The wine industry attracts eccentrics the way cliffs attract lemmings. Nothing else explains the way that otherwise intelligent people throw themselves headlong into a space whose defining characteristic is free-fall. After all, even the most cursory examination of the ground immediately below shows a landscape littered with the parched bones and rotting carcasses of those who have gone before them. For those who need the investment, persuading people of means (and besotted with wine) that they need to put it into a foundering wine business brings to mind the nonsensical expression “as easy as falling off a log”. Falling off a log is easy; avoiding injury while doing so requires a degree of skill. But here’s the thing. Very few of these enterprises go to the wall. Just as surprisingly, many of the punters who’ve exchanged their hard-earned loot for equity in a wine farm would happily do it all over again, despite balance sheets painted in red, and good money turned into sometimes me...

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