Sign Up

Dump French Wine? A U.S. Wine Seller Responds

How do France's foreign policy choices reflect upon one U.S. wine business?

February 26, 2003

How do France's foreign policy choices reflect upon one U.S. wine business?

I have been accused of being unpatriotic. Unpatriotic? Because we sell French wine? I understand. I have a bit of that feeling inside me, too.

History tells us that we bailed the French out of two World Wars. We have been good partners since. What should be the standard for loyalty?

In March 2003, their government signed on to a UN resolution to disarm Iraq — and then backed out. Were they just kidding?

So much for the politics of it all. At my wine store, we sell the best wines we can find. In most cases, the wines we choose to represent are the products of small producers.

Farmers, with a couple of acres of land — and a dream of producing the finest wine they can from the natural resources they have.

And wouldn't you know it, quite a few of those men and women striving for their dream toil and till the vineyards of France.

Of course, we sell — and highly recommend — many other wines, including Italian, Spanish, German (oops, there’s another one), Chile, Argentina, Australia, California and Virginia wines.

I could go on. In the end, of all the wines and vintners we represent, my lifelong analysis of these products has brought me to the inescapable conclusion that many of the French wines we present — and the American importers who find and bring them to us — have no peer.

It is for this reason that we have invested heavily in the French wines we sell. And up to this point, our customers have rewarded us for it.

Please continue to make your own choices. If you decide not to consume certain products for ethical, moral or patriotic reasons, I understand.

But we will continue to operate our wine shop as it has been, and as it has been evolving, since 1933. As I see it, the height of anti-patriotism, anti-consumerism — and anti-free commerce — would be to cease recommending the products we love.

If we did succumb to that kind of "patriotism" — and offered only products from politically pleasing countries, we would truly risk the reputation that our ongoing business has earned — and risk the employment of the loyal, reliable, knowledgeable people who work here.