Most wine-makers — if given the choice — would prefer to work in a tiny production environment, writes Michael Fridjhon IN WINE, the concept of "big is beautiful" appeals to the more commercial producers and their shareholders. The obvious benefits, economies of scale, reduced dependence on single-site grape sources (where weather and vine disease can have a catastrophic effect on the year’s revenue) and the security of a large, professional wine-making team are regarded as essential in a more corporate environment. But at the top end of the consumer market, "small is beautiful" reigns. Even in the Medoc, where the estates are generally significantly larger than in most other high-profile French appellations, this rule holds sway. The Bordeaux right bank regions of Pomerol and St Emilion have generally smaller sites. Accordingly, the top wines — Petrus, Le Pin and Cheval Blanc, for example — fetch substantially more: here, absolute shortage plays the key role.In Burgundy, where the ...

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