Thursday, March 15, 2007

One Company Owns the World

Smoking Loon & Pepperwood Grove are owned by Sebastiani. Barefoot & Dancing Bull are owned by Gallo. Stag's Leap & Chateau St. Jean are owned by Foster's (Australian for beeeah). I find this extremely interesting...but I know it means that very few companies actually exist. It makes the world a very small, and somewhat scary, place. I used to love researching who owns who, and now it's not so glamorous. The wine industry is just like every other business - choices are made in the name of the almighty dollar. That's fine - I'm all for makin' a buck - but in an industry where obscure names take on a certain mystery and intrigue, knowing that a big guy owns what you thought was a small, fun label, sort of ruins it.

That said, I am learning that even though that may be the case, the big guys owning the majority of labels, the integrity of some acquisitions is maintained. Single vineyard still means single vineyard. The winemaker may have stayed on board and is still producing amazing wines, s/he just has a different ultimate boss. The label may stay the same, and though seemingly deceptive, it just good marketing.

Cheers to wine integrity!

PS - Can wine have integrity? Seems like a stupid thing to cheers to... How about this instead - Cheers to the bigger wineries who value the environment of a small winery - they're the reason I have a job!

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