64: Money, Taste and Wine with Mike Veseth, the Wine Economist
I learned that there was such thing as a wine economist from famous. Wine me my wife Sue and I were. Newly wits was so long ago that it will have a lot of money Atiyyah Napa Valley on the way back in the last day. You're driving up the solar raido trail. I saw this name. I knew more about wines then that recognize the name of a winery famous for the judgment of Paris for so he pulled in for one. Last is not all that works. Were bottles began talk Communist. Suddenly he didn't ask me. Your research. Faster to want to know is rates. The removing not interest rates and. It really made a difference because business a mob a lot of capital investment Vineyards Beijing really wanted to know when these winds were ready year. He has been situation solid. Do you have a thirst to learn about wine? D Love Stories about wonderfully obsessive people ponting Lee beautiful places and Amusingly Awkward Social Situations. Oh that's the blend here on the unreserved wine. Talk podcast I'm your host Natalie Maclean. And each week. I share with you. Unfiltered conversations with celebrities in the world as well as confessions from my own tipsy journey as I write my third book on this subject. I'm so glad you're here now. Pass that bottle please. And let's get started. Welcome to episode sixty four. You're in a special treat today. In this conversation with Mike disaster known as the Wine Economist and award winning author and Professor Emeritus in Washington. He took an around the world trip in eighty wines Jules Verne style to discover great value winds and the stories behind them. This conversation first aired on my regular facebook live video show so you'll often hear me responding to a comment that one of the viewers has made. You can join in that conversation every second Wednesday at seven PM Eastern. If you're listening to this podcast on the day it's published our next. Facebook chat will be next week market on your calendar. I'll put a link in the show notes where you can find us next. Wednesday as well as two mikes website books social media handles and the video version of this conversation at Natalie MacLean dot com forward slash sixty four so why not make twenty twenty the year that you move from feeling overwhelmed with all the wines in the liquor store to feeling confident about every wine you buy and knowing exactly which dish will pair perfectly with it? I can help sign up for my free online video wine class. The five wine and food pairing mistakes that can ruin your dinner and how to fix them forever go to Natalie MacLean dot com forward slash class and choose a time and date that work for you. Alec forward to seeing you there okay on with the show price affect your perception of a blinds quality. What would it be like to travel around the world in pursuit of eighty wines? That's exactly what we're going to learn from our guest who joins me live from Washington. Our guest writes about the fascinating intersection money tasting wine. He has published more than a dozen books have won numerous awards including wine wars extreme wine tasting wine. It's complicated and his latest book around the world in eighty wines. He's a professor. Emeritus of the University of Tacoma Puget sound in Washington where he taught international political economy and prior to that he earned his PhD in economics from Purdue University today. He's known as the wine. Economist and knee joins me now from Washington. Welcome Mike Beset. The wine economist. Good to have you here. Mike. I mean you have such an impressive background. I've only hit the highlights. Fill in the gaps and tell us they do something that would surprise people about you. Maybe that they wouldn't know that I double identity. I'm really confused. I if you go onto Amazon or Google and you search for Michael these which is the name. My mother gave me related. The professor. The series Professor Guy writes will survive Series of experts so-forth. And then you go to those places for Mike these then you need. A white person writes about wine. And the difference. La- personalities flip is actually very intentional. With when I started to it into law writing about wine I wanted. I didn't WanNa right. Just for vessels. There are a lot of active winding its European whining. Autonomous Association American whining. And I didn't WanNa right just because I wanted to write for the industry's consumers. The less feedback and drool testing discovered. Michael didn't get a lot of flies in comments. He wore a little intimidated by the Mike Oh yeah well Mike. I'm glad you joined us. Michael has retired for the evening. That's excellent so. Please tell US wine economists. How did you get that title? While I learned that there was such a thing as a wanted condoms from famous wine me it was a while ago my wife Sue and I were. Newly wits was so long ago that it will not a lot of money alleged valid that's from Washington State California. You're staying in the budget votes. Al spending a lot of money trying not some money on the way back in the last day you're driving up. Silverado trail dishonest name. I knew more about wines then recognize the name of a winery famous for judgment of Paris. For right that's only golden for one last eastern walk through the big redwood doors and there was celery and the widening by no more widely known. It was James. I didn't also this. You know eat poured. The full outwards bottles began to talk seniors along the twenty seven of will swirling without sewing songs working on that asking these questions. He learned that I was a communist. Suddenly he began to ask me. The researchers in all rates are moving up interest rates raking one offering the sentence and really made a difference because his business capital investment involved. What