Varietals of Capitalism by Xabier Itçaina, Antoine Roger, and Andy Smith by Xabier Itçaina, Antoine Roger, and Andy Smith - Read Online

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Varietals of Capitalism

A Political Economy of the Changing Wine Industry

Xabier Itçaina, Antoine Roger, and Andy Smith

Cornell University Press

Ithaca and London


List of Figures, Tables, and Text Boxes


List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Wine and the Politics of Economic Change

Part I

The Analytical Challenge of Economic Change

1. Existing Approaches to Change in and beyond the Wine Industry

2. Structured Contingency: Institutions, Fields, and Political Work

Part II

Shaping and Negotiating Deep Reform

3. Knowledge and Power in the Scientific Field

4. When Political Work Shifts to the Economic Field

5. Adopting Reform within the Bureaucratic Field

Part III

Implementing Change: Reinstitutionalization or Reproduction?

6. The End of Interventionism?

7. From New Wine Categories to Resegmented Markets?

8. Microeconomic Support: New Instruments in Old Bottles?

Conclusion: A Glass Half Full



Figures, Tables, and Text Boxes


1. Institutionalist economics

2. Regulationist economics

3. Sociological institutionalism

4. Actor-network theory

5. An industry as an order of four institutionalized relationships

6. The internal logic of a field

7. An industry as a set of fields and an institutional order


1. The four dominant approaches to socioeconomic change as applied to the wine industry

2. Percent of wine distributed by supermarkets in 2004 by value

3. Distribution of wine in France by volume

4. Top five specialized wine companies in 2005

5. Wine sold by multibeverage corporations in 2005

6. Representatives at the Challenges and Opportunities for European Wines seminar

7. Volume of wine produced and used for crisis distillation by region in 2009

8. Vines grubbed out in France, Spain, and Italy, 2008–2011

9. Number of AOCs and VdPs per select EU member state in 2012

Text Boxes

1. Basic principles of actor-network theory

2. Azpilicueta, Domecq, Pernod Ricard: A story of concentration/deconcentration in La Rioja

3. Grands Chais de France: From outsider to dominant player

4. The history of six Romanian wineries

5. Tuscany: Antinori and Chiantigiane

6. Timeline of the reform

7. The reflection document issued to the participants at the February 2006 seminar

8. A comparison of the European Commission’s proposal and the regulation adopted by the European Council and European Parliament


The research for this book was financed by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche within the program Gouvernement européen des industries led by Andy Smith and Bernard Jullien from 2010 to 2014. Along the way, our reflections have been nourished by the following colleagues who all, in different but decisive ways, contributed to our work by commenting upon our initial results and papers. We thank in particular Thierry Berthet, Marc Blyth, Caitriona Carter, Clarisse Cazals, Pierre François, Philippe Gorry, Colin Hay, Bernard Jullien, Laura Michel, Matthieu Montalban, Tomaso Pardi, Claudio Radaelli, Sigfrido Ramirez, Filippo Randelli, Raphaël Schirmer, Jean-Marc Touzard, and Axel Villareal. Sigfrido even took an active part in some of our fieldwork in Italy and Madrid. We also thank Cornell University Press’s anonymous reviewer and Peter Katzenstein for their perspicacious and encouraging comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Responding to their promptings for more clarity and rigor has been a challenging but rewarding experience. More generally, Peter and Roger Haydon at Cornell have been highly supportive throughout. Notwithstanding all this assistance, we of course take total responsibility for what follows.

From a different but equally supportive angle, we also take this opportunity to thank those who have provided us with technical and logistical support where we all work, at Bordeaux University’s Centre Emile Durkheim. Particular thanks go to Myrtille Birghoffer, Dominique Nguyen, and Caroline Sagat.

Finally, we thank all the practitioners who gave up their time to be interviewed for this study. Without the input of such people, the political economy we practice would be both impossible and meaningless.



Wine and the Politics of Economic Change

The wines of Europe are often spontaneously associated with traditions and places that are seen as timeless. Bordeaux today evokes red wines that can be kept for decades and stone-walled villages such as Saint-Émilion, and Chianti is invariably linked to the unique history and landscape of Tuscany. However, even the occasional drinker knows that wine from these areas has changed considerably over the last generation. Moreover, most tourists visiting these regions soon learn that the contemporary production of wine bears little relation to the folkloric imagery of horse-drawn plows and peasants treading grapes.

