Caine Thompson
Wine reviews
11 Apr 2017

Wine Real Estate: Locations, Locations, Locations

Even without bringing the TTB, three-tier systems and the patchwork of state laws, regulations and statues that pertain to getting wine into the hands of consumers, wine laws around the world are a master course in Byzantine localism, politics and turf warfare. Bordeaux has strict laws over types of grapes, acerage yield, bottling requirements and a slew of other restrictions and regulations designed to make sure that a wine from Bordeaux tastes like… a wine from Bordeaux. Within the strict national laws implemented by the French government, there are regional battles. Margaux and St-Estephe vie for superiority – and since they are so tightly regulated in what they can grow, how they can grow it and how much they can produce – it is a pretty level playing field that comes down to the winemaker’s skills, blending proportions and intangibles such as the terrior where the grapes were grown.

God help us all if we try to figure out the clash of clans that occurs over single hectare in Burgundy or the model of disfunction that is Italian wine classification

This is not just an Old World wine problem either. While it is true that the restrictions on grape varietals, yields, etc., aren’t as strict, in an utterly American way, pure economics dictates that certain grape varietals be grown in certain areas. The real estate in Napa Valley is far too expensive to fiddle around with things like Sangiovese, Tempernillo or even Pettit Verdot in anything but limited quantities. Cabernet Sauvignon is what people expect, can reap the highest price and is what people want.

Ditto Syrah/Shiraz from Australia and Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.

Indeed much of the wine world’s very educational mastery – and snobbery – comes from people who have studied – and studied extensively – the nuances of the different wine growing regions, their soils, their histories and their grapes.