on the vineyards signs of really wanted to know when these winds were ready with the economy there humor's gear them situation. Having in the economy I knew out would affect weather is wine smoke. Could you terms of making an investment? Barrels his fourth. Or what you might have a got back to our budget. Donald Santa Rosa there. I sat down veges learns. Why need notice that why aren't in grass and science business excellently bike? You know I would just say given that vines on average take seven years to mature if not longer people in the wine business plan really for the long-term we're we're talking seven years out. It's not like this year sneaker style. It's like decisions you make today will affect your bottom line. Seven Ten fifteen twenty years from now. I don't know if you've found this in your travels but I think that's often why family businesses do well in the wind industry. I know there's been a lot of corporate takeovers and so on consolidation but still families who look to that long-term the economics. I think work in their favor if they are always looking at that. Long-term vision was exactly right in fact one of the chapters in around the world in eighty winds the chapter on Australia Hawks about the unexpected importance of family businesses. And some of the reasons are why that might in case. You're exactly right when you look at other industries the same size of wool industries. They're not as dominated by business as wine industry. That's for sure. Well this is the most fun kind of economics I've ever encountered taught economics with a glass of wine. Exactly exactly I love that. I didn't MBA but it was like economics. Never this fund. Mike Okay. So let's do a little bit of background storytelling before we dive into your books. You're fantastic books with the best titles. Ever that I've heard of let's start with Newbie. Take us to the worst moment of your wine career. Let's start there and then go. We'll go low them. We'll go. Hi Turning bottom how. Well I am fortunate and I haven't had any tragedies I'm winemakers. Why haven't washed event as something terrible like that happen? I think maybe the worst personal woman was with embarrassing painful. This years ago and a logo amateur winemakers decided at host. The charity events raise money for charity we can. They asked me if I would be wine. Judge and I'm not a professional Easter. You should have asked you but but said the ask me. So it was great judge and amateur winemakers in our team of judges. We tasted everything why they mean back in tasted slower and when we announced winner for example why we chose is the best. This was embarrassing for the best. Wine wasn't he didn't meet at a great use of fish. Yes Ya tasted like a mall. Vcr RESIGNED WAY IT was head and shoulders better than the other wines but people looked at us like. We didn't really know what we'd do it. I can imagine not painful. The painful part came that night. All the judges not horribly sick of those amateur winemaking wine must've had a bacterial and so we all got was using Johnson. The night voice now. Simo worse moment. Wow that's pretty low. That's my gosh. Judging a homemade wine competition you are a brave man Vin. So let's go. Hi that what has been the highlight of your wine career. Sohar at a lot of great moments interesting. A book reviewer when started a review this as everyone should be as lucky as my visa nice? Why did he say that? I'm happy with what I'm doing my best moment. I think it was back in two thousand thirteen now is invited to South Africa. You've speech at something called net. Herbert okay they never gotcha network is a winery and wash the have an auction once a year and the shoes older vintages from the best of the south there have been wineries. People come in the idea. Is that most people. Never have a chance to taste So the jury east things in auction Retailers and distributors and so forth from around world is what gets the best of South Africa wine out where people can tasted appreciate and every year the one species I I got to give the speech and it was interesting that so guard. Your friend learn everything I could about. South Africa's got to the end of the speech are wanted Cover it said. People stood up sheared. All is great and the thing they loved is that I wasn't telling them you know this is what you need to do. Such that at the end of it I suggested to them. The winds were great. They were Are and they're with the needed to do to try to draw in. The rest of the world wines is to do with it you best. Which is something. That's a South Africa. Is it a barbecue or barbecue? Yeah it is. Though the uniting force in South Africa that black and white and Indian and indigenous everybody in South Africa gets together to join BRI. Their national unity is actually ride. I think the idea that I would be saying the the senior that brings you together is the thing that can help you. The Rizal with white wines buys red wines. Everyone likes barbecue. It was moving motive. That is yeah. You remember that you remember the things at touchy deeply. That you feel deeply riot also reminds me up the Argentine equivalent of Assad pronouncing that medically but yeah very cool so Mike. Let's go now to perhaps the most memorable thing someone has said about your writing. You've said something that was really interesting but is there anything else you wanted to add to that. Because I know won. Lots of awards. Was He into moving thing? There's a why nigger in south France. The Carl feely G. R. Renzo Wind School and she writes books about her experience. Her newest one is all lasts. Half full she asked me to ride a boat. Learn from one of your books on the back of coverage so I asked right one four one in DC wines complicated so she sent me the word and in the words. She said that she laughed