Whether they are practitioners, journalists, or academics, most specialists agree not only that European wine has been changing for centuries but also that this change has accelerated over the last twenty to thirty years. However, there is disagreement about what the drivers of this change are. For many, European wines have changed simply because reductions in domestic consumption in large producer states such as Spain have forced producers to seek new markets abroad. For others, change has been fueled above all by the rise of exports from New World countries such as Australia and South Africa (globalization),¹ and then by the realization of European wine producers that they would have to compete directly with them. Yet another interpretation attributes change to alterations in the way public authorities in Europe have intervened in wine markets through public policies and legislation. Rather than add another partial explanation of why European wine has changed so fast and so deeply, this book provides a holistic account that draws not only on original empirical research but also, more fundamentally, on a new standpoint in social science debates about economic change.

We believe that understanding change in an industry such as the wine industry can be fully captured only by developing a generalizable perspective on its politics. What determines or obstructs such change? What are the scope conditions for its occurring and then sticking during implementation? These are fundamental questions raised in various academic disciplines, in particular research that uses concepts and methods taken from the new institutionalism. While we draw on certain institutionalist theories of change, we nevertheless propose a sharper focus on the politics of economic activity that refuses to dodge key conceptual choices in the name of seeking consensus. We believe that it is vitally important to reshape and restate the analytical program of an institutionalism in a way that focuses on both agency and what structures it. Our explanation of how and why European wines have changed therefore illustrates a sustained theoretical proposition that asserts that the cause of economic change relates to structured contingency: actors prepare and make such change in institutional orders that are deeply socially configured and highly constraining.

This proposition combines the tools of constructivist approaches to institutionalism (Hay 2006a; Abdelal, Blyth, and Parsons 2010), Bourdieu’s theory of fields (1992, 1993a, 1996, 2013), and a Weberian sociology approach to political work in industries (Jullien and Smith 2011, 2014). The resulting analytical framework has been developed and refined around a major empirical study that focused on the negotiation and implementation of a reform of the European Union’s (EU) wine policy that was formally adopted in 2008. The content of this reform is now generally accepted as radical because it has shifted public support away from measures designed to directly affect the supply of wine, then moved it toward concentrating instead on demand. More precisely, since 2008:

The EU has abandoned direct intervention in wine markets through the subsidized distillation of surpluses.

A final campaign has used EU funds to grub out 175.000 hectares of vines across Europe.

Laws that once prevented European producers from making wine using specific techniques that are permitted elsewhere in the world have been annulled.

New, simplified categories of European wine have been created.

Efforts to better promote European wines in non-EU countries have been partially financed by public authorities.

A range of modernization grants have been distributed.

The effects of this reform have been both considerable and highly varied. Why was this reform so readily accepted in 2008, after years of bitter resistance at both EU and national scales to parts of its content and much of its underlying rationale? Just as important, why do almost all commentators on the wine industry not even consider these questions? Specifically, why have they consistently reduced explanations to one or more of the following three assertions?

The reform had to happen because globalized wine markets made it necessary for EU producers to align themselves with changes in demand.²

This globalization was a reaction to interdependent shifts in consumer demand on the one hand and corporate ownership and behavior on the other.

The EU could no longer sustain an interventionist wine policy because it costs too much and because the World Trade Organization had outlawed it as trade-distorting.

Notwithstanding the confidence with which these accounts of the reform have generally been expressed, even our initial research on the reform quickly revealed that none of them actually fit the information we gleaned from documents and interviews. On the contrary, although consumption of wine has clearly changed since the 1970s, it has never sent unambiguous signals to producers that they simply had to change their products and modes of marketing. Markets are actually deeply complex and thus provide uncertain information, a point that seriously undermines the claim that one universal vision of current demands for wines ever existed, let alone affected producer and merchant behavior automatically. Similarly, the companies involved in growing grapes, making wine, and then selling it have clearly also changed considerably in recent years. As in so many other industries, a concentration of ownership and vertical integration has occurred in many wine regions. However, this process is still far from completely dominating the world’s wine industry, especially that of Europe, where relatively small operators continue to predominate. In addition, the concentration of wine companies has not translated automatically into changes in how producers or merchants construct and represent their interests. As we will show, changes have indeed occurred in this direction, but none of them directly affected the construction and implementation of the EU’s 2008 reform. Finally, the budgetary cost of the EU’s wine policy and the influence of the World Trade Organization also clearly need to be taken into account in any explanation of policy change. The 2008 reform did not decrease the EU’s costs; instead, it reshaped them. Although EU representatives often invoked the force of World Trade Organization law as a motive for change, in practice such declarations legitimized what they were already seeking instead of being a primary cause of change. In short, very little of the standard explanation of the 2008 reform stood up to the test of even our first few weeks of empirical investigation.

