Apologies to linguistic pedants for the Franglais title, but will the French ever learn? Decanter has a news story on its site featuring recent comments from Robert Beynat, the CEO of Vinexpo, among them ‘The internet is not the right medium for the sale of wines and spirits, it is not a real alternative to traditional sales circuits and will never reach more than around 8% of the market.’ The plethora of comments on the post all indicate that I’m not the only one who thinks that Monsieur Beynat is talking out of derrière. While it’s good to see that a number of them are from France, it’s yet another example of how the French wine trade seems to take particular delight in flaunting its Luddite tendencies. Reminds me of a post I did a couple of years ago on the cru bourgeois classification system- read it here.
‘Please Simon, don’t assume all French people to be so out of touch,’ one of my UK-based French friends said to me this morning, after I’d posted something on Facebook about the Decanter piece. And my mind went back two years to a cellar in Chile, and a conversation with a passionate, opinionated and proactive French winemaker. I said that I found him extremely open-minded for a Frenchman. His reply? ‘Why do you think I am here, and not in France?’