Business Ethics Essay
As we have discussed the ethical issued related to production and distribution of wine, we will now focus on the ethical issues relating to the consumption of wine. The consumption of wine in U. S. has been on the rise since last fifteen years. The U. S. ranks 34th in wine consuming nations with wine consumption of 7. 69 liters per capita per annum. The consumption of wine in 1994 was 404 million gallons which increased to 658 million gallons in the year 2008. These figures show the growing popularity of wine in U. S. Consumption grew 2. 5% per annum.
As capita income per person has increased, the wine consumption has also seen a increasing trend. According to U. S. Beverage Marketing Corporation, the organic wine consumption have rise in last few years. As people are getting environmental and health conscious, they are turning towards organic products. In 2003/04, organic wine consumption was about 6. 5% of total beverage market in U. S. , which increased to 9. 5% in the year 2007/08. This signifies the important aspect of change in the human nature that is turning to the products which is beneficial to both humans and environment.
The type of wine customer consumes depends on the number of factors namely per capita income, household size, preference of quality over price etc. The nutrition facts of wine are minimal. There is no cholesterol or fat present in the wine. Generally, the alcohol content ranges in between 10-15%. Over consumption of wine can be dangerous to health as it can cause unconsciousness and high blood pressure. Nutrition Facts (Serving Size 6 oz) Amount per serving| Red Wine| White Wine| Calories| 123| 115| Protein| . 28 grams| . 14 grams|
Cholesterol | 0| 0| Sodium | 8. 5 milligrams| 8. 5 milligrams| Carbohydrates| 2. 9 grams| 1. 35 grams| Vitamin B1(Thiamin)| . 01 %| . 01 %| Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)| . 05 %| . 01 %| Vitamin B3 (Niacin)| . 13 %| . 12 %| Organic wine is the wine produced from organically grown grapes without adding any sulfites. Organic wine is the best quality wine obtained without relying on chemical fertilizers. The most important aspect of producing organic wine is the matching of unique characteristics of growing region with the most suitable variety of grapes.
Different varieties of grapes need different soil and climate to grow. Usually, warm and dry climates are suitable for growing quality grapes and these climates protect the grapes against moulds and other diseases resulting from humid climate. The smaller sized grapes are suitable and desired for the production of organic wine because we get the distinctive taste for a particular wine from grape’s skin and the smaller grapes has high skin to juice ratio as compared to the large sized grapes.
But the yield per field of small sized grapes is considerably low, which increase the cost of production per unit volume. The grapes in the organic vineyard are usually handpicked which allows only the ripest and healthiest grapes to be picked up. This process also minimizes the damage to the soil and the fruit. This accounts for the difference in taste of the wine. But this handpicking of grapes increase the labor costs. Low yield and handpicking of grapes, along with other factors, increase the overall production costs.
Thus, organic wine is generally expensive than the regular wine. It is far better in quality and taste than the regular cheap wine. The consumption of organic wine has effect on the environment. As the grapes have been grown naturally, no pesticides or insecticide had been used and re-plantation of oak trees to replace the cut oak trees helps in preserving the nature and benefits the world around us by preserving the soil and help reducing the pollution to both air and soil. It helps maintain the balance of nature. The organic wine production is an ethical business process.
Nobody feels cheated in this process, as the customer gets the quality products for the dollars he/she spends and know what he is getting as there is no deception on the labels, and the producer get the return for following the sincere ethical processes. Customers get the value for the money spent as they get high quality wine with distinctive taste. On the other hand, the producer earns enough to cover his costs of production and also makes a profit. The environment is also saved through this ethical business practices which is the biggest gain.
On the other hand, the regular wine can be produced with the large sized grapes and the insecticides and pesticides are used on a large scale. As the yield of large grapes is more, the cost of production per unit volume is low. This results in lower prices. The regular wine is pretty cheap and available in abundance qualities. Thus, it is affordable to people with low income. It is cost friendly to both the wine producers and the customers. Wine producers can adopt mass production of the regular wine as the production costs are low and there are no special regulations to be followed, this result in increased profits.
Customers are also attracted to the low- priced wine as they have to spend less and get their wine desire satisfied with this low priced regular wine as compared to costly organic wine. But there are consequences of drinking cheap wine. The production of regular wine has an adverse effect on the environment. As the consumption of regular wine is increasing, so does the adverse effects. The use of unlimited pesticides, insecticides and other chemicals not only pollute the soil but also the air we breathe. It even spoils the water bed beneath the soil.
The deforestation of the oak trees is rapidly increasing. The effects are adverse than we could even think and they are long termed/ lived. The cheap wine could have health consequences too. The sulfites present in the wine can degrade person’s health. The cheap wine has much higher sulfur content than expensive organic wines. The consumption of this cheap wine could results in allergies, breathing problems, skin rashes, itches and nausea. Overindulgence of wine can raise the blood pressure which could be harmful.
In the recent years, the genetically engineering wine production is on the rise. It is the method of wine production using the gene altered grapes. The genetically engineered vineyards are more resistant to the fungal diseases than the traditional vineyards. The main motive behind the genetical engineering is to make vineyards more resistant to diseases and increase the output of grapes. The researched concluded that these disease resistant plants would need very less pesticides, thus lowering the use of pesticide in production process.
This is really beneficial for the environment. But it is feared that the genetically altered genes may result in uniformity of taste of different wines. But according to the reports; people have not accepted the genetically engineered wine. They have rejected the concept of genetically engineered wine as the fears of taste uniformity have raised concerns. According to the report by Greenpeace, California wine makers may have to face mass consumer rejection if they accepted the genetically engineered grapes for their wine production process.
British retailers have also threatened California wine makers to quit importing their wine if they adopted the genetically engineered wine making process. Fact is that, Britain is the largest importer of California wine as it imports 30% of the state’s wine. Researchers have found out that the gene which is inserted into the wine grapes create a protein similar to that present in the bee venom. This could cause anaphylactic shock in some people and can also create other health issues. This deadly substance could not be put out the production process of the genetically engineered wine.