The more we strove to answer the questions Why this reform? and Why in 2008?, the more we had to examine closely the expertise that surrounds the making of commercial and political decisions, the shaping of interest groups, the organization of public authorities, and the way a supposedly common EU policy has actually been implemented in the vineyards of Europe. Specifically, as the closing section of chapter 2 sets out in detail, fieldwork in Brussels and national capitals and comparisons of four member states (France, Spain, Italy, and Romania) and major vineyards in those states (Bordeaux, Rioja, Chianti, and Romanian vineyards considered as a whole) provide the empirical evidence on which we base our answers to queries about change in the wine industry. This fieldwork also grounds in empirical evidence our answers to the general social science questions about the politics of economic change that we raise throughout this book.

Our starting point for rethinking economic change is a reaffirmation that politics is and always has been an omnipresent driver of the economics of wine. Moreover, this politics is deeply multiscalar (global, EU, national, regional, vineyard), although this multiscalarity is neither new nor specific to wine. However, its shifts over the past twenty to thirty years have contributed considerably to the conditions for the deep change in EU policy and the effects of this reform, which, as will be seen, have varied in revealing ways from country to country and vineyard to vineyard. This book shows that the 2008 reform synthesized a process of change that has spanned more than twenty years. We insist that the changes recounted in this book cannot be reduced simply to the legislative changes adopted in 2008. Instead, a more revealing story about change caused by structured contingency needs to be told to capture what created the conditions for that reform and has since shaped its implementation.

To substantiate these claims, we open with theory positioning. A refusal to seriously address the politics and multiscaled structuration of economic activity and the importance of policy implementation is a common failing of much commentary on European wine. Put bluntly, chapter 1 shows that four major theory-driven interpretations of change in the European wine industry are incomplete or wrong. More fundamentally, it identifies why the general assumptions about politics, economics, and change that underlie each of these four approaches—namely institutionalist economics, regulationist economics, sociological institutionalism, and actor-network theory—urgently need replacing. The first two of these approaches are excessively materialistic. Although their claims contrast sharply, they both interpret policy and political change as the consequence of exogenously caused changes in stocks of material resources and power. In contrast, analyses based on sociological institutionalism and actor-network theory are insufficient analytically because they give excessive explanatory weight to the interactions between individuals and groups (or objects). In so doing, and despite their considerable differences, they focus on the positioning and repositioning of firms within networks and underestimate the unintentional resonances between differentiated, historically structured, and partially autonomous spaces.

Elements of each of the four theories mentioned above are of course worth retaining, but we maintain that other sources of concepts and questions are needed to build a coherent alternative analytical framework. This is the aim of chapter 2 which, as noted above, is inspired by constructivist approaches to institutionalism, and the sociologies of Max Weber and Pierre Bourdieu. Our generic approach to the causes of economic change, which we call structured contingency, has three key components.

The first is a conception of economic activity as structured by institutions that are both highly structuring and fundamentally contingent. Institutions, which we define as stabilized rules, norms, and conventions, are the artifacts around which industries such as wine are regulated. In so doing, they produce an institutional order that provides a certain degree of stability for economic activity but is also fraught with tension and likely to evolve.

Following Bourdieu, we consider this relationship between stasis and change to be structured most deeply by the spaces of action we call fields. These spaces reflect both the objective positions of actors and the outcomes of struggles for symbolic hierarchization. Strong differentiation between fields is an initial consequence of this structuration (here we will focus on the economic, scientific, and bureaucratic fields; i.e., those most relevant to our case study). A second consequence is that each field is underpinned by its own logic, organized around specific issues, and driven by a balance of power that is relatively autonomous from other such spaces. Third, fields are also multiscalar: a local field exists within larger ones (e.g. national, European, global) that are built around the same issues but entail a greater number of positions. Furthermore, struggles in several different fields will at times coincide. However, this is rarely because individual actors manage to bring them together through their entrepreneurship. Instead, interfield connections or transfers need to be analyzed in terms of accidental institutional resonance.

