about the nation as a whole, especially since there remains some antipathy in the US about France when that nation did not support the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
KC's View:
It’s amazing to us how much hostility remains towards the French. Yesterday we had an essay about Parisian food stores, and received a few nasty emails about the French.

We would suggest to the folks sending us these largely unprintable emails that they should take a good look at the Content Guy’s last name to see if they are going to find a sympathetic ear; while we are primarily Irish American, there is a bit of French and Alsatian blood coursing through our veins. We like to think of ourselves as both Gaelic and Gallic…which probably explains why we have so much gall…not to mention our taste for beer and wine.

C’est la vie!