Monday, August 19, 2013

Faulty wine & funny money & the irresponsibility of the wine trade

Chapter One

It all began so simply. In London, one day in January 2014, the wine writers Tom Nutkin, Albert Joshua and the superstar German winemaker Dr Titan were having lunch with Nicholas Interr of Interr Brush &  Rod, when the conversation turned to the plight of the independent wine retailer in the face of competition from supermarkets. Then Joshua brought up the idea of “local currencies” like Berkshares in Massachusetts in the US, and The Lewes Pound  in Sussex in the UK. Both of these are currencies that have been devised to encourage people to give their custom to shops and businesses in their local area. What if the wine world introduced its own money? People who bought their wine from an independent retailer could be given rewards of one kind or another to encourage them to return. The currency might even help growers in some way… The idea caught the four men’s imagination and before long they were casting around for a name for it. Nutkin’s first suggestion was “Plonc”, combining “plonk” with the sound of the late-lamented “franc”. Titan came up with Winegeld while Joshua’s best shot was WiRos. Whatever the name, the challenge lay in the technical challenges of creating a new currency, and it was at this point that Joshua remembered a banker he’d once met on a plane. What was his name? Ivo or Ivor something…