The third and final part of our analytical framework directly tackles the dynamism of fields and thus institutional orders. Instead of reducing such dynamics to the social skills of individual actors or organizations, we claim that they are the consequence of political work, a process that is conditioned by the contingent coincidence between fields and is consistently threefold. First, it encompasses the activities that define what constitutes the public problems that dominate policymaking over a particular period of time. Second, political work generates the instruments through which public and collective actors seek to regularize the treatment of the aforementioned problems. Finally, both problems and instruments are constantly worked on from the angle of legitimation; that is, how actors seek to justify and normalize them through discourse and symbolic action.

Using this analytical framework, Part 2 focuses on the preparation of the EU’s 2008 reform and on the academic struggles that oriented the progressive institutionalization of demand-centered arguments in the wine industry, the work commercial, associative, and public actors did to recycle and diffuse the ideas this new paradigm conveyed, and, finally, the negotiation of the reform in 2006–2008. Chapter 3 focuses on the relationship between knowledge, science, and power that lay behind the 2008 reform. Mobilizing a dynamic conceptualization of fields, we show that the role played by the sciences of vine and wine was a precondition for the production and legitimation of a new approach to the government of this industry. Chapter 4, which focuses on the 2002–2005 period, builds on this analysis. This time span was marked by new challenges to EU policy and an increase in the political work carried out along lines merchants and deviant producers traced in the new paradigm; that is, by actors located in the wine industry’s economic field. During this period, these two sets of actors began to propose a new approach to the EU’s government of the wine industry. By the mid-2000s, the very definition of the problem had already changed for a large number of key actors. Crucially, alternative definitions of the problem had either been stigmatized or were not even opened for discussion. Chapter 5 zeros in on the adoption of new EU legislation over the years 2006–2008. Not surprisingly, bargains were struck and deals were made among actors from the bureaucratic field to get the reform package through. However, debate was no longer about deep issues of policy direction and substance because these had largely been settled previously.

Part 3 concentrates on implementation. Our aim here is to analyze the institutionalization of the reform and assess whether the degree of change announced in 2008 has actually taken place. In general, we find that implementation has indeed substantiated the deep change announced at the time of the reform. In particular, it has sustained the contention that only wine that fits with the demand of what is frequently labeled the new consumer is economically sustainable and merits EU support. In addition, merchants have gained legitimacy and power in this new version of EU government, to the detriment of the growers. However, the implementation of this reform has been heterogeneous and has led to differentiated institutionalizations. In order to explain both the changes in the industry prompted by the reform and the diversity of forms it has taken, Part 3 addresses the three main types of policy instruments it has affected. Chapter 6 focuses on the drastic reductions in the deeply interventionist dimensions of previous EU policy. These instruments previously sought to control most wine prices by limiting the supply of grapes produced and the supply of wine entering markets. In order to encourage EU wine producers to accept the abandonment of this policy, a second aspect of the 2008 reform concerned the reprograming of markets, the focus of chapter 7. Here the reformers sought to assist European wine producers and merchants by restructuring the range of wines they produced and simplifying how they are presented to the public, a shift in policy and practice that was legitimized by once again evoking the practices of challengers from the New World. In the mid-2000s, initial reaction from producers to the European Commission’s proposals on these issues was often hostile. However, translating them both into action has thus far been a relatively smooth process. Finally, chapter 8 focuses on the EU’s microeconomic measures (subsidies for promotion, restructuring, and investment) that sought to improve the competitiveness of its wine producers and merchants. The 2008 reform placed a great deal of emphasis on regulatory policy tools as a way of reprograming markets, but has not meant that the EU has abandoned all budgetary support for the wine industry. Instead, the reform has transferred much of the money that was previously spent on grubbing out vines and distillation to microeconomic measures aimed at improving the competitiveness of individual firms and regional vineyards. However, our fieldwork shows that in practice, actors differ widely in the economic and social value they attach to these microeconomic measures. Reactions to and interpretations of the reform as a whole have varied, but not simply due to material determinants. Instead, the causal mechanisms our research identified concern the extent to which regional actors located in both the economic and bureaucratic fields have normalized the policy paradigm (Hay 2006a, 59) at the heart of the 2008 reform.

