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American Wine Economics: An Exploration of the U.S. Wine Industry    by James Thornton order for
American Wine Economics
by James Thornton
Order:  USA  Can
University of California, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

If you have more than a passing interest in wine, this is a book you'll want to read. James Thornton doesn't recommend the best vintages nor does he explain how to care for a vineyard or make award winning wine.

What he does, though, is provide plenty of information on wine economics. As he explains in the book's introduction, 'This book focuses on the organization, structure, and institutional features of the wine industry in the United States, and on how U.S. grape growers, wine producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers interact and behave in the market for wine.'

Reading about the ins and outs of the wine industry, from the vineyard to the retailer, will provide insights for not only growers, wine makers and distributors but also the general consumer.

Granted, there will be times where the text may be a little too dry (read overly detailed with numbers) for the layman, but if that happens I'd just recommend skipping ahead a few pages.

There is something in this book for everyone. You might be interested in the author's observations about how wine quality is determined and the affect of pricing, expert ratings and supply on the marketplace.

Other readers will want to know more about the international market for wine and how a handful of global companies control a large portion of the wine sector.

In the sections on growing, production, and distribution, a variety of issues are addressed from the trade-off between grape yield, cost and quality and supply-and-demand issues to the ways bulk wine, private label and alcohol content affect the marketplace.

Thornton cites a number of studies that address how wine quality and price relate to issues such as consumer behavior, the influence of wine critics and 'the informational efficiency of the wine market'.

No matter your reason for opening this book, if you decide to read it you'll be much more knowledgeable when it comes to understanding the economics of wine. Having a glass of your favorite wine on the table as you plow through this book will probably make digesting the information a tad easier. It worked for me!

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