As February comes to a close, we are settling into a pretty busy year. For wine enthusiasts in both the US and Europe, 2020 got off to a less than savory start. In a demonstration against the European Union, the Trump Administration started the year off by threatening to put an insane 100% tariff on all European wine. Cacophonous uproar reverberated from country to country with this threat of what would essentially be a wine doomsday. Not only would it cut jobs and be devastating to the wine business itself, but the tariff was also an unfair method of revenge against people who really didn’t deserve it. Where the Trump administration intended to punish Airbus for a dispute over unfair subsidies imposed by the European government.
Plus, people in the wine business were still recovering from the burn of a 25% tariff, which was already imposed in mid-October of last year. Several French wine producers have already declared bankruptcy as a result. The threat of a 100% tariff brought forth a plethora of companies and organizations that have voiced their opposition. Their points, which are extremely fair, is that the retaliatory tariff would cost thousands of people their jobs and completely destroy small businesses or family-owned businesses. Despite the divide between Europe and America which set the Trump Administration’s wheels in motion in the first place, this tariff debacle is actually bringing them together on the same side.
When American’s realized that their $8 bottle of wine could potentially jump to $16, American wine lovers began to side with Europe in a way that was just short of a french kiss. Nobody enjoys increasing prices when there’s no direct financial benefit. And the damage, of course, would ripple across the big pond in a huge way. Restaurateurs, consumers, and retailers alike would feel that burn over here in America. And, when someone begins messing with our simple pleasures, Americans fight back. Could America really shoot its own foot in such a way just to get back at someone? However, luckily (we’ll use that term loosely), the 100% tariff was not imposed and the 25% tariff remained on French, Spanish, and German still wines under 14% alcohol. It seems that the US government is kicking the can on this issue, but not before sending the wine community into a frenzy. The frenzy, however, was not for nothing. The tariff would have meant a devastating loss for honest, hardworking businesses that had nothing to do with the Airbus situation. As wine lovers ourselves, we don’t think those people deserve to be collateral over a game of revenge. It is a lesson in appreciating what we do have, for now. Wine, being the blood that ties America to Europe, is something that is worth fighting for. It’s a luxury and not a given at this point. While we can, we should raise a glass and savor each drop!