Overall, and beyond the wine industry, we aim to contribute to two interrelated general academic and political debates. The first relates to understanding the government of the EU as a whole. From our perspective, European policies stem from a complex set of contingent political work conducted in the economic, scientific, and bureaucratic fields. As we shall demonstrate, this stance distinguishes us from the materialistic perspectives that argue that EU governmentalization is nothing more than the reflection of power struggles between economic interest groups. It also rejects an intergovernmentalist perspective that reduces EU policy to the mere output of bargaining between member states. We focus instead on the mechanisms of a complex process of decision making and institutionalization that is specific to the European scale without isolating the bureaucratic field from its economic and scientific counterparts. In addition, our approach seeks to grasp the whole process of an EU-driven policy change—from the premises of the reform through its implementation—to capture the thickness of the institutionalizations in which change or stasis occurs.

Secondly, as our conclusion underlines, we not only call for a reassessment of institutional change and reproduction in the European government of wine; we also maintain that the structured contingency approach we use to analyze the wine industry could usefully be extended to other parts of social science devoted to economic phenomena and potentially way beyond this area of inquiry. What follows is therefore just as much about studying the politics of change in general as it is about understanding the reorientation of European wine. In this sense, the analytical model we advocate aims first at contributing to the ongoing rich but currently stalled debate about types of institutionalism. Second, and more fundamentally, our approach to politics within structured contingency raises a challenge for and proposes a contribution to the deep scientific debate about the changing relationships between individual actors, social structures, and institutions. Indeed, although this book’s title is partly tongue in cheek, what follows is very much about variations within contemporary capitalism and how they can and should be studied.

1. The category New World was in fact invented by American and Australian producers at the beginning of the 1990s to highlight their common interest in taking on their European competitors. It has since been extended to include businesses in South Africa, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

2. Throughout this book, we use new consumer, supply, and demand not as neutral and descriptive categories but as terms used as a weapon by many of the actors we have studied. They will be enclosed in quotation marks at only the first use in each chapter.

Part I

The Analytical Challenge of Economic Change

Analyzing the 2008 reform of the EU’s wine policy provides a way of reflecting more generally on the ways that industries (and thus economies) change. Our object of study has already been put to the test by four major theoretical models of empirical inquiry: institutionalist economics, regulationist economics, sociological institutionalism, and actor-network theory. Chapter 1 presents each of these theories and their application to analysis of the contemporary wine industry. However, envisaging economics as the result of individual calculations, interactions, or macrostructural factors, none of these theories provides a sufficiently complete and convincing explanation of economic change. Chapter 2 builds an alternative analytical framework to capture not only the dynamics observed in the case of EU wine policy but also the dynamics we consider to occur recurrently in all economic activity. Although we share a commitment to the institutionalism many colleagues in political science and sociology espouse, the originality of our structured contingency approach lies in its documentation of the role fields play in socioeconomic activity. This approach also seeks to innovate by identifying how coincidences between fields can create space for the political work that, we hypothesize, brings about institutional change or stasis.


Existing Approaches to Change in and beyond the Wine Industry

Wine has inspired a vast literature in the social sciences, particularly in sociology, history, and geography. There is much to be taken from this research. In analyses of recent change, however, most existing publications raise and reflect the deep analytical problems of academics working on this and many other parts of economic life. The following critique of existing literature critically discusses not only the research that specifically concerns wine but also the approaches to economic change that underpin it.

To date, several broad theories of change have been used in analyses of the wine industry. The most basic debate is between approaches that emphasize the agency of wine firms and those that give material structures a determining role. Other schools of thought have developed in order to move beyond this opposition. While they have each contributed to knowledge about what determines economic activity in general and the wine industry in particular, they all have analytical limitations which this book seeks to move beyond.

Agency versus Structure: Economics (Still) in Search of Its Actors

The opposition between agency and structure has been the subject of a great deal of thought in social science (Lizardo 2010). When it is transposed into analyses of economic exchange, it generally takes the form of a cleavage between institutionalist economics and regulationist economics. The former stresses choices, calculations, and the contracts firms enter into, while the second focuses on the accumulation regimes and social hierarchies that (it claims) constrain choices, calculations, and contracts. However, both provide a restricted viewpoint that hinders comprehension of the deep causes and consequences of change.

