10 things you need to know about Greek wine!

With a cousin in Greece, I’m following the crisis with trepidation. Here is a way in which we can all help that battered country. Btw to those who believe the Greek population brought it on themselves, that is like saying, the South African population built Nkandla and put the illegal e-tolls in place, and is encouraging Eskom not to do any maintenance on its power stations so that we can have load shedding.

The Wine Wankers

wine wankers new wines of greece greek wines 2I recently attended a two day Greek wine roadshow and masterclass in Sydney where the Greeks showcased their wine under the banner of “New Wines of Greece”. Talk about bad timing though, it was held right as the recent crisis hit the poor buggers back home. I tried hard not to mention the situation because I could tell they were struggling with it all unfolding while they were away. I did chuckle at someone joking that they’d be paying for wine in Greek drachmas by the time they got home. Whoops, sorry.

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14 thoughts on “10 things you need to know about Greek wine!

  1. On the other hand, isn’t it also true that people get the government they deserve? Have you read about all the corruption, outrageous pensions, etc. in Greece? The average Greek pension is MUCH higher than an Italian one and most people retire in Greece at age 50 or so! Who can afford that? Tax evasion in Greece make Italians look like model citizens. It isn’t fair to paint the more fiscally responsible countries as responsible for the Greek problem. I read somewhere that when Greece entered the EU they completely invented their statistics, i.e., they didn’t fudge them a little – they MADE THEM UP! You couldn’t expect the EU to go to a sovereign nation and check up on its accounting. You may be right that the Greek people didn’t bring this on themselves, but they certainly had a hand in it and regardless of who is at fault, they have to pay the price. This has happened in Italy, too. Also, the poorer nations who were once on the Greek’s side in this matter, have disassociated themselves from them and have little sympathy for the plight of the Greeks. They feel, rightly so, that THEY had to suffer to put things right so why should Greece get off the hook? It’s a complicated issue and we shouldn’t assume that big old bad Germany, the banks, etc., are trying to bankrupt Greece. Also, to show you what a mess their politics are, the newly-elected Greek politicians have flip-flopped various times. Their head of government even tried to blackmail the EU with that referendum. Cheeky, no? It didn’t work, thank heavens. Yes, Greece is the fount of modern civilization but that was 2500 years ago – what have they accomplished since except nearly bringing down the whole European Union? They should start focusing on having something to be proud of NOW. They are going to have to clean up their act. Believe me, I am sorry that the Greek people have to suffer and hope that the EU finds a way to make reform more palatable, even forgiving part of the debt, but reforms must be made and that begins at the bottom as well as the top.

  2. “isn’t it also true that people get the government they deserve?”

    Yes, but it isn’t true simply of Greece. We all get the government we deserve, and as long as we all (in the UK, the USA, SA, etc. etc. etc.) continually and willingly participate in a system in which we shuffle around, once every few years, the professional politicians whose sole task is to massage capitalism, kidding ourselves it’s democracy at work, we will all get the governments we deserve.

    • Specifically our “populace” mindlessly voting ANC again, and again, and again, and then moaning about Nkandla. Our “populace” will of course never ever vote for a white-headed party because there is no trust. Even a mixed party is met with distrust. So yes, in the case of SA, 90% of our populace get exactly what they voted for – another African kingdom… and the other 10% have a choice of shutting up or leaving, but where to?

  3. I can’t correct you on your opinion, if you truly feel that people deserve international bankers gambling away their money, then the (bank-bought) government bailing out the banks over their protests, and the very people whose money was in that bank, having to dock up for the loan the government took. If you feel that is fair, you’re also likely to feel that Mugabe’s population deserves him, and that Stalin was deserved by the Russians…

    The monkey theatre that parades as democratic voting is so laughably, obviously rigged that there isn’t even a point in participating in it. Let’s not even go where vote stats can be very easily rigged, and if the auditor, too, is bought over, then nobody has any control over this. If you get 3 candidates to choose from, the one is a murderer, the next a serial rapist and the third a – a – viola player, sheesh – no point in ticking a box at all!

