Winebits 278: Wine thefts, Aussie harvest, sweet wine

? Back up the truck: I spent a considerable amount of time as a young newspaper reporter writing about crime, and one learned certain truths. One of which was that thieves like simple ? simple to carry off, simple to fence. So how to explain this wine theft, the second in the last six months? This report says hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wine were taken from a San Francisco area warehouse; the difference between this and the previous heist (love those crime writing terms!) was volume ? this was only seven cases of wine, as opposed to most of a warehouse. Still, how does one fence wine? It ?s not like many pawn shops will take it.

? Tons and tons and tons of grapes: Think California had a bountiful harvest in 2012? Then get ready for the harvest in Australia ?s Riverina, where much of the country ?s cheap wine, including YellowTail, comes from. The harvest was near record, not a good thing when the Aussies are trying to cut production. One local official said that despite the near-record year, one-half of growers had not met the basic costs of production for 2013.

? Who tells you what to drink? Robert Joseph at the Joseph Report offers a spot-on analysis of the sweet wine trend, noting the differences between the way sweet red and moscato are marketed in the U.S. and Europe. ?In the U.S., the wine industry takes the view that making money out of giving consumers what they like is an entirely legitimate thing to do. It’s only fair to point out that the wider acceptance of this attitude goes a long way to explaining the success of supersized burgers and some pretty dreadful movies, not to mention a fairly widespread market for firearms. On the other hand, would it really be such a bad thing if the people who are currently drinking flavourless Pinot Grigio and Merlot had the chance to buy the kinds of grapey Moscato and ?velvety ? red that are giving such satisfaction on the other side of the Atlantic

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