out. Loud it's some of the things I said that and then in the text of the email that went along she shouldn't also meet her cry. L. In a major cry because although she's living in France cheese originally says South aggregating niches richly from declined. Peru is wonderful China remote areas south effort and money tasted wine ends in the Klein crew with Shulin. I in the back of pickup truck. Going to a BRI with the stars above us. She said that my description of that journey at the end of the bigger so homesick knows cry and of course again that that touches me because the thing that I might lose the next with someone that way that closely is eve already painted a picture to in the back of a pickup truck and the stars and everything else. It's being there. It's taking us. They are with that imagery. That's just lovely. Let's chat about your books. Would you like to start with your most recent one? Mike sure so. This is around the world in eighty one wines excellent so we know around the world in eighty days classic book. So what is your take on this? What's the concept with the organizing principle if you will for the longest time I have been fascinated by books that take the reader on journey although the idea of this is is it? You're following the author through this and discovering something about world is seems to me that you're always really interested in finding out of yourself round world as Gulliver's travels and Jonathan Ravens Rory and Mark Twain's travel bookstore all around this fascinating and x one point. Ibn Realized that shoe and I. We're on a journey to discovering things about wine. War Fascinated inspired by Jules Verne decided to meet his journey and to see the extent journey. Weedon taking a nap on it. So for example his journey begins in London at a place called the Reform Club Hassle. Our journey begins in London. Three blocks away at a wine shop. All your brothers run. Oh that's famous Atlanta's Hawaiian for four hundred years. 's for the start in the end points and follows PHILEAS FOGG. Jules Verne Hero to France in Italy but then why this complicated. Phileas FOGG has to begin as fast as he can era world and I'm more interested with humilating stores. And this is the big differences that round the world in eighty days was designed to be this story of men verses immenent technology versus nature distance in someone overcome the challenges of moving quickly around the world. Ecological reme- memes. Sorta stop and think what is it. I'm trying to find out about wine in the world and I ended up on the question of why why. Why Wine Sore Why does motivate excite inspire people around the world doing this? I don't have to cover this. I have to accumulate stories that reveals some truth about the Horton significance. Wine and people to their communities. Families. Love the concept. I love that following the footsteps of Classic Journey Classic Novel. It's fantastic but rate organizing principle. Because you do need that to hold together the narrative. How long did it take you to write this book? A little over a year of actually dividing the book done part of that. Is that as we travel. I record a lot of my thoughts and so for on my blog. Winick ON WINE DOT COM. When economists started off as a way for me to have this exchange with people so I could try out ideas incident trying using academic papers trying out ideas out in the open so that people could criticize them suggestions and so forth so a lot of the writing of the ideas had been developed. A Matter of sitting down in that people process actually getting words on screen. Yes absolutely so you. You treated your log or your website. The WINE ECONOMIST. Dot Com almost like a pure review site the way Contribute and say okay. You need to look at this refined this. This question is unanswered. That's fantastic that you worked really well. Because if I've got a good idea I learned about it if I've got an idea. People who movement if as often happens I have a terrible idea. I find out about that. He's very quickly. Yes as DO I. I have a group that a call wine lovers for better grammar and they will tell me. Every time I've got a dangling participle or a comma misplaced a raging debate about the Oxford Comma. Anyway that's going down a rabbit hole. How would you describe a value wine? Mike Oh I have a collie purely. He's he's French. And when he and his wife Cindy House and go a wine tasting events with me. Here's what they do. They go around and then they taste the wine in go right down. eighty nine points or the write down how much they would be willing to pay for. I love that then the look to see and if if the price is less than what they had thought hey so I call it. The isn't worth it. I love that. That's brilliant awesome. I'm GonNa do that now. How much would I pay for this X. Slid one times when even though the price is very high you taste one Wa Priceless exactly exactly. A people are always looking for that they do. Qpr The quality price ratio in the even aside Still Exists. That does that for Quality. They take the score which is an approximation unrelated to the price. But I love that concept. Of How much would I pay for this? I love that I love it. Where would you point us to as a wine economist for the best wine values these days? So you're a great wine values from a lot of places. It's a matter of of searching them out and increasingly looking looking relaxed expecting them wines. From chilly for example renoirs from Chile have a reputation for very good down. I talk about in the book. It's almost curse is. He would like to know that chalet likely to remove rate once and re values tend to think of them as the values with the South African ones not not that many of the markets of them are. Sir stunningly delicious. You absolutely. I've come across some recently by that tastes