“Booming in brackets” is how my retired accountant friend Rudi Veit would describe the typical behaviour of our shares on the JSE. The bracket being the punctuation employed by accountants to indicate the figure quoted was actually a loss. Like the trend for SA bottled wine exports that WOSA hilariously reports as booming when they were actually booming in brackets. Red ink is another device used as a warning sign to investors and so no surprises that the Platter wine guide applies red to wines garnering four stars and above in their annual sighted tasting shenanigans.
In the wake of the Rudy Kurniawan fake wine scandal, Burgundy producer Laurent Ponsot was quoted stating that 80% of pre-1980 Burgundy sold on auction was fake. And after 1980 too it seems, as two octogenarian owners of leading Burgundy négociant Labouré-Roi were arrested for “wilfully mislabelling bottles, mixing wines from appellations and using incorrect medals on bottles” according to The Drinks Business who un-wilfully mis-illustrated their report with “a picture of the castle at Aloxe Corton, the roof of which is used by another négociant Pierre André” leading to the embarrassing apology “the drinks business would like to stress that there is absolutely no link between Pierre André and this on-going investigation.”
The mass circulation UK tabloid Daily Mail threw petrol onto the fire with the headline “Top wine trading company ‘filled vintage bottles with cheap alcohol as part of multimillion pound fraud’” which should do wonders for Burgundy sales in Blighty. Perhaps opening the door for SA Pinot producers like Hoopenburg and Elgin Vintners who supply the heartbreak grape at heart warming prices. On the subject of wilful mislabelling, the Mail’s picture (above) is a doozy. Since the whole idea behind Burgundy is geographically located terroir, confusing its location on their Dad’s Army map is hilarious.
Annette Alvarez-Peters, principal wine buyer at US supermarket chain Costco with the most unfortunate initials aap, was widely mocked for comparing wine to toilet rolls in an interview with CNBC earlier this year:
Alvarez-Peters: “Is (wine) more special than clothing, is it more special than televisions? I don’t think so.”
CNBC: “Certainly it’s different than toilet paper? Or different that tin foil?”
Quintanilla: “Because it’s personal.”
Alvarez-Peters: “People can look at it that way. But at the end of the day, it’s just a beverage.”
Yet her comparison of wine to clothing is on the money to anyone who has bought a dodgy Hugo Boss T-shirt or YSL jumper on Nanjing Road in Shanghai recently.