Let the buyer beware. Accountants don’t normally write about wine, but let’s say a few words so you know what you are paying for. In the village of Piesport in Germany, there is a famous vineyard which makes wine from the Riesling grape, a grape variety which requires a fair bit of work to get a decent crop. So famous is this vineyard, that every other wine maker in the village wants to sell their wine under the same name, and so they changed the law to allow everybody in Piesport to sell their wine as Piesporter Michelsburg.
Is that such a bad thing? After all, in the village of Nuits in Burgundy there is a famous vineyard called Les St Georges. They then changed the name of the village to Nuits St Georges so every wine maker in the village could put a famous name on their bottle. The original vineyard now has to be sold as Nuits St Georges Les St Georges Premier Cru.
There is another grape grown in Germany called the Sylvaner which gives a higher crop for less work. As an accountant, I am of course utterly incompetent to judge whether or not the Sylvaner makes a wine as good as the Riesling, but I think the buyer should be aware that there is wine being made from the Sylvaner which is being sold legally as Piesporter Michelsburg. At the moment, all Nuits St Georges red wine needs to be made from the Pinot Noir grape, but there may be a future prospect of wine being sold as Burgundy being made from other red grapes such as the Gamay grape.
Traditional Rioja is a blend made from a variety of grapes, but let us note two of them, the Tempranillo and the Graciano. A typical traditional blend is 80% Tempranillo and 20% Graciano. Unfortunately the Graciano is difficult to grow, and the story goes that a modern Spanish wine grower who is asked to plant it will say “Gracia, no!”. Modern Rioja is often 100% Tempranillo. Once again, an ignorant accountant like me is incompetent to judge whether a pure Tempranillo is any different from a blend, but let’s just say I look for Graciano on the back label and defect to Navarra for my Spanish requirement if I don’t find it.
Obviously I am insinuating that certain grapes are inferior, especially high-cropping varieties like the Sylvaner and the Gamay which take less effort. This type of opinion cannot be extended to every field of activity. A printing press is generally better than an army of monks. A horseless carriage is now preferred by most people for travelling to work. Optical character recognition applied to bank statements is now faster and more reliable than a human accounts clerk.
David Porthouse & Co is a forward-looking firm of accountants based in Carlisle with a keen interest in new technology with the aim of speeding up accounts production and making accountancy more affordable for our clients.