Eye-opening viewpoint from Lodi on foreign bulk wine sold under California labels

Ontario had notoriously lax regulations. Moray Tawse made a famous protest at the rules with his 2005 99/1 labelled as Ontario Pinot Noir but was actually a barrel of Morey-St-Denis (or MSD as some would have it). For the sake of clarity (!) it was 99% Burgundy, 1% Ontario juice.

Years ago the local longshoreman’s union picketed /struck a ship that was bringing in concentrate from Spain for Gallo. Ostensibly the action was in support of the farm workers, but it got everyone’s attention.

Paging @Pietro_B for input.

Actually, this isn’t an area I know much about. I have heard of private purchases for private labels - you know like a bladder of Bandol Rose for a 1,000 case club drop, but I’m not sure what the imports look like for baginbox bargain wine. Two thoughts though:

  1. Growers are screwed everywhere right now, so not sure who the winners are beyond the mega middlemen. For years I have personally known multiple small, low-quality small California wineries making shady deals sending terrible high-VA garbage wine in containers to China. Is no one innocent? Wine is full of shady middle-persons sadly. Not sure how I feel about tarrifs and the like but there is a big question mark. Certainly we need regional promotion and marketing like other countries have to help level the playing field.

  2. I love Italian wine, and so have mixed feelings on foreign wine as my own winery starts nearing closure in this environment. I would never tell people to not drink foreign wine, and I don’t want to tell people to “drink California” which will just make my “friends” the Franzias, the Gallos, and the Wagners richer. This industry needs a serious culling, and per historical usuals, it will be the wealthy who can stand longer, not the tiny producers. Nor do I think it should break into identity tribes of consumption. But some sort of action - maybe real syndicalist-like shutdowns need to happen.

We are only two years into what is most likely an eight-year arc right now. I’ve been trying to form some thoughts and might ask you’ll a couple questions as they start to gel. But keep drinking from small producers!!! Please!

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