Don’t believe everything you read …

…and only half of what you see.


 Just ask CNBC’s Jim Cramer of Mad Money. In last night’s episode of the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, among other things, Cramer tried to explain why he recommended his viewers buy Bear Stearns just days before the company’s collapse.


90% of economic activity is based on psychology. How we feel and what we think dictates what happens with the stock market, how much we save, when and what we buy, and whether or not we take that vacation. We’ve seen the impact locally of a widespread decline in consumer confidence and it’s time we start changing that trend.


What’s happening in the world of print media isn’t helping matters. As newspapers struggle to stay afloat, you find fewer reporters on staff, which means there is less time for research. You will find reporters drawing conclusions from a single incident with no one doing anything more than cursory fact checking. Where there used to be incentives to provide balanced coverage of the facts, newspapers today are more interested in sensational headlines that drive more revenues. And negative news is sensational.


Consider this recent article from The LA times titled “Cult Wines at Mass-Market Prices”.  When you read the article, it becomes apparent that the headline was drawn from the feedback of one restaurant owner who was able to purchase a previously unavailable unnamed “cult” wine from his distributor. The bulk of the article is actually about opportunities for consumers to get more value for their wine investment.


We are receiving more and more information via online media, which means that anyone with a keyboard and access to WordPad can publish their opinions on any subject. And we don’t demand accuracy from these writers. Of course, by making information public, writers are subjecting themselves to public corrections, but that happens rarely. And there is no one charged with even spell-checking what is written, much less fact-checking.


Don’t let others tell you how your business is doing. And don’t make rash decisions about discounting your premium wines. Instead make informed decisions, using information that you have available from any of the following sources: your own systems, the Financial Scorecards we provide, the Napa Valley Vintner’s Association, the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, your banker, and your peers.


And let’s keep spreading the word about how wonderful it is to be in the Napa Valley in the spring. 






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