Essay on Wine Synthesis
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Sample Essay on Wine Synthesis
Investigation of the geography of wines and viticulture has landed me among many facets of the economic and regional implications of the entire industry as a whole. As I aim to find the general association between region and quality, researching and contrasting the economic structure and the environmental structure of wine geography have been most helpful in my quest.
I will describe first, a strong article on the structure of wine production/economy in the U.S., an article from the scholarly Journal of Wine Research.
This particular article begins by describing the boom in the U.S. wine industry, fueled by the domination of few mass-market producers and many specialized vineyards. The phenomenon of this economic boom, surprisingly, wasn’t explored by geographers until the 1990’s, when the structure of the industry was displayed parallel to normal cycle of business progression. The newly found mass market aimed to create a greater consistency of grape yields, which focused less on quality and more on quantity of harvests. The specialized prestigious market maintained its aims at creating the best qualities of wines. However, the opinion of wine specialists shifted to agree with the statement that the industry is no longer one of chateaux owners; it is one of big business.
The evolution of the industry in the U.S. is explained in four stages of profit cycle, typified by rates of expansion, degree of innovation, profit stability, concentration ratios, and spatial distribution. The First stage is explained by the great demand for alcohol in the late 1800’s. The second stage included the spreading of the market across the eastern U.S., which ended with the prohibition. The third stage was marked by maturing of western vines, and the demand for a better quality of wines. The final stage entailed the formation of corporations that dominated the market. Most simply, the beginnings of marketing wine in the accommodating climates of California is explained by the gold rush, and the destruction of European vines by a disease called Phylloxera.
Now, the wine industry is defined by one of five types of ownership. Corporations that mass produce only wines (such as Gallo inc.), multi-beverage corporations (Seagram and Sons inc.), multinational integrated businesses that promote and control wine production, substantial independent producers who exploit unfilled niches in the global market (R. Mondavi), and Non-competitive proprietor owned vineyards.
In contrast to this economic analysis of the wine industry, an article by Jake Hancock in the Wine and Wine Marketing journal focuses on the factors that affect the quality of wines, most closely associated with regional identities. The article begins with a chemical explanation of the fermentation of grapes into wine. Hancock concludes that the more sugar that is present in a grape (a factor in direct variance with heat and rainfall) the more potential there is for control of alcohol levels. He also describes the presence of all of the esters, lactones, terpenes, phenols, ketones and aldehydes in wines, which cause the wide variety of flavors.
In this article, Hancock refers to mid-20th century researchers Amerine and Winkler, who, using a tabular formula, broke France into five climatic regions, and researched the quality of the variable grapes produced among those regions. The research they provided proved the exact regional qualities necessary for particular grapes, and it served as a guide for the more recent expansion of viticulture into America. Hancock goes on to account for the many other variances in viticulture; he even proves the vitality of the steepness of slopes that bear the harvest. Lastly he accounts for the importance of vineyard management practices. He suggests that even further beyond the great knowledge a Chateau must possess to create an admirable wine, wine makers now study the science of vine management and pruning quantitatively. Such factors as leaf size and shape are now considered in the pruning process.
The third and longest article, by John Dickenson, is even referred to by the latter two authors. Dickenson gives a full account of the historical spread to viti/viniculture, its origins, and its marketing. The article begins by citing the works of Hugh Johnson a famous British expert in wine regionally, and the author of the World Atlas of Wines. Dickenson goes on to explain the consequences of the Phylloxera virus in Europe, and many other harvest determining factors throughout the past few centuries. Like the first article, much of the focus falls of the marketing spread of wine and its business classifications. Also, Dickenson spends a great deal of time focusing on the legal disputes throughout the world involving wine classification. He refers to special committees formed that monitor the information provided on wine bottles, so as not to fool the consumer.
As I intended to research these articles for means of finding the quality of wines, I learned of whole new horizons of geographical research in the wine industry. Much of the researchable information is irrelevant to my topic, though I found these particular articles to be the most informative, concise, and helpful in developing a base of knowledge to qualify myself as an expert. Most importantly, the references that I discovered while reading these articles (such as Hugh Johnson’s World Atlas) should prove to be even more informative as references to guide my research. I will continue to asses similar articles that give me credibility as a researcher. 1) Holly, Brian P. Organisational structure of wine production in the US.