Half a century after the 1973 Bordeaux wine market crash, the wine producers of France’s best-known red wine region are again staring into the abyss. History is said to repeat itself, and while there is much about the present crisis that has a sonorous ring of past events to it, much is different.

Fifty years ago, war in the Middle East provoked a major worldwide financial crisis: over 1973/74 the Dow Jones lost 45% of its value. This coincided with a series of Bordeaux wine trade scandals and followed a number of mediocre — but over-priced — vintages. These are not the factors at play today: the Dow is at its highest level yet. The reputations of the major producers are unimpeachable. Their wine quality has never been better...

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