This is just an observation in passing...
Last week Blackstock Vineyards and Winery (blog 2/9/12) closed its doors. In his classy closing email, David Harris cited the horrendous frost of last spring (blog 4/24/12) as a precipitating event and competition from local wineries who chose to take advantage of loose Georgia laws to purchase and sell bulk California wine instead of actual Georgia wine. All of Blackstock's bottlings were estate sourced in White County.
The passing of Blackstock is tragic in several ways. I always thought Blackstock was the best of the Georgia wineries and I base that pronouncement solely on my humble but educated palate. I thought the quality of David's wines were competitive with most from around the world and I regret I couldn't do more with them. That he was so passionate about what he did, heightens the pathos of what transpired last week and his firm oenologically-educated hand in this infant native agricultural endeavor will be sorely missed.
On a larger scale this is what we have been blogging about all year long here and this is what I think the public at large misses:
1. Consolidation within the wine industry and the development of mega-wine companies has concentrated power in the hands of mass marketers who value varietal generalizations over individual distinction.
2. Because of vertical integration within the industry involving contractors for the production of mass market wines the advantage goes again to the powerful large players who do not stand to prosper by offering individuality in wine production.
3. Because of the successful lobbying efforts for the California wine industry by the Wine Institute in Washington DC, smaller players become further marginalized.
4. Because of the successful commoditization of wine as a beverage and not as something particular to specific food selections, this industry has effectively been turned on its head with "place" and food affinity no longer mattering at all as a criterion for what a bottle of wine is.
I guess it is what it is. Lets move on.