As Americans we have a reputation for not knowing, or even wanting to know, where our food comes from. It’s a stereotype to be sure, but like all stereotypes, it has more than a grain of truth behind it.
But if we give little thought to how our steaks get into those little styrofoam containers with the shrink wrap, we give even less thought to how exactly the bottles we buy get onto the shelves we pull them down from.
If we did, we might think twice about plunking down $30 for a random bottle of wine in our local wine store, says Lyle Fass in a recent article in the Organic Wine Journal. Lyle is a fellow wine blogger, but he’s also a (recovering) former member of the retail wine trade. Which means he knows a thing or two about how wine gets from the barrel to the store.
And according to him, it ain’t pretty.
Importer Kermit Lynch (and others) vociferously declared decades ago that wine, especially European wine imported to the US, needed to always be shipped in refrigerated containers from start to finish.
Apparently not many people have listened. And even those who have cannot avoid many of the other perils that lie in wait throughout the distribution process, like bandits on a high pass.
Lyle’s article is mostly an introduction to the problems, and offers some tips for the wary buyer, but if you want the short story, it’s caveat emptor, all the way.