Broadbent sues, California’s anxiety, NY retail, wine cheaper than water

Michael Broadbent, founder of the wine department at Christie’s, has sued Random House publisher of The Billionaire’s Vinegar (buy on amazon). The Daily Mail writes: “The Broadbent claims the book suggests he invented a bid for another of the Jefferson wines – a half-bottle of 1784 Margaux – to ensure the successful bidder paid more than was necessary.” Random House will defend the lawsuit. The Billionaire’s Vinegar is also being made into a movie. (Image: The Daily Mail)

SPIT: sales
The NYT summarizes the effect of the recession on the California wine industry: “Brutal.” It continues: “Cash may be trickling, but anxiety is gushing forth.”

SWISHED: retail change in NY
A proposal to reform New York’s retail and allow wine sales in supermarket failed earlier this year. One state Senator has introduced new legislation that would allow not only wine sales in supermarkets but also food sales in wine stores and a “medallion” system instead of licensing. Owners could operate more than one location in New York, also a change. Time will tell whether this initiative fares differently. [LoHud]

SIPPED: ultra low prices
An (unlabeled) Australian wine is selling for $1.99 at a store in Sydney, or “cheaper than water.” Meanwhile, John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter estimate that the value of juice in Fred Franzia’s new Down Under Chardonnay (retail: about $3) costs “about 35 U.S. cents or less.”

SIPPED: Schmoozing and blogging
Wine Business Monthly reports from the Wine Bloggers’ Conference; Jim Gordon of Wines & Vines has tips for bloggers.

SPIT: stems on Air France
Air France has introduced a new line of stemless wine glasses in Business and First (aka Affaires and La Première). Are the wines served any good? Hit the comments with your on-board experiences.

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8 Responses to “Broadbent sues, California’s anxiety, NY retail, wine cheaper than water”

  1. The “medallion system” would totally kill the small wine shops. I find that to be more dangerous than supermarkets selling wine under the current licensing program. Of course, there are plenty of people already group-buying (under the radar), but making it legit would really hurt the smaller guys who can’t make the 20-case deals. One more reason I’m glad we sold our shop in Westchester.

  2. Re. cheap wine, I have seen normal .750 bottles of wine selling for under a Euro in spanish grocery stores.

  3. Haha, Tyler. I believe that’s your first “gulp” and its premiere couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s never comforting to be on the recieving end of a lawsuit. Do you agree with the claim? I haven’t read The Billionaire’s Vinegar, so I’m not familiar with the passage to which Broadbent holds issue.

  4. Hi Dylan, I can’t speak to his claim directly but I do think it is an excellent book. Throw it in your beach bag this summer!

  5. Rarely in the wine business do you ever run into individuals with the values and ethical standards of Michael Broadbent. From my viewpoint it is impossible that he would invent a bid, hire a shill, or do anything that would violate the trust of the bidder at auction. I can see how he might trust someone he shouldn’t or be fooled about a wines provenance, but never would he intentionally mislead. If the book does accuse him of this, I would look at the book as a work of fiction.

  6. Jim Gordon’s tips were supposed to be funny right?

  7. Michael Broadbent clearly has very strong standards, but to give him a pass because of this, without reading, what I think is an exceedingly well researched and written book, is not right. Read the book come to your own conclusions – the only thing ficticious in the book may be the provenance of the “Th. J” bottles.

  8. NY wine laws aren’t going to be changing anytime soon. We can’t even get our state senators to play nice with each other, much less vote on bills. (Unless, of course, they’re voting on a pay raise.)


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