Posts Filed Under best of

Who Has The Most Influence On The Wines That We Buy?

Vinted on June 1, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro, wine appreciation, wine buying

Several days ago, a lively discussion took place here in the comments on a post (okay, “rant”) that challenged wineries in emerging wine regions to focus on fewer, higher-quality bottlings, and not to pawn off poorly-made (or not-quite-ready-for-prime-time experimental) wines onto customers at their tasting rooms (a scenario which I’ve experienced first-hand).

In those comments, frequent-visitor and formidable-wine-blogger-in-his-own-right Thomas Pellechia raised a couple of fascinating related questions, about which he, in turn, challenged me to write:

“…is there or should there be a relationship between what the wine ‘press’ prefers and what the wine ‘tourists’ buy? And who’s got the upper hand when it comes to establishing the success of a winery?”

Put another way, if critics say a wine really sucks, how relative of a measure is it?  Do people act on that assessment when it comes to buying wine?  And if they do, should they?  Could a winery still manage to pawn off its crappy stuff to newbie consumers in the tasting room, even if critics pan the bejeezus out of it?

Not easy questions to tackle.  In fact, they’re like trying to tackle Jerome Bettis in his heyday.  If I’d have had any clue just how deep a rabbit hole I’d be diving into after promising Thom I’d take on the topic, I would have told him (politely) to get bent and stop leaving such profound comments on my blog.

And this rabbit hole goes pretty deep, boy.  What I found in my quick-and-dirty investigation reveals a lot about how we buy wine, calls into question the future relevance of wine criticism generally (including my own modest contribution to that sphere), and tells us why it still might be possible for wineries to close many a tasting room sale on their crappiest offerings.

So take the red pill, if you dare, and I’ll show you just how deep the rabbit-hole goes…

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Hey Winemakers In Emerging Wine Regions: Stop Selling A Gazillion Varietal Wines Already!

Vinted on May 16, 2011 binned in best of, commentary

“Doesn’t mean you should
Just because you can
It doesn’t mean you should
Just because you can
Like Abraham and Ishmael
Fighting over sand
It doesn’t mean you should
Just because you can.”

– “Facts of Life” by King Crimson

Seriously, people.  Stop it.  Please.

It’s getting embarrassing now.

I get that newer wine areas need to experiment.  I get that you’re just exploring the multi-facets of your terroir.  I get that we don’t yet know which grapes will really sing when grown on your land.

I just don’t get why people should be sold the results of your experiment when they suck (the result, I mean, not the people). When those grapes don’t sing mellifluously, and instead let out what we refer to in my band as a “brown note” – well… why the hell should people pay out good hard-earned cash for that crappy experience?

I know what you’re going to tell me: Hey, smarty-pants, people come in asking where’s the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, so I have to grow them and make varietal wines out of them!

I’m calling bullsh*t on that right now – and it’s in your own best interests, because it’s a totally bogus business strategy

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1WineDude TV Episode 32: Things The Wine Industry Needs To Hear (The Gary Vaynerchuk Interview And Keynote Highlights From #NomWineConf 2011)

Vinted on April 13, 2011 binned in 1WineDude TV, best of, going pro, interviews, on the road, wine industry events

In today’s episode, you get highlights from wine personality and social media / business guru Gary Vaynerchuk‘s keynote speech at the synthetic cork producer Nomacorc-sponsored "Marketing to the Next Generation of Wine Consumers" conference that took place in Napa last week (at the beautiful Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena). They are things the wine industry probably doesn’t want to hear – but they desperately need to hear them. 

I was part of panel at the event, in which we riffed on the main themes espoused by Gary in his fantastic keynote speech (which delivered some much-needed stern messages to the Napa wine industry – for a distillation of some of those messages, check out my article later this week on the Wines.com blog).  If anyone who attended still thinks that Gary isn’t the real deal after his keynote, then they have their heads shoved into a part of their anatomy that requires a belly-button-window installation for them to see what’s really going on.  Most importantly, Gary also finally admits that I am a handsome man (though I refrained from asking him to sign my chest as one male attendee did – thankfully I did NOT get that on video).

In today’s vid (at the 10:10 mark) I interview Gary about his new book, The Thank You Economy (a book that, well, crushes his previous release Crush It! and is Seth-Godin-level good – and will certainly further brighten his already-nearly-blindingly-brilliant star in the social media space). I also get his take on how different wine regions of the world are performing in terms of engaging their customers (hint: not well).

Enjoy (and make sure to get Gary’s new app at DailyGrape.com while you’re at it)!

 
Some other resources: WineBusiness.com has a pretty cool list of quotes from Gary’s keynote, and you can get a feel for the highlights of the day through the twitter feed (VinoCartel.com has also put together a twitter stream from the presenters and attendees).
 
By the way… Nomacorc makes a synthetic wine bottle closure that you can actually extract pretty easily with a corkscrew, so if I were a natural cork producer I’d be worried right now(although in that case I’d already be worried, having lost gobs of market share in the last few years because my product has something like a 2% failure rate… whatever…).
 
Cheers!
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