Wine on the web, Bordeaux, values, Parmigiano – sipped and spit

wineglasscorksSPIT: the French Paradox!
“The consumption of alcohol, and especially wine, is discouraged,” state new government guidelines. Where? France! Sacre bleu! The National Cancer Institute has a new brochure out that also discourages consumption of red meat, charcuterie and salt. [The Times of London]

SPIT: wine on the web
The French Parliament recently debated a bill that included “a ban on free wine tasting, more specific health warnings on bottles, and the legality of mentioning wine on the internet.” [Decanter]

SPIT: Wine on the web a l’americaine!
Korbel has gone before a judge to have Comcast reveal the identities of internet users who posted comments that “damaged” the company on the forums of Craigslist. In a move that could have implications for the freedom of speech on the internet, the proceedings will be closely watched. [Sonoma Press Democrat]

SIPPED: Fewer greenhouse gas emissions
Bordeaux announces a new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Steps include introducing lighter weight bottles and having more container shipping directly from the Port of Bordeaux.

SPIT: the Belle Epoque in Bordeaux
The downturn hits Bordeaux. [Decanter]

SIPPED: Wine for the price of beer
WSJ reporter David Kesmodel has a piece on trading down and bargains; included are some value vino picks from various commentators, including Dr. Vino! [story; wine picks]

SNACKED: Bankable Parmigiano reggiano
An Italian bank has about 500,000 wheels of Parmigiano reggiano cheese, worth about $3,000 each, as loan collateral. If only our toxic assets had that kind of collateral! Maybe an American bank will stockpile wine. [Marketplace]

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8 Responses to “Wine on the web, Bordeaux, values, Parmigiano – sipped and spit”

  1. Oh how a slice of Parmigiano compliments a glass of red. Encore!

  2. According to the Sonoma Press Democrat: Korbel wants a Sonoma County judge to make Comcast Corp. identify people who accused it, via Craigslist, “of punishing employees who reported sexual harassment….plotting to cut down redwood forests on its Guerneville property” and bribing law-enforcement officials. Korbel wants to sue its accusers. The ACLU and others say that “could test the limits of free speech on the Internet.”

    This is nonsense. Even if the judge agrees, gives Koebel the names and Korbel wins a judgement against the posters, everyone will still be able to say whatever he wants on the Internet–the difference will be that he may be held accountable.

    The ACLU wrings its hands and cries about the “potential for abuse” should the judge agree with Korbel, but refuses to recognize that there’s potential for abuse on both sides. I’m for free speech, but not at all sure about the value of fostering anonymous accusations of wrongdoing, and I doubt that the concept of free speech necessarily gives blanket protection to anonymous accusers.

    Suppose I spread anonymous lies about Dr. Vino. What defense does Dr. Vino have if he can’t take me to court, where my accusations can be proved or disproved? Mark Twain, I think, said “a lie goes halfway round the world before the truth can get its boots on,” so Dr. Vino’s denials will be a lone voice drowned in a sea of accusation online accusations. In time even his friends and family may come to doubt him or be afriad to stand up for him, lest they be tarred as well.

    This could happen to anyone and indeed has in one way or another (as in divorce cases, where an enraged wife has been known to accuse her husband of molesting their children). If a victim’s employer were to take such lies seriously, he could fire the guy and use any number of semi-plausible excuses—we’re overstaffed, the economy’s tight–to disguise the reason and protect himself. The victime would never be able to prove damages–proves that he lost his job because of a smear campaign.

    Shouldn’t Korbel or anyone else—long before business career and reputation are ruined-—be able to face their accusers? Isn’t that what courts are for?

    There is, certainly, such a thing as the legitimate whistle-blower, one who speaks anonymously for fear of his job or safety, but it seems to me that a judge must consider whether there is evidence or the possibility of evidence to support the accusations. Have the punished employees been named in the postings, so that they can be deposed? Is there any evidence of planned deforestation and bribery? Any wrongdoing that bribes have covered up, or even might have covered up? Any real reason for protecting anonymity? And another thing: until the charges are made to legal authorities, they’re not whistle-blowing. They’re gossip and slander.

    Finally, what if the charges are true? In that case, preventing a court case means the victims will get no relief and that criminal behavior will go unpunished.

    Bill Marsano

    360 W. 36th St. Suite 5s

    New York, N.Y. 10018-6412

    Tel/Fax 212 947 0307

    Korbel sued the anonymous critics last year for defamation, saying their comments damaged the century-old business.

  3. Well said Bill. I am very much interested on how this case turns out, as should anyone who ever posted anything on the internet, ever.

  4. Well I think I know who not to defame the next time I decide to make false accusations on the internet.

    On another note, I still don’t understand how an article on trading down in wine can overlook South Africa. Just look at the wines from $7 to $50 from South Africa. This is where the values are today.

  5. Very well said Bill!

    Americans have long confused the differences between rights and responsibilities. Too often I hear people saying that they have a right to certain things (to drive a car, to get analog tv signals, to say whatever they want), yet don’t want the responsibility for what they do with those “rights”.
    You have the right to be protected from government preventing your free speech. But you have a responsibility for the effects of what you say. And you do not have the right to say whatever you want in a commercial medium. It isn’t the government who is the issue, it is comcast (a non-government entity). So claiming first amendment does not apply!

    Remember, say what you want. Just be ready to be held accountable for what you say.


  6. Whoooaaah fellas!

    Before we get all up in arms over the idea of criticism, even blatantly false criticism if that indeed turns out to be the case, on the internet, let us consider a few things:
    1. Forum – Does Korbel really expect us to believe that they have been materially defamed by postings on Craigslist? I know that I personally get most of my news between shopping for a used Atari and looking for a new pet Alligator, but most people don’t.
    2. Materiality – How in the world could Korbel prove damages? Without a measurable impact, this suit is frivolous and a waste of court resources.
    3. Jurisdiction – Gets trickier than you would think when the internet is concerned.
    4. Precedent – Is this really something we want the courts to have to deal with, every penny-ante gripe that some corporate producer has with an internet post? I work in the courts and I think not.
    5. Big Picture – This is a free speech issue. What if one of these issues, about Korbel or any other industry, turns out to be correct? Is this really the type of thing that we want to suppress? Exactly how easily should the websites we frequent give out our information? What is the threshold? I know that you want this to be merely about accountability for your actions, but there are other issues, such as privacy issues, at stake here.

    Personally I think that the issue would have a lot more legal merit if there was any chance of Korbel being able to prove material damages in a court of law based solely on these Craigslist comments. As it stands, it seems dangerous and frivolous to me and if I were a judge I would demand a bit of how they were going to prove damages, because if that is an element of the claimed offense and they have no actual way to prove it, then the case is not well-enough plead to stand.

  7. With regard to Bordeaux and the downturn, I don’t know whether you read French but here an article that seems to announce that certain Bordeaux will become more affordable again, although some winemakers try to resist lowering prices:


  8. I appreciate Bordeaux’s 20/20 vision for the future and hope they meet their goals. Wine producers have always worked with the land toward something greater, this kind of message only confirms that thinking.


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