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07.10.2007

How to Win Friends in the Wine Business

It never ceases to amaze me how people tend to forget that they are just customers. I'm guilty of this too, sometimes, but we tend to start thinking that we're entitled to buy whatever it is that we're buying, and we forget that being able to buy the things we want is a privilege that comes with strings attached. We have to hold up our end of the bargain to be good customers, and we also have to remember that even when we do, the folks selling us what we want are not obligated to keep doing so, especially if they can get better customers than us.

Which is what, I suppose, the signs that read "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" are all about at the end of the day.

With this in mind, I find it completely outrageous that a wine company called Bordeaux Magnum has actually sued Chateau Latour because Latour has decided not to sell them as much wine as they have in previous years. Even more outrageous, however, is the fact that a judge let this company win the case. Latour is now being forced to pay this company nearly $50,000 in damages.

Say what !?! This is the equivalent of me suing the San Francisco Opera for not offering to sell me season tickets again this year. Where is the contract that says they have to even sell me anything at all? It doesn't exist.

And as so correctly pointed out by a blog post by the guys over at Decanter, when was the last time any wine producer got to sue a negociant for not buying all the wine in a bad vintage?

This lawsuit smells, and sets a horrible precedent for everyone concerned. But mostly it makes me never, ever want to buy anything from Bordeaux Magnum. And I'm guessing (hoping?) there are a lot of people who won't want to be selling them anything either.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.