Here’s the inside scoop on the wine world.
Globalization has pushed back the borders of the wine world, creating a complex, interconnected market where Old World and New World wines and producers compete head to head. Writing with wit and verve, Mike Veseth (a.k.a. the Wine Economist) tells the compelling story of the war between the market forces that are redrawing the world wine map and the terroirists who resist them. This is the battle for the future of wine—and for its soul. The fight isn't just over bottles bought and sold, however; power and taste are also at stake. Who will call the shots in the wine market of the future? Who will set the price? Whose palate will prevail? Veseth masterfully brings all of these questions together in the only book on the wine business written for all lovers of wine.
Wine Wars II begins by exploring wine globalization, where readers follow “Missionaries, Migrants, and Market Reforms” to faraway New Zealand and learn how to unlock the secrets of their local retail “Wine Wall” by mastering the “DaVino Code.” Globalization brings a world of wine to our doorsteps. Commodification helps us make sense of the resulting embarrassment of riches, but at a cost. Readers must decide if they are Martians or Wagnerians, consider why “They Always Buy the Ten Cent Wine,” and then probe the puzzle of “Outlaws, Prisoners, and the Great Escape.”
Who stands in the way of the global wine market's assault on wine's very soul? The“Revenge of the Terroirists!” Resistance is not futile, because 'We Are All Terroirists Now,” but that doesn't mean the future of wine is secure. A final section explores “Wine's Triple Crisis,” environmental crisis plus economic crisis, plus identity crisis. Taken together these crises pose the most serious threat to wine as we know and love it. Each section of Wine Wars II ends with a suggested wine tasting that invites readers to experience the book's ideas and arguments with all their senses by sampling a few carefully chosen wines.
Can the soul of wine survive – and thrive – in this unfriendly environment? You'll have to read Wine Wars II to find out!
Mike Veseth is professor emeritus of international political economy at the University of Puget Sound. He is editor of the award-winning blog The Wine Economist and author of several books on the business and pleasure of wine, including Extreme Wine; Money, Taste, and Wine; and Around the World in Eighty Wines, which received the 2018 Gourmand International award for “Best U.S. Book in Wine and Spirits Tourism” and is included on BookAuthority.com’s lists of the “Best Wine Books of All Time” and “Best Wine Audiobooks of All Time.” He currently lives in Tacoma, WA.
Prelude: Grape Expectations?
A Toast to Wine Wars II
Flight One: Globalization – Blessing or Curse?
Flight Two: Navigating the Wine Wall
A Blind Brand Tasting
Flight Three: Revenge of the Terroirists
Flight Four: Wine's Triple Crisis
Wine Wars II Tasting
About the Author
The ten-year update to Wine Wars - Wine Wars II: The Global Battle for the Soul of Wine is now available. If it sounds like it has the razzmatazz of Star Wars, it does, and is all the better for it. To my mind the really interesting point of the excellent update lies in the subtitle – who will win the Global battle for the soul of wine? Mike is a terrific storyteller and his historical accounts of how wine developed in countries from the US and New Zealand to Georgia and China give excellent contextual overviews, as does his look at the UK as the birthplace of the global consumer wine market, and the ability of retailers and brand owners to understand consumers and tailor their products to their interests. While the same forces are at play ten years after publication of the first Wine Wars, Mike sees the power of wine brands and the pressure of commodification as even stronger than before. In this edition he introduces the idea of wine’s triple crises - environmental crisis, economic crisis, and identity crisis. How we respond to these may well determine what Mike will be writing about ten years from now if he gives us Wine Wars III. Each of the five sections of Wine Wars II is followed by instructive tasting suggestions on themes relevant to what has just been read – including a Globalisation Tasting, Blind Brand Tasting, and Terroirist Tasting. This touch highlights a key strength of the book: its’ appeal beyond the wine trade to the general reader – especially those who may often feel intimated by wine, or by economics, or by both together as wine economics. They have nothing to worry about here. It’s a treat.
Veseth weaves an intriguing tale of history, politics, philosophy, personal observations, trade, and economics in one thin albeit entertaining volume…. Veseth’s intriguing book and his ‘grape expectations’ have therefore provided some important insights and research about the wine wars, and the future of wine, without leaving any sediment at the bottom of your empty glass.
A totally enjoyable read, whether you sip it along with a sparkling, red, white, rosé, or fortified wine.
10 years ago, when I first read Wine Wars, I was excited to see finally someone wrote about the business aspect of wine. As a wine producer in China who was new to the industry (and the industry was also very new in China), the book gave me a global perspective to look at my local market. With the updated information in this edition, it would be refreshing for someone who wants to see how the industry has and has not changed.
No one makes the powerful economic forces behind a bottle of wine more fascinating than Mike Veseth. Yet his easy-going, down-to-earth approach to these complex topics also brims with entertaining stories and humor – who else would analyze the appeal of wine brands named Secret Squirrel or Tussock Jumper? This new, 10-years-later, version two of his classic Wine Wars is filled with pithy insights about the world of vino today, such as ‘identity trumps authenticity.’
If you want to understand the future of wine, this book is a must read. It will convince you that climate change, economic risk, and stronger-than-ever global wine brands threaten the soul of wine itself. Are we headed for a dark age? Spoiler alert: Wine Wars II ends on a slightly optimistic note, in Portugal.
What a timely book for business leaders and their advisers! While the book’s context is the wine and wine grape growing industries, the challenges and opportunities pinpointed and deftly parsed easily apply to so many industries and brands. Globalization, climate change, the economic challenges of labor, supply chain, brand-building and brand equity preservation in a digital world—Mike Veseth’s synthesis of their present-day coalescence, and the 'so what' of that, seems almost clairvoyant. Wine Wars II is also a fun, punchy read, ripe with storytelling, along with some cool comparative wine tastings to illustrate the points. As an economics and finance-trained banker-turned-sommelier, I found this book to be invaluable for my work with clients and wine industry stakeholders of all sizes and stripes, as well as a delight to read.
I’ve always been amazed by Mike’s ability to clearly describe wine dynamics in a global perspective with a deep understanding of local forces. Wine Wars II is a must-read book to anyone who want to feel like a real expert on our marvelous, but a bit tricky world of wine.
Beautifully written and thought-provoking, this book puts a critical spin on the business of wine making and selling.
10/7/22, The Irish Sun: Mike Veseth’s book was included in a roundup of book gifts for wine lovers.