Curtis Phillips’ article in the December issue of Wine Business Monthly decries the state of wine research funding in the United States as compared to Australia, with the American Vineyard Foundation’s budget at $1.2 M as compared to Australia’s $23 M, mostly gobbled up by the intrepid Australian Wine Research Institute. As he mentions, our publicly funded research pales beside the proprietary investigations pursued by Gallo’s Jim Peck and other in-house secret fact factories. There can be no doubt that in our country, a public system for addressing the practical needs of small wineries is sadly lacking. By continually coming through with useful, practical findings, AWRI trumps our institutions completely through a clear and well organized commitment to Industry.
But Curtis is focusing on politics rather than economics. One should consider what is the ultimate source of these funds. Who actually cash-rolls Australia’s research? Why, the same folks who pay for Gallo’s research, and also for marijuana research and cocaine research and China’s industrial boom. The American consumer. Give ‘em what they want, and they’ll shell out for it. Not to worry.