Let’s start by saying this: your politics are your own. I”m a firm believer in everyone’s right to vote how they want, and to perceive the world from their own unique perspective. In fact, ultimately, it’s all each of us is capable of doing, since we each inhabit ourselves and ourselves alone. I’m acutely aware that everybody eats, and Feast is here for everyone who eats, whether I agree with them or not. So I have some trepidation posting this link, because I worry that in this polarized time, where I get emails telling me that my serving white gazpacho is somehow a racial and political statement, but this is really more about my business, and the business of people who’ve become dear to me over the years I’ve been working with them. So before you get up in arms over the title of the article, know this: wine tariffs, even thought they’re tariffs on European wines, hurt us all. They hurt restaurants, distributors, retailers and importers, all of whom have already been brought to their knees by circumstance, and who now will feel another shockwave if tariffs are re-upped or even increased.
Here’s the deal: it’s a domino effect. Tariffs increase > importers pay more for the same wine > importers mark up their wine accordingly (but they’re not making any more than they were before,) and sell less as a result > distributors pay more for the same wine > they in turn mark it up like the importers did (again while making no more money from the wine > they sell less as a result > restaurants and retailers pay more > they mark it up > they sell less > you, the end consumer, pay more for the same product > you get less for your money.
But that’s not all. That’s just the supply chain part of the equation. An importer who’s small is suddenly sitting on an inventory that they can’t move, as is a distributor, a restaurant or a retailer, and their capital is suddenly tied up. That lack of liquidity in turn means distributors, restaurants and retailers are now trying to keep their inventory as low as they can, which means small producers that used to have a chance at distribution are now facing distributors who are thinning their portfolios. So there’s less choice, a roadblock to small producers getting distribution, slower sales and higher inventories for everyone. Do that in an industry (or group of industries, really) that’s already been forced to stop selling in some cases and cut their potential sales by a minimum of 50%, and you have a recipe for a really long line at the unemployment office, because not only do those millions of people lose their jobs (15.3 million people in the restaurant industry alone,) but now you have all the people peripheral to restaurants- linen companies, food distributors, tech support, farmers, ranchers, fisherfolk and so on. Then there are the industries peripheral to distributors, importers and producers- shipping, cardboard boxes, glass bottles, corks, labels and what have you. And then the people who make their money from every business who won’t be affected as dramatically, but who’ll feel it for sure: commercial realtors, insurance people, office supplies, utilities and the like. I’m not fooling myself into thinking that a tariff will put all of those (us) people out of work in and of itself, but I will say that it’s not going to help. Champagne was spared again, for the time being, but there are already 25% tariffs in place on German, French and Spanish wines, plus Scotch, and cheese and olives and a whole lot more, and Italy and Austria are in the crosshairs for new tariffs. I’m posting a couple of links, and hoping that with all that explaining, no one will think I’m out to destroy their values, but just trying to protect my business and those of people I love, and to protect you from paying more than you need to for beverage. This article and interview really sum it up well:
And here’s a spot you can go if you’re feeling vocal today:
Or, I suppose, if you’re feeling a different sort of vocal today, you can write back and tell me that I don’t love my country or something along those lines. I’m starting to get used to it, though, so I may just delete or ignore you. I’m a little grouchy today.
On the plus side, I’m also a little chipper today. Yes, you can be grouchy and chipper at once- it’s almost my specialty. Monday was a great day for us- we raised over $20,000 in a seat-of-the-pants zoom dinner attended by 165 people, since we couldn’t do our normal Primavera Cooks dinner for the Primavera Foundation. Yes, it looked a bit stilted, but I like to think that was part of its charm, and if you want to take a peek at any of it- it’s about two hours long, so if you watch the whole thing, you must be REALLY bored- here’s a link.
We also had a nice turnout for Bastille Day yesterday, which I find especially encouragihttps://www.eatatfeast.com/dining/menus/lunch-dinner/ng since it came right on the heels of the Primavera dinner and people still seemed to want something substantial on their plate. We did prep a little heavy, so there are still a few specials today with a French bent- my personal fave: that duck liver flan with caramel vinegar sauce, after a culinary hero of mine, Jean-Louis Palladin. You can find the menu, with those specials, here, and you can order any or all of it by calling 326-9363.
And if, after reading and watching all that stuff, you need a beer, consider joining us for this Saturday’s not wine but beer and cider tasting.
Graham Haverfield is a bright and knowledgeable sort, and it’s sure to be fun. And couldn’t we all use a little fun about now? I know I could.
Your grouchy but chipper friend,