Investing in Fine Wine Is More Lucrative Than Ever – Bloomberg

Once an exotic market, parking your assets inside expensive bottles can yield tremendous profits.

 

Buying rare wines is like investing in a startup: You need 10 years of runway to see significant returns. But unlike a startup, wine is a lot more lucrative these days.

Had you allocated $100,000 to Cult Wines, a U.K.-based wine portfolio manager, your money—which is to say your wine—would have returned an average of 13 percent annually. In 2016, its index performance was actually 26 percent. The fine wine secondary market hovers at about $5 billion, a fraction of the $302 billion global wine market. But Euromonitor International Ltd. projects that while “key luxury players face mounting risks in 2018,” the wine and Champagne category is set to increase by an estimated 7 percent.

To anyone that knows wine, French is the must-have and French Bordeaux the absolute must-have

When it comes to what private bank Coutts & Co. calls the “passion index,” wine is right up there with fancy cars and rare coins [ . . . ]

Continue story at BLOOMBERG: Investing in Fine Wine Is More Lucrative Than Ever – Bloomberg



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‘A Bite-Sized History of France’ delightfully combines French history with gastronomy

Napoleon’s most famous (and probably apocryphal) quote weaves together war and food: “An army marches on its stomach.” In a few short words, we are led to consider the immense logistics that make war possible, and the humanity of the people who wage it. It’s a fitting quote to introduce A Bite-Sized History of France, a new and impressive book that intertwines stories of gastronomy, culture, war, and revolution.

Each amuse bouche-sized chapter of “A Bite-Sized History of France” tackles a different theme, ranging from the relationship between the revolutionary government and potatoes to the connection between the thoughts of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and a search for “authentic” French food. The book delves back to the origins of seemingly eternal fixtures of French food culture (chocolate, raw oysters, sweet pastries) and teases out the meaning of their arrival. And it dives into serious historical events ranging from revolutions to sectarian massacres with real conviction, recapping many of the most significant political and military developments in France’s long history as it goes.

Throughout the book, the authors return to certain themes that tie together its many far-flung topics and tastes. Chief among these are the theme of inequality – an examination of how the rich and the poor pursue pleasure and sustenance is at the heart of “A Bite-Sized History of France” and that frame provides a window into economics, inequality, and revolution. Perhaps mostly strikingly, the authors tell the story of a famous Christmas Day feast for wealthy Parisian during the 1870 siege by Prussian troops. Food had seemingly run out, but for those with means, the zoo would serve as a kind of exotic butcher shop:

“[The meal] began with a stuffed donkey’s head, an inelegant successor to the usual porcine centerpieces of prewar banquets. The soup course included elephant consommé. This was followed by kangaroo stew, rack of bear in pepper sauce, and roasted camel à l’anglaise (a cheeky reference to what the French saw as the plainness of English cuisine.) The main course included le chat flanqué de rats (cat flanked by rats) and cuissot de loup, sauce chevreuil(wolf in deer sauce), a wry inversion of the natural order.” Continue reading “‘A Bite-Sized History of France’ delightfully combines French history with gastronomy”

How could 10 million bottles of cheap Spanish rosé be passed off as French? Blame America

Our insatiable love for pink wine created a booming market that helped lay the groundwork for fraud.

Lovers of French wine are suddenly seeing red. Earlier this year, they feared they wouldn’t have enough of their beloved rosé to get them through the summer, because Americans are buying it all. Now it seems much of the vaunted French pink they’ve been consuming the past two years has in fact been cheap Spanish rosado.

France’s consumer fraud authority confirmed July 9 that over the past two years, unscrupulous wine merchants have passed off as many as 70,000 hectoliters — the equivalent of 10 million bottles — of cheap Spanish wine as more-expensive French rosé. That’s shocking news in a country where protesters have been known to stop tanker trucks with imported wines and empty their contents on the road near the border.

That giant sucking sound over the past few years was U.S. consumers discovering they love rosé and buying and drinking as much as they could. Demand soared, and the rosé market boomed, with many more labels appearing on U.S. shelves, and earlier in the year than ever before as brands competed for shelf space. Prices rose, and shippers tried to send as much as they could to take advantage

This kind of story plays well in the media, because it reinforces two popular stereotypes: Those crafty French, and the snooty wine snobs who can’t tell the difference between plonk and the good stuff. Snickering aside, it also highlights basic economics and current trends in the production and marketing of wine [ . . . ]

Continue reading at THE WASHINGTON POST: How could 10 million bottles of cheap Spanish rosé be passed off as French? Blame America. – The Washington Post

Why Bistro Owners in Paris are Demanding UNESCO Status 

Bistro
Belly of the Bistro

Alain Fontaine leans on the bar at his central Paris bistro, Le Mesturet, dodging trays as waiters weave around him to deliver lunchtime service. “A bistro isn’t just some place for a quick bite to eat,” he says, turning to avoid a glass of red wine colliding with his white chef’s coat. “It’s the home of the Parisian art de vivre—that’s what we’re losing if these places die out: our way of life.

”A distinctive kind of bar-cum-eatery, the bistro offers more substantial meals than a café, but in a more relaxed setting than a restaurant. In some parts of town, they seem to be everywhere, the small zinc-topped tables of their terraces spilling onto street corners. But they’re rapidly disappearing. From 2014 to 2018, nearly a quarter of Paris bistros—at least 300 of them—closed, according to France’s National Statistics Office.

That’s why Fontaine, 60, who worked in bistros all his life before opening Le Mesturet in 2003, is leading about 30 fellow owners in a campaign this year. They want UNESCO, the U.N.’s culture agency, to give bistros and terraces “intangible cultural heritage” status. In September, they will hand their proposal to France’s Minister for Culture, who will then decide whether or not to recommend it to UNESCO. The status would raise awareness and give owners an opportunity for promotion, as well as a way to justify future planning protection from the city council. They might also be able to access some funds: every two years UNESCO hands out cash from a shared pot to put toward practices or events with the classification [ . . . ]

Continue at TIME: Why Bistro Owners in Paris are Demanding UNESCO Status | Time