Month: July 2016

On Brexit and the international fine wine trade

Alan Livsey, an Oxonian on the FT’s Lex team has aptly started his wine-commentary piece on the FT as follows: “Fine wine does not take well to shaking – sloshing the sediments around the bottle only muddles the product inside”. There has been plenty of sloshing going around, as Livsey has noted in the same piece. There are tales of booms and busts, sticky prices and the likes. This is especially true when it comes to Bordeaux en primeur – a system that is very near the point of breaking, only to be saved from its brink of doom by a very good vintage. Even so, there are plenty of criticisms on early bottling, unfinished products and so on, which makes you wonder when will the barrage ever stop. But with cheap and abundant shell suppliers, I doubt the barrage will ever end. I am not here to discuss the limitations of the Bordeaux fine-wine market and its en primeur system. I am here to talk about Brexit and its implications on the UK fine-wine scene and the dynamics …

Brexit in a glass

One week on… what happened? Through an exercise in good taste, wine may help us to understand Brexit related attitudes: An Isomap reduction of Brexit related wine-tasting vocabulary shows power orbited by seductiveness, pit, cut, hole and loose. This display is framed laterally by a taste for what is expensive and complex. Away from power it gets sickly, disjointed, sour. Note in passing that the right looks exciting and energetic to some. Complexity settles and sinks, the top is overwhelmed. (If you’re new to this series, the introduction may be useful.) When viewed through a PCA lens, power lies closer to austerity. In both pictures, there’s some bitterness over access. Whatever the reasons May be, there appears to be a seductive connection between  intrusive  and  borderline. Flavours of coffee and alcohol conjoin to cover an unpleasant situation. We form natural associations between words and these associations crop up in wine-tasting notes and in politics. Good taste is a transferable skill. I suspect these word-maps become increasingly easy to understand as you work your way through a borderline English white or an edgy continental red. Cheers!   MK@WineQuant