Over a Barrel: The Rise and Fall of New York's Taylor Wine Company

SUNY Press
1
Free sample

How a small family company in the Finger Lakes became one of the most important wine producers in the United States, only to be taken down by corporate greed and mismanagement.

In 1880, Walter Stephen Taylor, a cooper’s son, started a commercial grape juice company in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Two years later, wine production was added, and by the 1920s, the Taylor Wine Company was firmly established. Walter Taylor’s three sons carefully guided the company through Prohibition and beyond, making it the most important winery in the Northeast and profoundly affecting the people and community of Hammondsport, where the company was headquartered.

In the 1960s, the Taylor family took the company public. Ranked sixth in domestic wine production and ripe for corporate takeover, the company was sold to Coca-Cola in 1977. Three more changes of corporate ownership followed until, in 1995, this once-dynamic and important wine producer was obliterated, tearing apart the local economy and changing a way of life that had lasted for nearly a century.

Drawing on archival research as well as interviews with many of the principal players, Thomas Pellechia skillfully traces the economic dynamism of the Finger Lakes wine region, the passion and ingenuity of the Taylor family, and the shortsighted corporate takeover scenario that took down a once-proud American family company. In addition to providing important lessons for business innovators, Over a Barrel is a cautionary tale for a wine region that is repeating its formative history.

“Over a Barrel offers various cautionary lessons that can be applied to all too many businesses. The Taylor paterfamilias began making wine from grapes in the Finger Lakes region, and his three sons improved it. But when the world of wine consumption changed, the Taylors didn’t, and they eventually sold out. Subsequent corporate owners gradually destroyed the wine and the farmers who grew the grapes. Only the black sheep grandson stayed true to the family code, ranting from his perch on Bully Hill.” — Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Thomas Pellechia is an independent journalist and writer who previously produced wine in the Finger Lakes and operated a wine shop in Manhattan. He is the author of Wine: The 8,000-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting and Running a Winery and Timeless Bounty: Food and Wine in New York’s Finger Lakes. He lives in Hammondsport, New York.
Read more
Collapse
5.0
1 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Feb 11, 2015
Read more
Collapse
Pages
270
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781438455518
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Business & Economics / Corporate & Business History
Cooking / Beverages / Alcoholic / General
History / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA)
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
Traces the history of the New York wine industry as it evolved across the state.

Winegrower and journalist Richard Figiel offers the first comprehensive history of New York wine, following its turbulent evolution across the state and emerging as a dynamic player in the world of fine wine. He begins by examining New York’s distinctive viticultural roots and the geologic forces that shaped the state’s terrain for winegrowing. Starting with early efforts to grow grapes for wine in the Hudson Valley, the story moves west to the Finger Lakes and Lake Erie, circles around the state from Long Island to the North Country, and, finally, to contemporary New York City. Through industry booms and busts, he explores the New York wine industry’s continuing process of reinvention by resourceful immigrants, family dynasties, giant corporations, and back-to-the-land dreamers. Moving across centuries of winemaking, Figiel unfolds an extraordinary array of grape species, varieties, and wines.

“This is a clear and coherent theme—the evolution of an important modern wine industry in New York. It is the most complete history of this topic.” — Ian A. Merwin, viticulturalist at Cornell University, coauthor of A Grower’s Guide to Organic Apples

“What works is when the book weaves between providing basic history and then anecdotes that illuminate that history. I had difficulty putting the book down because it was entertaining. This should make a very fine contribution to the literature of wine-making in New York.” — John C. Hartsock, author of Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery
"During election years in the early 1800s, touring politicians would often stop at Vevay in an effort to gather votes. On one such occasion the governor, Jonathan Jennings, was visiting Vevay with his entourage. They all stopped at Father Morerod's home to taste some of his wine. The governor and one or two others from abroad, being unaccustomed to wine, became considerably befuddled, as did some of the 'Vevay boys.' The way back to town was blocked by a large growth of dog fennel, a yellow flowering weed. The politicians passed through this field wearing white trousers and shirts. In their confused condition they soon emerged and presented to the townsfolk an amusing spectacle of the governor and fellow dignitaries wearing yellow pants and yellow spotted vests." -- From Indiana Wine: A History

John James Dufour arrived in America in 1796, looking for land for a colony of 'vinedressers.' They first settled in Kentucky, but then purchased land in the Indiana Territory on the north bank of the Ohio River. Here, in the town they called Vevay, the Swiss winegrowers successfully produced America's first commercial wines. In Indiana Wine, a richly anecdotal history of wine production in Indiana, James L. and John J. Butler relate a vintage story of early triumph, followed by precipitous decline, and ending in present-day success.

