July 2009

Have we improved with age?

by Stuart Harrison on July 7, 2009

The U.S. soccer program got a boost recently at the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa. There, the USA soccer team beat Spain, considered by many to be the best soccer team in the world. Coincidentally, the soccer program in the US began to seriously ramp-up about the same time as the fine-wine business. I have been fortunate enough to witness their simultaneous ascent. It has been an exciting run for both.
What do our vinous and soccer successes have in common? At the end of the day, there’s an underlying “pursuit of excellence” in this country that impacts both. It’s present in much of what we do and how we think. Whether on a soccer ‘pitch’ or in the wine cellar, we have a genuine desire to do better, to learn and improve. And don’t overlook the increasing sophistication, enthusiasm and size of our ‘fans’. In both wine and soccer, there’s a wonderful pool of passionate and knowledgeable devotees that did not exist 40 years ago. Without them, we could not have come so far, so fast.
Does the U.S. victory against Spain establish the worldwide dominance of U.S. soccer? Of course not… no more than the outcome at the famous Paris tasting meant that our wines were better than their French counterparts. What it does mean, however, is that we are now contenders, able to hold our own with the best of them. And that’s something to cheer about.