Thursday, April 24, 2014
Small and giant wineries are squeezing out the mid-sized
The authors, from Brock University in Canada, published their near-impenetrable report in this month's Journal of Wine Economics, which was also responsible for a fascinating article about how Algeria's wine industry led to Europe's appellation laws.
This study uses statistics from Wines & Vines' Annual Directory of the Wine Industry in North America to establish how many small, mid-size and large wineries there are, then compares it to other industries -- including Portuguese manufacturing firms and service industries in Luxembourg -- to say, "Is this normal?"
I'm reminded of one of sex columnist Dan Savage's complaints about straight men: he sometimes writes that while gay men write in to ask complex questions like whether their lover can be considered unfaithful for taking a shower with a neighbor, straight men often ask, "I'm really turned on by (insert unusual fantasy, perhaps involving diapers or a TV talk show host). Is this normal?"
This report is so dry that I had to literally sex it up. That's what bloggers do! Believe me, you don't want to read the entire actual report, and I'm not just saying that to make you feel better because it's not online. Here's a crucial sentence, not even one of the longer ones: "Our kernel density estimates indicate that the size distribution has changed from positively skewed to bimodal." (Hehe, hehe, he said "bimodal.")
Anyway. The nut of the issue is that graph. Unlike in 1984, when the wine industry had a normal size distribution, as you can see, there's now a bunch of small wineries and a few big ones, and very little in between.
From the article: "Consumers appear to prefer the more expensive boutique wines or the cheaper large mass-produced wines."
Thanks to study authors Don Cyr, Joseph Kushner and Tomson Ogwang, and apologies for making fun of your superior vocabulary. The full article is not available online but you can read the abstract here. (And if you want to ask if something other than bimodal size distribution is normal, you can read Dan Savage here.)
Posted by W. Blake Gray at 6:00 AM