What Dispatches has not told you about the wine industry
September 17, 2008
Last night, like many other people, I watched Dispatches on Channel 4 and if before watching it I thought that they would have brought some truth and light about the wine industry, at the end of the program I realised that they only damaged a few producers and brands. Whilst I think some of what it was said in the program it is true, what I think the program did not show was the whole picture and precisely the reason why the producers are doing what they are doing and the quality of the wine not being what it should be. And if the reason behind the program as was said was to prove the necessity for a wine label containing all ingredients used in making the wine, some of the ingredients mentioned on Tv, even with a proper label, would never appear because they are against the law.
I did not like the program and did not find it objective since they only investigated and showed a part of what the real problem is, because this wine is going somewhere and someone is buying it to then be able to resell it at cheap price and compete unfairly with honest wine makers. Last week I was very surprised to see in a supermarket bottles of wines at £2 (for consumers who does not know, of those £2, £1,70 is VAT and Duty, so the real cost of the wine is £0.30, less than a bottle of mineral water, with the producer and the supermarket's profit included ) signed by the supermarket's Master of Wine on the back. I will never buy such wine, but unfortunately not all people think like me since there were only a few bottles left on the shelves and this is what I think the real problem is, big buyers such as supermarkets, are driving the prices to the floor. Why don't we create another fair trade label for poor first world wine makers that are exploited by these big buyers? And on the other side, selling the wine at £2 per bottle, does not fuel the binge drinking? Many questions should have been answered by the program.
I was also surprised by what Miss Jancis Robinson MW said during the interview. She said that the wine industry has become industrialised, but I have rarely seen in any of her or her colleagues' wine reviews on our Sunday papers a wine that was not coming from supermarkets made by big producers, including the champagnes that were showed on TV. If she does not want the wine making to become another factory, why her and her colleagues don't do anything to push and promote wines made by proper, independent wine makers and not bottling companies, why don't they boycott these wines? Why a master of wine is putting her name on the back of a wine I am very confident she will never drink (the £2 bottle)? They could help the cause and make a difference.
The program should have gone beyond the single cases, analysed the whole industry, in this case they would have done a fantastic job to promote good and healthy wine drinking and not using a couple of examples as the reason to have a full ingredients list on the bottle of wine when, even if they were to win their battle, what they found would have never been put on the label.
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