like almost like a Bordeaux and I've been recommending them. There's like twenty five bucks. In case like a even a second third growth Bordeaux it's like wow and many of them have had their tutelage embargo. It's unbelievable value coming out of there and the refinement and yet it's a South African signature. That aren't one wouldn't be put in a plug for Washington state wants yes plays because Washington state There is a reason why. Allah for wine wineries are now investing more Washington wines. That will mind you of a Napa valley wine but it has or through the bryce right absolutely okay. So let's get back to your books. Is there anything else you wanNA tell us about around the world in eighty wines? It's your newest book. We can talk about some of your other books but is there something else you WanNa say about that one before we sort of talk about the other ones while it just didn't for me is an account of what is really seems to be a fascinating journey. An opportunity to think about all different ways wines affect people in effect world all around the world. I will say that this is at. He's your for your your viewers here that in around the world e days Jules Verne has surprised ending twist you arrives in London. And he thinks he's lost. Discover that through some twists fate. He has not lost it all. So so it's fiery by that roundworm wines also has surprise twist which I provided not only imaging verge but also make it possible for every meter matter. What their wind is the two away satisfied with that? You read the book. Wait for the wait for so to begin again at the beginning to know that place for the first time Lord Alfred Tennyson but you know to journey through our senses to the worldwide. This sounds like this is your book and then to come back again more knowledgeable and yet to know that sensory experience for the first time I oh I need to dig into that. Oh my goodness around the world for eighty wines. I talked about and move. Oh and I called Nouveau a black Friday. Why because it's a discount. I think it's in Canada to meet. Is that the that if a retailer genucel enough. They'll be in the blacks of the whole year. It's channel they can't sell enough. We're going to go in the red and the longest time would you vote. Was that Black Friday wind from one point more than half of all those ones for vote sell all of those in and they sold a higher price. Bozo in all of those in the black for a whole year. It's definitely cash. Flow crop jumped Cash flow exactly. Yeah I like that. So some of your books will all of them actually have intriguing titles money tasting wine it's complicated. What was the concept of that one versus around the world? This began with the idea that in an economist might be able to talk a little bit consumers about how economists would buy wine the honest about and so example. The very first chapter is called a wine drinkers. Biggest will stay You know what that is. Tell US pricing quality. Care all right there now in so I talk a little bit Ian here about some of the research about how that's the case and why that's the case. And how can we all sorts of errors out the friends that will go to supermarket wine? The look for opposed shelf. Parker's Yup those with the points on them at some points. But I have friends that what the look for is the biggest workout twenty dollars. You twelve dollars dash and so they look at the top over this. Wow that must be really good wine and then look bottom. Number is but they sold the car light is he looking for used heart at said regularly twenty thousand dollars but for you owe twelve thousand. You will say what's wrong with my friends. Who when they see that. It's like trout going after allure sauce from New and part of the price of what to expect. I guess a little research suggests is when you see a price the rain first of all as always way too busy. You're always muggy basking in. They're always short so when it sees the price than it knows. The higher price ought to be justified by higher quality so it begins to program in expectation of higher folly when we did these awful awful because I be ones awful. Mri Studies will be consumers in Tube in your mouth wine and the stuff yes told him that it was the scene wind. We told them it was like a twelve dollar wine. Or The little part of the brain that shows happiness Lou bit but then a little later when they told him it was one hundred online. Seen why is it only actually actually were chemically? Money does actually buy happiness images since so. Why do we fall for this sale? Deal thing in wine and not on cars. Why don't we look at the wine? That's on down go. What's wrong with that wind or do well? I think there are consumers that responding different ways to for example I think part of it is that in other things. Many of the things that we buy we have experienced with. We'd be in a supermarket through two thousand wines and you don't really know what's in that bottle or even a fine wine you don't really know that Gideon sure so you're you're working in the dark more war in a lot of other consumer goods so all of this. Little bit of information was very influential. You've gotten overcome this idea. The press is getting more information. That's great I always say there's a reason we don't have orange juice critics right. That's right that's right or you know in my soup. Orcas AROUND HERE. They will often have a carpet. Lurks around to help make decisions awhile. Wine Steward now. Appoint UP Actually have milk stewards. No exactly this now and saying by that cabbage versus that when you find money to wind started off as this and then it talks about the help. People Guide people through how to think about buying wine in restaurants or or whether to invest in wines in the later chapters Begin to think of all the different places