This article (“The story of a French winemaking dynasty” in National Post) caught my eye and made me think about both wine and our concept of “old.”
First, wine. Perrin & Fils is now a 5th generation family-owned company. I like the analogy between the company’s three lines of wine and the fashion industry — outlet, ready to wear, haute couture. Perrin also isn’t ashamed to say that some of its wines have screw caps, notably the everyday wines that consumers can enjoy now, without aging.
Consumers aren’t buying less wine during this recession. They’re buying less expensive wines in a search for value. It’s as though people everywhere are rediscovering that price is not a foolproof indicator of quality. It’s about time. (A limited number of wines are worth a premium price because of the sensory and memory experience they deliver, but that’s a very short list.)
Second, our concept of “old.” Perrin & Fils, despite its 5 generations, is only 100 years old. Even in the tech industry, that’s younger than NCR (National Cash Register, founded in 1884 and acquired by AT&T in 1991). Google is only about 10 years old and Microsoft is in its 20s. The oldest living company still existence is a 1,209-year-old hotel in Japan that has been run by the same family for 46 generations.
I’m not so sure what that says about us today, where old and disposable is sometimes defined in terms of minutes. Instant gratification brought us into this recession. Maybe it’s time we (myself included) all re-learned patience and perseverance.