Posts Filed Under best of

The Hopeless Quest To Define Wines Of True Character (Or “Screw The Ratings, Even Mine”)

Vinted on August 17, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro, zen wine

Roughly two months ago, in the follow-on discussions on a feature on the wines of Lodi producer Matt Powell, a reader named Olivier chimed on with some though-provoking questions, the kind that, for me, define the 1WD readership because they exponentially increase the value of the content on this little ol’ website.

The discussion was around how we might define wines of “true character,” and it ended with a bit of a challenge from Olivier:

“…[It] would be nice to dig into detailed info (taste/aroma/flavors) that differentiate wines of true character and C+/B- wines. I have my own idea, but listening to others and getting examples would be great and very educational.”

That’s the kind of request that often sends me so far down the wine world rabbit hole that I’m seeing Jules Verne style dinosaurs.  In other words, the really fun kind.

We are certainly rabbit-hole bound, because in the course of thinking about this question, I had to get deep into the very heart of wine ratings.

And I’ve determined that all of them (mine included) kind of suck, even if they do provide value to a lot of people (and they do), and even if they help sell wine (and they do).

Once again, don your miner’s hat, the one with integrated flashlight bulb and intercom link, because you’re gonna need it where we’re going

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Why Every Wine Lover Should Have A Wine Blog

Vinted on August 8, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, wine appreciation, wine blogging

If you love wine, you can do something that costs $0.00 and almost certainly will up your wine appreciation and wine tasting I.Q. score varios puntos. Namely, start a wine blog.

Right now.  It will take you less than ten minutes.  Go to wordpress.com and create a blog, and your first post can be as simple as “hey, I really think I dig wine, and I want to talk about it.”

You shouldn’t expect anyone to read it yet, but that’s not the point.  The point is to journal your own personal journey with wine.

I can feel the collective groan of WineSpectator.com forum members, other wine bloggers, and print media at the suggestion that every Tom, Dick, Harry, Sally, and Bacchus start churning out their own personal impressions on the wines that they try and how it affects their lives.

And I’m here today to tell those people to go shove it.

Start a wine blog, and piss all of them off.  Do it because it will help you learn about wine, because it will help you share some of your wine experiences with your friends, because it will encourage you to taste more and more wine and get to know your own wine preferences better.

But most of all, do it because it’s good for the wine industry if you start blogging about wine, because the positives of every additional ounce added to the volume of the current wine media sea change far, far outweigh the potential negatives. More on that in a minute.

You will hear from many that you shouldn’t, of course, for a large variety of reasons. So let’s just call bullsh*t on just about every one of the reasons right now…

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Most People Will Never Get Into Wine – And Why That’s OK (The Launch of Crushd, And Analyzing The Wine Geek Pyramid at WBC11)

Vinted on August 3, 2011 binned in best of, going pro, wine bloggers conference

Chances are pretty high that, if you’re reading this (and you’re reading this), you are a wine geek.

And by “wine geek,” I mean that you are atop the U.S. wine consumer pyramid (that’s if you’re living in the U.S., of course – those of you outside the U.S. are just gonna have to play along on this one). As in, the tippy, tippy, holy-crap-it’s-a-looooong-way-down-from-here, tippy-top of the pyramid.

And it doesn’t even matter if you consider yourself an avid oenophile or not – simply by virtue of treating wine with any semblance of importance in your life, you’ve firmly entrenched yourself in wine-geek-out territory, at least when compared with the general consumer-going public in America.

And don’t worry about it…. because it’s okay.

In fact, I’m going to explain why that’s not only okay, but that you ought to revel in the fact that you are in the upper echelon of the wine-buying U.S. public. In fact, I’m going to explain why it’s downright awesome.  After a bit of exposition, of course.  C’mon, you think I’m gonna let this thing go under 1300 words?  Are you nuts?

It all came to me after day one of the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference, during a steamy, 8-billion degree, 5000% humidity evening in downtown Charlottesville (I might have exaggerated that last bit), in which a bleary-eyed (due to travel-, conference-, weather-, and wine-induced-fatigue) yours truly took part in an off-premise “fireside chat” on the topic of Wine & Tech, which eventually turned about as heated as the sweltering northern Virginia night.

The event was organized by wine industry think-tank group Vintank and Crushd (the team behind a newly-released iPhone wine-journaling app). Thankfully (since most of us were already melting through our clothing) there was no actual fire was lit at the host venue (Orzo Kitchen & Wine Bar), and to assist (as if we needed it) getting our tongues wagging and opinions flowing, there were several interesting Rioja wines being poured courtesy of Vibrant Rioja (I can now attest personally to the tastiness of a well-chilled 2010 Marques de Caceres dry white Rioja on a stiflingly sultry Virginia Summer evening, by the way)…

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Wake Up, Wine People: Boomers Won’t Be Buying Your Wine Forever

Vinted on July 20, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro, wine industry events

Although the conclusion implied in the title of today’s post probably seems obvious to many (i.e., a company/brand has to eventually court younger customers because older customers will not be able to buy their products forever), it’s worth providing some background (and a pertinent example), because otherwise this post would be really, really short (and god knows I’m not a fan of that – pithy, yes, but succinct, no).

Aaaaaand… I’ve got Millennial wine interaction on my mind, given the topic of this weekend’s panel discussion at the upcoming 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference

Below is an embed of a podcast created and originally posted by the guys over at (the excellent) Wine Biz Radio, which in part covers the Nomacorc-sponsored “Marketing to the Next Generation of Wine Consumers” conference held at the CIA in Napa (here’s some of my vid from the same event – and yes, this is probably the last time I’m gonna talk about it, okay?).  Listening to the WBR episode reminded me that some (probably most) wine producers and/or their PR folks still aren’t talking to Millennials in a serious way, and if they are, they likely aren’t doing it in the way that Millennials themselves would prefer.

I’m not a Millennial, so don’t take my word for it – listen to the podcast: at about the 56-minute mark, WBR host Randy and I talk to Kayla Koroush, a twenty-something Millennial who more-or-less told the entire audience during my panel at the event that she was age-profiled when visiting a winery tasting room in California. I.e., no one wanted to talk to her, take her seriously, or treat her as an educated consumer (and, therefore, a likely potential customer).

The trouble with that approach, aside from it being economically stupid prima facie, is that this particular young woman was actually a very educated consumer – she works at a winery.  And she was willing to stand up and talk about her experience at an industry event attended by a few hundred people, who in turn went on to tweet, facebook-post and write about it…

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