  4. I don’t know the situation in South Africa and indeed from what you say, it sounds pretty dire. I do know that the Greek governments borrowed money which was then supposed to been used to invest in the economy to create jobs, but instead they used it to literally divide the wealth (can’t call this capitalism!), i.e., invent government jobs, pay outrageous salaries and pensions, impose low or no taxes at all, while fudging the statistics to stay in the EU. Didn’t it occur to anyone that this was total folly? That this false economy would come crashing down around their ears sooner or later? I mean, if you engage in what Greeks call an “arduous profession” (like a hairdresser, for example), and can retire at age 50 with an average pension of 1,500 euros per month, wouldn’t you wonder how the government can maintain this tenor of life? Greece is a small country with a history of democracy and I give the Greek people credit for being intelligent enough to realize that they cannot thumb their noses at the rest of Europe (note that the reforms passed in the Parliament) and not take responsibility for the egregious excesses of the past which they also benefitted from. Nobody likes austerity, but to get our economic houses in order, it is sometimes necessary. Twenty years ago the Italians raised the minimum retirement age for ALL professions. Now everyone has to work until 65 1/2 years of age and many even longer. And our pensions are lower. The Germans have to work until 67 years of age – as do Americans who are slightly younger than I am. (I, for one, will probably have to work until I am 70. Do the rest of us in the EU have to work even longer to support the Greek pension system as it is?) This doesn’t mean that Italy doesn’t have problems (believe me, it does) but it is trying to face them. BTW, I don’t recall anyone voting for Stalin or even Mugabe (in a recent honest election) so any comparisons to them are specious. As for rigged elections, I don’t know which ones you are referring to, but I have never heard of this in modern western Europe and certainly not in the States since the 1960 presidential election in (and only in) Chicago. That was 55 years ago. I am sorry that things are not going well In South Africa and I certainly don’t intend that you, personally – or even I – deserve our present governments, but a whole population of people which is living in a false economy will have to face the fact sooner or later that “there is no free lunch,” as we say in the States.

    p.s who’s the viola player you’re referring to – I’d vote for her even with such charming competitors!

    • Well, I was thinking of me (viola player)… but the thought of who I’d be surrounded by gives me the shivers, getting cold feet here. 😉 Drummers, I mean, for crying in a bucket, and tenors

      Mugabe was elected democratically (about 200 years back), as was Zuma. The fact that now they simply refuse to stand down has nothing to do with it – the elections were “democratic”. It goes a bit like this: ANC gets the whole state coffers to fund their next campaign. They offer people on the streets a T-shirt and a tin of noodles-2-go, free hand-outs; they release the “prisoners” (we’re talking, convicted criminals) because those “also have a right to vote”; they issue free and fast SA citizenship documents to anyone who wants to come in from the north – easy, see? Whereas the opposition, the DA, makes promises of uninterrupted electricity, running water to more households, fewer squatter camps & more brick houses, education… whoosh over the heads of the bridge-dwellers, illegal immigrants and released convicts because they couldn’t care what benefits others will have. Yup, democracy indeed. Then it comes to voting day, and a child wonders what all those dumped ballots with the DA marks on them are doing in rubbish bins outside the school (voting stations usually in school buildings). Next, ballots are counted, and we watch on TV: “14:00, 5873 votes ANC, 2843 for DA… 14:30: 7093 for ANC, 2341 for DA” … we’ve seen it all!

      I could regale you with a lot more monkey theatre… but I really enjoy this country despite all the fun and games. Based on this I find it really hard to imagine any country where votes are not rigged, even just a little, electronically…

      If the hairdresser gets a state pension that high, that is indeed suspect. People here fall into 2 classes: Those that work and those that don’t. The former include self-employed people and the 1 in 5 in every company that does everyone else’s job. The latter include… everyone else. But pensions are usually paid out in a lump sum by the company that you worked for, not by the state (unless you worked for the state), and they are as a standard 40% or less of your last working income. There’s no way someone with a low-income job would get a lucrative pension.

      As for the bankers & govt in Greece, I guess they “redistributed the wealth” mainly to themselves, as per usual. This is nothing new in Africa either.

  5. Dear me, you may be right about some vote fiddling in Europe and America, but I haven’t heard of any in recent years. Whenever something like that did come up it was a huge scandal.

    It doesn’t sound like SA has much of a future. Even in Italy where we are pretty well off compared to many other places, young people are leaving in droves for places that will give them more career opportunities, like Australia (step-son), for example. Also the UK, Sweden (and ex-student who is an engineer of some kind there), Germany (an ex-student who is the concert master and soloist of an orchestra there and a teacher). I sent my daughters who were raised here to the USA to study and there they have remained, doing very well, thank you. None of this would have been possible in Italy, unfortunately.