Though the economic decline of the 1820s ended the first flowering of Indiana vineyards, John James Dufour continued his work, and in 1826 he published the first book written about American grape growing and winemaking. Thereafter the heart of America's wine production was centered near Cincinnati, Ohio. That industry collapsed in the 1870s, but small wineries could still be found scattered across southern Indiana. With the coming of Prohibition, the idea of Indiana wine was lost. It was not until the passing of the "Small Winery" law in 1971 that winemaking began anew in the state. Today some 25 wineries, large and small, produce a wide variety of Indiana wine.

The first book to chronicle the rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., the world's most influential and controversial wine critic, who, over the last twenty–five years, has dominated the international wine world and embodied the triumph of American taste.

This is the story of how an American lawyer raised on Coca–Cola caused a revolution in the way wines around the globe are made, sold, and talked about.

To his legions of fans, Parker is a cross between Julia Child and Ralph Nader –– part enthusiastic sensualist and part consumer crusader. To his many enemies, he is a self–appointed wine judge bent on reducing the meaning of wine to a two–digit number. The man who now rules the world of wine has been the focus of both adulation and death threats. He rose to his pinnacle of power by means of the traditional American virtues of hard work, determination, and integrity –– coupled with an unshakeable ego and a maniacal obsession with a beverage that aspires to a seductive art form: fine wine.

Parker's influential bimonthly newsletter, The Wine Advocate, with more than 45,000 subscribers across the United States and in more than thirty–seven countries, exerts the single most significant influence on consumers' wine–buying habits and trends in America, Europe, and the Far East, and impacts the way wine is being made in every wine–producing country in the world, from France to Australia. Parker has been profiled in countless magazines and newspapers around the world and most of his dozen books have been best sellers in the United States and abroad. Yet, despite the world's attention and unending acclaim, Robert Parker stands at the center of a heated controversy. Is he a passionate lover of wine who, more than anyone else, is responsible for its vastly improved quality, or is he, as others claim, waging a war against centuries of tradition and in the process killing the soul of wine?

The Emperor of Wine tackles the myriad questions that swirl about Parker and reveals how he became both worshipped and despised, revered as an infallible palate by some and blamed by others for remaking the world's wine industry into a single global market, causing prices to skyrocket, and single–handedly reshaping the taste of wine to his own preference.

Elin McCoy met Robert Parker in 1981 when she was his first magazine editor, and she has followed his extraordinary rise ever since. In telling Parker's story, McCoy gives readers an unmatched, authoritative insider's view of the eccentric personalities, bitter feuds, controversies, passions, payoffs, and secrets of the wine world, explaining how wine reputations are made, how and why wine critics agree and disagree, and tracking the startling ways wines are judged, promoted, made, and sold today. This fascinating portrait of a modern–day cultural colossus shows how a world that once was the province of gentlemen's clubs and the pastime of stuffed shirts turned into a sensual hobby for the middle class, creating a luxury industry bent on making money on a worldwide scale –– and how one man has revolutionized the way the world thinks about wine.

The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness. The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence. A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology. The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

There were dozens of books about Watergate, but only All the President's Men gave readers the full story, with all the drama and nuance and exclusive reporting. And thirty years later, if you're going to read only one book on Watergate, that's still the one. Today, Enron is the biggest business story of our time, and Fortune senior writers Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind are the new Woodward and Bernstein.

Remarkably, it was just two years ago that Enron was thought to epitomize a great New Economy company, with its skyrocketing profits and share price. But that was before Fortune published an article by McLean that asked a seemingly innocent question: How exactly does Enron make money? From that point on, Enron's house of cards began to crumble. Now, McLean and Elkind have investigated much deeper, to offer the definitive book about the Enron scandal and the fascinating people behind it.

Meticulously researched and character driven, Smartest Guys in the Room takes the reader deep into Enron's past—and behind the closed doors of private meetings. Drawing on a wide range of unique sources, the book follows Enron's rise from obscurity to the top of the business world to its disastrous demise. It reveals as never before major characters such as Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow, as well as lesser known players like Cliff Baxter and Rebecca Mark. Smartest Guys in the Room is a story of greed, arrogance, and deceit—a microcosm of all that is wrong with American business today. Above all, it's a fascinating human drama that will prove to be the authoritative account of the Enron scandal.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.