Seems like an unlikely pair doesn’t it? Well, the connection is sketchy but the unthinkable is happening. Perhaps not so unthinkable when fraud abounds (in Padova, Italy, 9,000 bottles of fake Moet & Chandon champagne were uncovered in a shed where they were being produced…I kid you not!
In Vol. 2 No.1, TB wrote on some books he had been reading. One of them, Vino Business, by Isabella Saporta, showed just how greedy Chateaux owners, thanks to the Chinese were among other things, forcing out smaller owners by changing regulations that were expensive to conform to…how about having a large parking lot??? But the main thing is the number of them that are owned by global conglomerates who will do anything to increase production especially now that they can bypass the chain and sell directly to the Chinese…who needs England and America…after all, they won’t pay the obscene prices for cru wines.
Not only that but they, who have claimed the exceptional ‘terroir’ of the Bordeaux appellations found a way to increase production by merely acquiring ‘adjacent’ properties – wait…isn’t that inferior wine? Not if you blend it…called assemblage. If the harvest is done in August or September, and the first tasting by the ‘eggspurts’ are in March (Parker is always the first and alone followed the next week by the rest of the critics. But wait: the wine is still in barrels awaiting the final blend. Parker loves his wines powerful…tannic, monster wines, while the Europeans prefer more balanced structured wines…a problem: simply take the samples from new barrels for Parker and the more mellow wines from used or neutral barrels…problem solved! Whatever it takes to get a 90+ score! Now do you see why TB says, never buy a wine on rating…especially a Bordeaux!
The above is simply a matter of preference. What is more significant is that not only are they forcing their less affluent owners out…by placing their men in charge of the INAO and the appellations, they are maximizing by over-spraying of pesticides and herbicides which is done by helicopter or mindless men driving tractors to the very edge of the property. Despite complaints by residents it persists. A local lab examined bottles of wine from every classified cru and guess what? They ALL contained chemicals, including some on the banned list! …and you, dear consumer are paying for that in your wine. A trade-off of either health benefits or health hazards, but in Bordeaux you can have both! Note that also, as mentioned in Saporta’s book, this extends to Champagne…quel horror! Pesticide Black List
Now, in closing, the mundane: we have all heard how great ‘wine in a box’ is and how it saves money (bottles and shipping), resulting in lower prices to the consumer. Sadly, there is no way of knowing if you are actually saving money or getting lesser quality mass-produced wine. But that is a small point when you figure if you open a bottle of wine, even with a Vac-u-Vin, it keeps for two days at most. But next time you buy it notice the expiration date…yes, an expiration date on wine! Be sure to buy well ahead of it and due to the plastic liners which ‘could’ contain BPA or other chemicals that could contaminate the wine. So IF you choose to buy wine in a box, make sure you are well within the expiration date (and if the retailer is putting the expiring stuff to the front buy elsewhere, and remember that BIG box which is cheaper per liter may not be the best value since you can’t drink it all within a week…unless you are with friends…and do you really want to serve them box wine? Note this is not an issue of oxidation as the bag creates a vacuum, just a health safety issue…possibly. Not trying to create a scare like the one on arsenic levels in wine, just make you aware.
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How did Trader Bill originate?
It was conceived by me as a way of providing information summaries of global financial markets so that friends and associates could bring themselves up to speed on events and changing market conditions upon their arrival at work. In addition, it provides information on speakers and economic releases that day with consensus estimates and level of last release so that the reader is prepared to react, or knows how the market might react upon the release of information.
Who is Trader Bill?
Initially any reference to me was as ‘i’. This is to remove the aura of ego and to suggest that i am but a humble reporter, albeit with 35 years of investment experience. Investments are demanding of ego, however, or one would not feel that he was qualified to manage someone else’s money in the first instance. Therefore i needed an ‘alter-ego’. Like Winchell and Mahoney, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and especially Trader Vic and Mai Tai’s! Why Trader Vic? Because he was a likeable man who delivered pleasure to his customers and knew exactly what their desires were. The reason for the alter ego became obvious once I introduced Trader Bill into my commentaries: people started asking what Trader Bill thought. They had never asked me what I thought before, but suddenly they wanted to know what TB thought! Now mind you they KNEW that I was Trader Bill but for some reason he became bigger than life. Maybe it was the small ‘I’?
What does Trader Bill try to do?His goal is to educate from his years of experience. Consider that most of the traders and people managing investments weren’t even around in 1987 for the crash! Consider that Graham and Dodd, and even Warren Buffet are not relevant to them, too old hat. Their historical perceptions of markets and fundamentals (earnings, price/earnings ratios, bonds, debt service coverage) are irrelevant in this fast moving world. This is the NEW ECONOMY, or is it?
How did your style originate?Years ago i found that i had a knack and talent for writing. In addition, i developed an ability to analyze market news about 15 years ago. It took the Crash of ‘87. Prior to that i was just listening to what others said about the economy. But bond yields had been soaring in ‘87 yet the stock market just kept hitting new highs. That was when i began to learn about markets. i have both a dry and witty sense of humor (some call it inane!). Therefore i
attempt to make even the worst news somewhat amusing: whether it is the absurdity of an economic release, or the comments of a CEO. This is trading desk humor (or gallows humor). It isn’t politically correct but it does ease tension. Ironically, it is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (in the Navy they say: it’s always darkest before it’s pitch black!), that allows you to be more objective in your analysis, as bad as a situation is there will still be a tomorrow! You will see that i practice three-dot journalism, a style made famous by San Francisco reporter Herb Caen, whom i idolized. At least to me it is effective.
What is so special about your analysis?Frankly, i don’t know that it is special, but at least it beats “the market closed down today on profit taking.” What i do know is that most of what you read is spat out without considering whether or not it is rational, like the above statement. Is it right? Sometimes yes and sometimes no, and that is the key to what is different about my analysis: it is meant to make you think. Is Dan Rather right or is Trader Bill right? If it causes you to stop and think about it, regardless of whether you agree, i win! Because THAT is my goal…not to have you think i am a guru, got that? Bet you never heard that ANYWHERE before in my business! Instead they want you to think just how smart they are but remember in this business if you are right 60% of the time you ARE a genius! Another thing that is different is when i am wrong on an analysis i will tell you, not hope you forget what i said. So now you have the tools to do what the speculators and hedge funds do: challenge authority, and if you make money it is because YOU did it not me. i was just a tool, your flunky to do the grunt work and let you decide…course you could be wrong too but at least you looked at the big picture. But the goal is also to have fun! This shouldn’t be a business of hushed tones and grim faces. It is a living, breathing thing and nowhere else in the world do you have the odds as much in your favor as here. Just beware of the guy who wants to put his arm around you and tell you he is your friend.
So there you have it. I hope you select me as one of your sources for market information. If you do I promise to work my best for your financial success.
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2 thoughts on “Vol.2 No. 5…Bordeaux wine and wine in a box”
Hi Bill, Have you been following the Premier Cru Story in Berkeley? I haven’t followed it in much detail; but you should start writing the made for TV movie…the headlines are always grabbers. http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29500642/premier-cru-fbi-probing-ponzi-scheme-claims-owner Miss you guys.. Sue
Hi Sue…just saw this. I have been following ever since I read Twisted Vines about the Mare Island Wine Warehouse fire and the arsonist who did it and was close with Premier Cru.