To say I’ve had enough of 2020 is an understatement! If things aren’t bad enough, the Times article this past Saturday, “Vineyards across Europe drowning in surplus wine,” definitely darkened my outlook. Apparently, a variety of factors including Trump’s 25% tariff on French wine imports to the US, a new trade deal between China and Australia, the Brexit fiasco, and finally (if the others weren’t bad enough), all the negative effects of the Coronavirus have created a nightmare for the European wine industry. They simply can’t sell millions of bottles of wine…10 million hectolitres in France, Spain and Italy alone!!
OK…if you’re a wine enthusiast like me, then you’re probably about ready to jump in your car, drive to the continent and help with the relief effort. For a moment, I actually pictured myself renting a large van and totally stockpiling, in order to help the situation out…of course!!!
Wait…reverse…in fact, get out of the van and get back in the house!
The reality of my situation hit…daydream over and back to my current nightmare (sorry to be so negative). This is lockdown and I’m not really even supposed to leave my house unless it’s to exercise, seek medical help or shop for essentials.
My next thought was that I could swim the English channel (I swam varsity in high school) and then run and/or cycle (if I could find a bike along the way) to the nearest wine region (which would be Champagne of course..such luck!!) as part of my daily exercise allocation…
Sad to say, I don’t think anyone would actually believe that I’m in training for a triathalon at the moment. Oh and getting the wine back home would definitely be a whole other predicament. Damn it! Who’s going to buy and eventually drink all those precious bottles of wine?
The answer, my friends, is no one!
Honestly, if things couldn’t get any worse, they just have. If the wine can’t be sold, then vineyards and wineries will be faced with the terrible reality that it simply will have to be distilled and sold as rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer and/or cosmetics. Tough times call for tough measures! Saving the bottles for post-lockdown won’t work either because it would create a surplus to the market and prices might plummet as a result. So distillation looks like the most fiscally logical next step.
The thought that my next bottle of hand sanitizer or facial toner might have once been destined to be an incredible bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy wine is the negative reality of the tough times we are living in. A whole industry is being forced to destroy the fruits of its labour…literally, and face a very financially uncertain future. With this as the current reality of what lies ahead, I will continue to do my part by staying home and rescuing all those bottles destined for the distillery in my dreams.