In Vino Veritas

Grapes of Wealth

“The connoisseur does not drink wine but tastes its secrets”—Salvador Dalí

The strife between Burgundy versus Bordeaux could be the least of the fine wine industry’s problems if Hong Kong’s political situation, Brexit and President Trump’s tariffs of 25% on French, German and Spanish wines all continue. Could the $302 billion global wine market, expected to generate revenues of around $424 billion by the end of 2023, be facing headwinds?

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Death & Taxes

Point of No Return

“For a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle” ― Winston Churchill

As we enter the stage where monetary policy is to be replaced by fiscal policy mainly as a way to right the world’s post-crisis ailments, tax policy is one of the key tools. But it is how much to tax (and whom) that is going to drive the global political agenda for some time.

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Fashion Footprint

Legacy of Luxury

“The future of fashion is circular” – Stella McCartney

As Fashion Week draws to a close in Paris, the $2.4 trillion industry that employs some 60 million people and creates 100 billion garments a year is finally ready to embrace a new trend. From Green Carpet Awards to Emmanuel Macron’s G7 Summit Fashion Pact, fashion houses are moving to minimise their environmental footprint, because if nothing changes by 2050, the fashion industry will account for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.

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Future of Food

Sustainable Sustenance

“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible” ― Sir Albert Howard

Pea protein shrimp, lab grown burgers and cricket flour pancakes, a sci-fi menu or the future of food? Bill Gates and Richard Branson are betting on the latter as population projections for 2050 edge towards 10 billion, and rising prosperity is correlated to an increased demand for meat. Farmers have been producing enough to feed 10 billion since 2012, but this is not sustainable at current consumption trends. So what can be done?

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Classic Cars

Profit or Pleasure?

“Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz?” – Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin never got a Mercedes Benz, but she did pay $3,500 for a used 1964 Porsche 356 in 1968. The rock singer’s car was sold at auction for $1.76 million in 2015. A return on investment of more than 50,000% over 47 years. But as classic car returns hit a five-year low in June 2019, are we at the start of a long-term reversal?

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Social Fabric

Age of Incivility

“Graffiti is beautiful; like a brick in the face of a cop” ― Hunter Thompson

Efficient high-speed French TGV trains showcase cartoon posters instructing you how to help a little old lady to get her luggage into the overhead rack. When you arrive in Paris a variety of scooters, pushbikes and mono cycles threatened the same old lady as they whizz from all angles. With no signs saying that this is not permitted, the assumption is that it’s OK. Are we living in an age where civil behaviour has to be instructed?

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Game of Thrones

Is winter here?

“A coin is as dangerous as a sword in the wrong hands” – Tyrion Lannister

A world of inequality, migration, odd banking system, populist politics and apocalyptic climate change, does that sound familiar? Ignoring the lack of dragons and replacing zombies with humans surgically attached to their smart-phones, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking that Game of Thrones was an archetypal portrayal of today’s world. What will GoT fans do now? Will fans cancel their monthly HBO subscription?

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Plastic Planet

Rubbish or Resource?

“Plastic is indeed now on the menu” – Prince of Wales

Imagine an island three times the size of France in the Pacific. Idyllic, right? Hardly. This 1.6 million square kilometre floating mass is made of more than 1.8 trillion pieces of rubbish. Add to this that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea and the future looks bleak. Yet, plastics is now in the throes of a revolution. How can both people and the planet profit from plastic?

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Brazil

Waxing or Waning?

“Brazil is very unpopular in Brazil” – Nelson Rodrigues

Consider the Portuguese word saudade. Delicious nostalgia and hope. Almost untranslatable because it relates to something that has not (and may never) happen. Five world cups, but beaten 7-1 by Germany in 2014. The most abundant nature in the world and a literacy rate of almost 92%, but nearly 25% of the population live below the poverty line. Try telling a Brazilian that their economy has promise. Will the new President change the destiny of Brazil?

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The XX Factor

Gender Equality

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women and girls,” – Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

The UK’s current head of state celebrated 67 years on the throne. During that time, Communism has risen, fallen and then risen again. The Beatles have come and almost gone. And Britain is now the world’s 5th most economically powerful nation, with the Queen outlasting every other head of state. So, why is workplace inequality still even a subject?

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