Institutionalist Economics: Calculation and Contracts

Institutionalist economics is the theoretical lens most frequently used, both in general and for the wine industry. According to the originator of its central concept of transaction costs, Oliver Williamson (1975), economic actors are above all opportunists whose self-interested and short-term-oriented behavior generates uncertainty that has costs. These costs encourage actors, often aided by the state, to collectively produce institutional safeguards to protect themselves from attacks from their competitors. In their purest form, these measures create an institutionalized hierarchy that is an alternative to pure markets. Those who subscribe to institutionalist economics contend that hybrids of markets and institutions are what structure economic behavior. More precisely, those who defend this theory argue that economic actors put in place explicit or implicit contracts that they rationally follow in order to protect and enhance their material interests. The assumption here is that actors enter into this contractual environment in full knowledge of its constraints and opportunities, as well as what is in their own best interest.

Accordingly, institutionalist economists explain the success of New World wine companies as the result of their high capacity to reduce transaction costs by closely aligning the production of grapes with their processing, marketing, and distribution (see figure 1). For example, they depict straightforward and transparent contractual arrangements between grape growers and large wineries in the United States and Australia as characterized by strict and verifiable growing and processing norms (Rousset and Traversac 2004; Rousset 2005). This set of institutions flows into another set that involves export strategies whereby New World suppliers commit to long-term supply contracts with supermarket chains backed by enforcement mechanisms that reduce transaction costs still further (Traversac 2011). Proponents of this interpretation of the rise of New World wines have a strong tendency to believe that the 2008 reform of the EU’s wine policy was inspired and promoted by European wine companies who saw policy change as a straightforward adjustment measure. The goal was to facilitate change in the hierarchy of the various actors involved in Europe’s wine industry by encouraging the restructuring of grape farming (through the subsidized grubbing out of vines and the end of plantation rights) and introducing new ways of classifying wines (e.g., by reforming product specifications for wines produced in designated areas) (Cafaggi and Iamiceli 2010). Consequently, institutionalist economists see the EU’s new wine policy as simply the result of pressure exerted by the European companies that were best placed to improve their position in this hierarchy, and thus to compete most efficiently with their opposite numbers in the New World (Corsinovi, Begalli, and Gaeta 2013; Gaeta and Corsinovi 2014). This view resonates with an increasingly popular but deeply problematic (Oatley 2011) approach to open-economy politics (Lake 2009) that reduces analysis to making assumptions about the preferences of private actors, mapping how they organize in national settings and only then raising questions about the structuring effects of international institutions.

Figure 1 Institutionalist economics

Notwithstanding the apparent coherence of the theories of economic change of institutionalist economics, they have been hotly contested. The first alternative theory incorporates other institutions that are more distant from economic calculation but are seen as central to the regulation of economic activity.

Regulationist Economics: Accumulation Regimes and Social Hierarchies

Critiques of the overemphasis on calculation in economics abound, but the most sustained of these originated in this discipline itself around the regulationist school of economics. Founded in France by a group of neo-Marxist scholars (Aglietta 1979; Boyer and Saillard 2002), regulationist theory begins from the premise that economic activity takes place in accumulation regimes that structure the relationship between production and consumption, which themselves are reproduced by types of political and social organizations. Consequently, in contrast to institutionalist economists, regulationists claim that extra-economic norms and historically shaped hierarchies are what explain the stabilization of productive and commercial activity at any given period (Goodwin 2009). This approach has been extended by researchers who think in terms of transnational historical materialism, in particular members of the Amsterdam Research Centre for International Political Economy (Overbeek 2000; Van Apeldoorn 2004). These researchers focus on the concepts of control that, they maintain, explain the development and reproduction of capitalism at the global scale. They see these concepts as the mechanisms through which the ideas and practices of the ruling class define the space of possible action for a society. Although for centuries these ideas and practices have been shaped at the national scale, regulationists argue that they have broadened in scope as a transnational ruling class has emerged. Indeed, the latter has come to possess a specific form of class agency that entails operating simultaneously in several national spaces. Regulationists explain this shift as the result of a transformation of the relations between capital and labor and the evolution of different forms of capital (financial or productive).

In the context of the study of agri-food industries, the initial aim of research using regulationist economics was to identify food regimes. Using this concept, for example, Harriet Friedman and Philip McMichael identified a mode of relations between farmers and consumers that has stabilized at the global scale as a specific way of accumulating capital. To support this claim, they pointed to a range of materially determinant factors and data, such as modes of imperialist organization, customs tariffs, land rights, and consumption patterns in industrial centers. They explained regime collapses as what happens when a disjunction between these factors precipitates a crisis (Friedman and McMichael 1987).

When applied to wine (see figure 2), variants of regulationist theory postulate that a global