    It’s interesting how one’s experience really colors one’s outlook: An American would assume elections are not rigged while a South African would. We’re a lot more naive, I guess. Anyway, in Greece, with a bloated government payroll, low VAT, enormous tax-evasion, early retirement for almost everyone and the average pension as much as a third higher (and even more in some cases) than any other European country, you can bet that a lot of the redistributed wealth was getting to the populace – which is one reason they are so angry: they want all the benefits of the euro and EU membership, but don’t want to pay the taxes and make the reforms that would make them just like the rest of us. Believe me, most Europeans are highly irritated over the whole thing. So don’t assume that it’s only a case of the banks and the government heads enriching themselves – certainly there is some of that, too – but that the Greek people have become accustomed to a tenor of life that cannot possibly be maintained and they are going to have to lower their expectations. I am only sorry that it is so painful for them. Here, the crisis has hit too and everywhere you go you see small businesses that have gone out of business or are headed in that direction. It’s sad. Now the politicians are telling us that it’s getting better. We’ll see.

    • It sounds pretty dire here but as long as one is either self-employed or employed, it’s actually not that bad. All except the insane violent crime rate. And the infrastructure – that’s scaring us, crumbling pipes, dams losing water due to lack of maintenance, and our monopolous power supplier Eskom’s structures collapsing due to same. Ok, I concede, it is probably pretty dire here.

      Greece – if that is in fact so and the wealth was handed through, then sure, one can understand how the rest of Europe is up in arms. How is Italy holding up under austerity? It doesn’t sound as though austerity really benefits the economy, does it?

  6. It’s better than the country going bankrupt! Look at Ireland – it made horrendous reforms and sacrifices and now everything is going very well. Spain, too. So there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. As I said, everyone else has had to bite the bullet and there’s no avoiding it if they want to be part of Europe. Sigh.

    • I think in the first place it was a misjudgement to form an EU out of financially strong and weak countries. It was headed for conflict from the start.

    • You’re probably right but part of the reason the EU was founded was to prevent another European war (which they seemed particularly prone to) so whom do you leave out? Also, each country is supposed to give the correct statistics which didn’t always happen (Greece, for example) but these things are extremely difficult to control. An imperfect system but it!s what we have and it’s in everyone’s best interest to make it work.

  7. ‘Everyone’?

    Here are some economic facts. I work; my level or work is constant. I need things – food, shelter, etc.; my level of needs is constant. I have no debts. What is the only thing that goes up and down? Money. I have nothing to do with that. I do not cause money to go up and down. I do not cause nations to go into debt. I am like billions and billions and billions of other people around the world who, irrespective of national borders, have constant work levels and needs. And yet the guys in suits, who will NEVER go hungry, say we ALL have to tighten our belts and bite the bullet. That is unacceptable, and it is about time they woke up to the fact that it’s unacceptable. It’s unworkable, and it’s about time they woke up to the fact that it’s unworkable. The evidence is that it’s not working. The way the world is run and shared was not handed down to us by God on tables of stone, even though they talk as though it were.

    Don’t talk to me about ‘idealism’ – this is a realist point of view. And don’t talk to me about the Soviet Union in terms of ‘look at the alternative’ – that is a worn out argument, as the Soviet Union men-in-suits made many of the same mistakes as the other men-in-suits plus some of their own. We’re in the era of ‘zombie capitalism’.

    • Well, the system is working – for the world’s billionaires. Seeing that they are the ones who are setting up, manipulating and milking the money system, of course it works – for them.

      You nailed it so accurately! And whether you are one of the billions with steady needs and steady work, or one of the other billions with varying needs (e.g a bit unpredictable which school suddenly wants a whole new outfit for which child) and a varying income, it doesn’t even really matter: If you’re matching your income to your needs, why should you be responsible for someone who is not? Ok if that person is your own child, or at a stretch, a close relative, that’s another matter, but someone you never even met? Dead right.

      I read an analogy someone posted somewhere. There are twelve cookies. The rich guy takes eleven and gives one to the poor unemployed bum, and then tells you (the working person) that the poor guy stole your cookie.

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