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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for September 2000


A Book Review... 
The Wrath of Grapes
Author—Lewis Perdue


There is probably one counterfeit bottle of Domain Romanée-Conti for every genuine bottle.

The profit on a typical California $75 wine is $41.50.

"Black Goo" is a new and mysterious killer stalking vineyards in France, New Zealand, California, South Africa, Italy, etc.

The Wrath of Grapes

Prof. Pierre Galet's viticultural research institute at Montpellier has 75 full-time research scientists. The University of California-Davis has only four or five.

In 1996 the milk industry spent $178 million on its "Got Milk?" promotional program. The American wine industry spent only one third of that amount all year.

The average Napa Valley vineyard costs about $34,000 per acre for the raw land, and another $18,000 per acre to prepare and plant it.

Typical Napa yields in tons of grapes per acre:

    4.2 tons—Merlot
    4.0 tons—Chardonnay
    3.4 tons—Cabernet Sauvignon

Of the 268 million Americans, only 6 million have at least two or three glasses of wine a week (2.2%).

Rival beverages spend much more on advertising than does wine. Example: In a recent year, Coors Beer advertising budget was over three times the expenditures of the entire American wine industry.

The Implications

It's clear that author Lewis Perdue is warning that there are plenty of hazards out there (bugs, fraud, etc.) and that the American wine industry is under-reacting (inadequate research, advertising, etc.) There is much, much more, insider information as you can see. It's concise and fascinating. But also, I always want some wine recommendations from seasoned observers, so let's turn to Chapter 11.

Some Perdue Picks


  • Rosemount Shiraz—See ,"A Sensational Syrah", WineDay 9-7-99
  • Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay—See "It's The Price, Stupid", WineDay 4-14-00


  • Inniskillin Ice Wines—See "Winegrowing in Canada?", WineDay 6-23-00
  • St. James Norton—See "Norton's Number One", WineDay 8-14-00

    Under-Rated Wineries

  • Beringer—See "Pink Gets No Ink", WineDay 5-4-00
  • Shafer—See "The Merlot Mystery", WineDay 9-29-99
  • Kenwood—See "Jack's Back", WineDay 9-26-00

    Wineries on the Way Up

  • Steele—See "Jed Knocks 'Em Dead", WineDay 9-5-97

    Postscript—Who Is Lew?

    While the Wrath of Grapes illuminates the economic problems grapes can cause, this word wizzard (17 books, journalism teacher at Cornell and UCLA) knows something about tranquility, too. He lives in Sonoma with his wife, Megan, and two children. Here are the closing words of today's book.

      "I am infinitely grateful to Megan—my wife, friend and partner—whose love and support over the past 18 years are so wonderful and steadfast that they transcend my ability to express them in words. God has blessed me and I am thankful."

    This page created September 2000