where money in eastern Wine IS WINE. Were involved than the united money changes everything all right so let us turn now. I can't believe how fast this is gone. Which is a testament to how interesting you are right. What I'm calling the lightning round ABC. All right so these are a series of questions and short answers because we just love getting tips and advice as we come to the finish line here. So what is the best piece of advice you ever received my Lola soft? Trust okay wet. Snow one thing you are wrong about. Perhaps as it relates to wine. I've been wrong about a lot affi but one thing that I think I was wrong about that. A lot of other people were. It's court closures. Think a dozen years ago. I wrote off court Gap's getting better in the synthetics will so forth but the amount of research Shan and change that there's been done in order to improve or closures. Now if you've got a helix screw in now. Yeah Okay Google Helix Court in okay so it solves you the net last farm now core exchange even less expensive for is virtually eliminated orcas back and because it's a natural product. I'm glad it's back. I have nothing against the other things so I run off or not knowing not appreciating how much for cruises would we invest to resolve their errors and almost people love for. I am glad to hear that. I need to reexamine my own misperceptions hangover perceptions of Cork. Thank you for that. What's the most useful gadget you've ever come across? I'm not a big fan of gadgets. Xiaomi is but if a friend of mine earlier this year showed me some Gizmo where you give one bottle and British thing it grass upside down. Something will work out gross. I back over the one does that mean regional wasn't very expensive and I get as the difference so I've got a gadget. If you could share a bottle of wine with any person outside of the Wine World Living Dad who would that be? Also one Lou. I'll maybe Wayne. Because he will some of these places or or Jules Verne Joel's S. I think that would be excellent. You could put up a billboard in downtown Toronto Seattle wherever what would it say? Oh well visits Toronto. It's easy again. Hugh A. Wines many Great Ones Ontario and and I I'd love to see that the that industries Fantastic and finally. What's the most interesting question you've ever been asked because I'm collecting them? The most interesting question. I guess it must be this one because this okay. So that's sort of circular but that's fine that's great okay. Mic as we wrap up our conversation. Is there anything we have not covered? That you'd like to mention right now. I just want to see how much I have enjoyed this. Thank you so much and so how can people best find you online? Well you go to wind. Economists DOT COM. Yep Right to me Mike at Winding okay. Are you on twitter as well? I WANNA witter at White Visa. Excellent Mike this has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for all of the insider tips. There's so many good to take away do myself from you. Know How much would I pay for this wine to look again at court? The whole gamut. It's been very valuable. Thank you so much for your insights by down Mike. Well there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this chap with Mike. Be Seth here. Are My takeaways number one. I admire how Mike makes wine economics accessible even to the extent that he changed his first name to be more approachable to readers to it's great how Mike structured his book after Jules Verne's novel around the world in eighty days even down to starting just a few blocks away from where the character Phileas fogg started in London England three unlike many other products even agricultural ones wine has a unique planning cycle given that vines don't mature for seven years on average that necessary long-term perspective is why there are so many family run wineries number four. Mike Describes Beaujolais Nouveau as a black Friday wine. When vintners get the cash they need from the harvest he also makes a great point that Chile being known for value is both a blessing and a curse. The latter because low prices aren't always associated with high quality and that makes launching premium labels far more challenging number five. I want to avoid the biggest mistake. Mike says we make mistaking price for quality. When it comes to wine it's fascinating. Mri Studies show the brain lighting up for happiness when subjects are told that the wine is more expensive and number six. I'm definitely playing that game. Of How much would you pay for this wine with myself and others to get a greater appreciation of the value of different wines? If you like this episode please tell a friend about it especially one who's interested in the fascinating wine value tips? Mike shared. You'll find links to Mike's website books. Social media handles the video version of this conversation. And how you can join me next week on facebook live in the show notes at Natalie Maclean Dot com forward slash sixty four. Finally IF YOU WANNA learn why red wine shouldn't always be your default pairing for many cheeses. Join me in a free online video class at Natalie MacLean dot com forward slash class. You won't WanNa miss next week when we'll be chatting with. Paul may who says the wine industry must adapt to social media and new technology or face digital darwinism dumped on ball. Find out what that means and the implications for you as a wine drinker next Wednesday. Thank you for taking the time to join me here. I hope something great is in your glass this week. Perhaps a wine that tastes twice as expensive as it costs. You don't WanNa miss one juicy episode of this podcast especially the secret full body. Bonus episodes that I don't announce on social media so subscribe for free now at Natalie MacLean dot com forward slash subscribe. Db here next week here's.