Brad Rickard is an assistant professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and serves as an associate of the Robert Mondavi Institute Center for Wine Economics at the University of California. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty in 2008, he taught at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. His research and extension program focuses on the economic implications of policies, innovation, and industry-led initiatives applied to agricultural and food markets. Brad's research has been highlighted by various media outlets including Buffalo News, The Economist, Freakonomics.com, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Wine Spectator.
What inspired you to work with wine?
I grew up on a 1200 acre farm in Ontario, Canada that grows various grain crops, processing vegetables, and apples, and I have had a longtime interest in economic and policy issues facing perennial fruit crops. My research interests in wine markets began while I was a graduate student at UC Davis and then continued when I moved to the Central Coast region of California and began teaching students in Cal Poly's wine business program. I moved to New York in 2008 and was encouraged to examine the economic impacts of the controversial proposals surrounding wine sales in grocery stores. Working on this issue really opened my eyes to a variety of policy and marketing topics that are important for stakeholders in the New York State wine industry.
What are the major challenges in your field?
The field of wine economics is much younger than the fields of viticulture and enology, and as a result there exist many research questions for economists to study. I think a major challenge for economists is to continue to study consumer demand for wine, and to better understand how consumers might respond to policy changes (that affect the availability of wine) and changes in information that describes wine (either as part of a firm's promotion efforts or as part of a campaign that communicates the characteristics of an appellation).
What research projects are you working on right now?
Recently I have begun to study the impact of a new free trade proposal between the United States and the European Union, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Agricultural markets receive relatively high levels of support and protection in both regions, and therefore are sensitive to the discussions surrounding the TTIP. In particular, wine is the highest valued agricultural product traded between the United States and the EU, and any reduction in trade barriers from the TTIP has the capacity to generate additional trade in this sector.
How will your research benefit the grape industry?
Overall, the primary objective of my applied research and extension program is to provide timely and useful economic analysis of contemporary issues facing producers of horticultural crops. I hope that the results from my work will help individual wine producers make more informed business decisions, and that they will assist the industry more generally to consider the economic implications of various strategies for promoting wines from New York State.
What was the last wine you enjoyed?
We often drink New York State wines with friends and family, and we still have a soft spot for wines from the Paso Robles region. However, we recently drank a bottle of wine from Walla Walla, Washington (the 2009 Cayuse Cailoux) that I won as part of the Best Paper Award at a wine economics conference, and it was formidable.
Brad Rickard is assistant professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.