St. Helena (AP) -- In a stunning transaction, Napa Valley today traded its summer sun to Bordeaux for its history and international reputation.
"We think it's a good deal for both clubs," said Napa Valley manager Joe Torrid.
The deal will allow Bordeaux wineries to achieve greater consistency, no longer relying on two or three great vintages a decade. At the same time, Napa Valley wineries making 60,000 cases a year should now be able to sell their wine at $400 a bottle and up based on their newly acquired reputation.
"You can't get something good without giving something up," said Bordeaux GM Jacques Strap. "We'll have to get by without our brand recognition, particularly in the Chinese market. But we're getting a lot here -- more ripe fruit in good years, fewer bad years."
Observers said the bold move was prompted by the weak wine market.
"Both teams had problems they wanted to solve," said Rob Neyers Syrah of ESPWine. "Napa Valley can't move its small production $125 wines because nobody who doesn't subscribe to Wine Advocate has heard of them. Bordeaux has moved its prices up so high that it doesn't know what to do with off vintages, so they decided the extra sun should eliminate the off vintages. I can see this point, but I like this deal for Napa. They can get by with less sun, and it might even help them with global warming."
Adelaide (Reuters) -- After talks that stretched on for months, Australia today traded its technological advances and international reputation for good cheap wines to the Rhone Valley in exchange for more dignified labels and a French accent.
Australian bloggers were outraged about the deal. One prominent critic, MattRoy Holiday, said, "We're giving them millions, maybe billions of dollars of research, and all we're getting out of it is the ability to say my name without the 'h' and have people not laugh about it."
Defending the deal, Australia GM William Bean said, "Look, we had to move that reputation. It was strapping us down. I know this is an unusual deal, but it gives us greater flexibility. The machine harvesters in particular are a hard loss, but this gives us the chance to rebuild."
ESPWine's Neyers Syrah wrote, "It's a painful pill to swallow for Australia, but you have to give Bean credit for realizing bold action was needed. They weren't selling any $25 or up Shirazes -- pardonnez-moi, les Syrahs -- even though their wines in that price range are every bit as good, if not better, than the Rhone's. The labels were a throw-in; I think the prospect they really wanted in this deal was the accent. The D'Arenbergs in my cellar sound more appealing already."
New York (Bloomberg) -- In a surprise move, Wine Writers today traded the phrase "summer sipper" to Basketball Announcers for "young freshman."
Dick Vitale was quick to praise the trade, saying, "UCLA is now loaded with summer sippers, baby!"
Meanwhile, wine writers were calling it a trade with an eye on the future.
"When you talk about young freshman wines, you're talking about wines with a chance to develop, and that's promising," said James Loud Bee. "We haven't had this phrase in the past and I think it adds a lot, but it will take time to really know for sure. I'm going to start tasting some young freshmen immediately."
Word industry analysts said the trade, though made at this year's deadline, could presage a winter full of similar deals.
"The movie industry has wanted to get ahold of 'toothsome' from restaurant menu writers for some time," said Leonard Pinth Garnel of Words R Us. "With its strong farm system of adjectives like 'thrilling' and 'action-packed,' I'm sure something can be worked out."