Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

In Vino Veritas: Old Wine Markets in New Global Economic Battles

William M. Hawley


Wine markets have supported regional cultures and international alliances for centuries. Renaissance diplomatic and dramatic language refers to French markets, not economies, extending globally from Bordeaux to the Far East. Yet Shakespeare invents our representation of the global economy’s ill- gotten gains and predatory speculation in wine (and other) markets. Prince Hal leverages the very wine market that he derides obsessively into a narrative of sin and redemption. Hal consummates his narrative by rejecting Falstaff, whom he identifies as an earthly Bacchus. But Burgundy’s pragmatic representation of the excellence of viniculture in Henry V fits the paradigm of sustainable marketplaces in part because the symbolism of fine wine is universally esteemed. Today’s economic crisis proves that the quasi-Hegelian idea of an ethical economy cannot be attained through financial interdependence alone. Moreover, it validates the Renaissance narrative that responsible wine markets improve with age.

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