Posts Filed Under commentary
A couple of weeks ago, I cropped up in two totally unrelated places on the “Global Interwebs” – Playboy.com (which you expected, right?) and The Washington Post (which, admit it, you didn’t expect).
The Washington Post article, titled Some wineries adding a little hip to swirl, sniff and sip routine, was one of those rare instances where I was interviewed for a wine piece and then was actually quoted in the finished work. The quotes I’ve given to reporters have been so… well, probably so damned odd that my contribution to most wine-related article interviews seem to hit the cutting room floor more often than they do any column space. [ UPDATE: the original WP article link is DOA, but looks like Yahoo! News also picked it up so changed links to point to that version. Sorry! ]
I thought it worth mentioning because this particular AP article focused on wineries that were bucking the status quo in order to make trips to their tasting rooms more fun (imagine! the audacity!); the author had nice things to say about recent efforts in that space by Raymond Vineyards, Judd’s Hill and Brooklyn Winery, and at one point quotes me:
“The wine world’s about eight years behind everything with the exception of bottling lines and production techniques,” he says with a laugh.
The thing is, I don’t really recall laughing about it (at least not on the inside); if I did, it was I-work-in-an-office-and-this-Dilbert-strip-is-funny-but-it-also-really-hurts-because-life-in-my-office-is-really-like-that funny. I honestly believe that the wine world generally functions that far behind most other industries, and as amazing as the wine biz is, that lag is one of the most painful things about trying to get anything moving in the biz.
Anyway… on to happier topics…
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I hate this debate.
Actually, I love the debate, I just hate the way it’s being presented; namely, without a single shred of hard evidence to back up the claims that wine blogs are now dinosaurs.
People, wine blogging is, quite literally, about Kindergarten age. Wine blogging has been around for something like 7 years, depending on what you take to be the first official wine blog. Wine blogging can barely tie its own shoes or successfully write a lowercase “m” on its first try, and now it’s no longer cool, it’s going the way of the Dodo bird?
Attention all those who would say that wine blogging has lost its sheen, failed to deliver on any of its promises, or has otherwise become passé: some hard evidence points directly to the contrary. You all remember evidence, right? Numbers… from data… the stuff from which we can actually start to draw the basis of conclusions without falling prey to our pronouncements being based solely on the shifting sands of subjective opinoin? That stuff?
Well, that stuff all tells a very different story…
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That’s the short version.
Here’s the slightly longer version:
Seriously, the debate (10 million plus search results, and counting!) over the perceived consumer trend towards lower alcohol wines (I’ve yet to see any convincing, hard data supporting this claim, by the way, in terms of any significant percentage shift of sales towards lower abv wines specifically because they’re lower abv wines) tells us precisely bupkis about the future of fine wine purchases.
We live in the golden age of consumer choice when it comes to fine wine sales, with more wine available of higher quality than at probably any other time in human history. If there’s a shift in U.S. wine consumer preferences, let’s hope the continuing democratization of that tastemaker opinion leads it towards favoring balanced wines, wines that taste great at 16% abv or 8% abv. (I’ve had wines that do, at both abv points, by the way).
There’s certainly research on public opinion seemingly favoring low alcohol wines, yes, and for sure there’s a shift in tastemaker opinion towards lower abv wines (to the point where some consider it “a mistake that is not recognized by most wine critics”), all of which eventually will probably sway a small percentage of the market (the tiney percentage that follows these things) towards buying wines with more restrained alcohol levels. But high abv wines – just like low ones – are not going away anytime soon. Debating whether or not one is superior to the other is a waste of time.
I’d rather spend that time drinking a balanced wine, despite the fact that even that pursuit is under attack already. Or several of them, actually, all finding their vinous fulcrum points at various places along the continuum of fruitiness, raciness, booze, grip, and what-have-you. Because like porn, we know balance when we encounter it, and we know when it’s poor, decent, or extraordinary attempt (okay, so the porn comparison doesn’t quite go the whole distance here…). No two wines are going to achieve that true balance in quite the same way, and it’s in the encountering of those differences where we’ll find some of the most potent spells in all of the slightly-mad but thoroughly-magical bottled world we call fine wine.
I’ve been churning out content on 1WineDude.com for about five years, and over the last year or two articles have been posted here just about five days a week.
Total cost to you, aside from your time and smarties, is somewhere around $0.00.
But today… Today, I’m asking you to pay up. But not to me.
Today I’m asking you to pay it forward and donate to the Alzheimer’s Association in the name of my grandmother Lucille, a breast cancer survivor who succumbed to Alzheimer’s when in her 90s, and whose birthday I’d be celebrating this week if she were still alive.
$5 is the minimum donation. That’s it – five bucks to help make the world a better place in the future, five bucks to pay it forward so that someone else’s family will have grandparents who remember their faces and names until the day that they die, and not have their memories robbed from them by Alzheimer’s. And as you’re helping to make a difference, you might win something, too…
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