Posts Filed Under commentary

Hey, Wine Ladies! Take The Power Back!

Vinted on June 22, 2016 binned in commentary, wine news

How many of you caught the recent diatribes by both Guy Woodward (of Harpers) and Monika Elling (of Foundations Marketing Group in New York City) regarding the under-representation of women in the wine biz?

This quote from Elling summarizes the view pretty succinctly:

“I’ve been in the business some time and experienced it from several angles, and in the US specifically, where women buy over 70% of the total wine sold, the people that are gatekeepers are 99.9% men, so there in itself lies a massive disconnect… The wine industry by and large globally is stuck in another century, and despite a tremendous amount of change on the production side to bring that up to speed, the other elements show an entire sector woefully lacking is communication and marketing side.”

Now, before I go ahead and agree with this – which I will – and offer my own thoughts on what could be done to help even the playing field, I feel compelled to first point out that, to me, the articles linked above are misleading.

I say this not because we all simply like to bitch and moan about stuff in the wine biz (which we do, male and female alike).

We drink and we complain about thingsI say this because we can’t ignore the fact that three of the most influential consumer-facing wine publications – JancisRobinson.com, The Wine Advocate, and Wine Enthusiast – are all essentially helmed by women. Think about that for a minute, because it’s important.

While women certainly are not, at the time of this writing, represented proportionally to their consumer buying influence in positions of power throughout the wine trade, one could certainly argue that the are already achieving dominance within certain sectors of the wine biz. At least, they are as measured by holding positions of power in media that have considerable influence with both consumers and professional wine purchasers.

Ok, having said that… yeah, I agree that the wine biz, by most other counts, is still a club for white dudes. Usually older ones, at that.

There is, however, one simple way in which women winemakers, women farmers, women importers, and women PR reps can start to take the power back, and thus hopefully begin to tilt the tide of representation more fairly in line with their consumer buying majority…

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In Other Words, The Wine Biz Is Pretty F*cked Up (Thoughts On The Closure Of IPOB)

Vinted on May 31, 2016 binned in commentary, wine news

The wine media world has been tripping over itself to cover the recently-announced ceasing of operations by In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB), an organization of producers that held tastings of wines that fit what the organizers and their tasting panel deemed to be New World wines of particularly elegant expression. In other words, wines that were generally less fruit-bomb, and more high-acid/low-booze.

So much is being said about IPOB’s closure and what that means for the cold culture war of U.S. wine styles that, for me, we’ve lost sight of the most profound implication of that battle: its complete uselessness draws an ugly, unforgiving, damn-that’s-bright-’cause-it’s-last-call-at-the-bar  illumination on just how very fucked up the wine business is right now.

For some of us who have been watching and covering IPOB since its inception, their organized tastings were a bit of fresh air; after all, why not expose wine consumers and media-types to a style of wine that is impeccably made, but offers an alternative to the high-octane, fruit-at-all-costs style of U.S. wine that has, by any reasonable account, dominated vinous press coverage for nearly three decades?

Apparently, the wine business is, in fact, so fucked up that, despite the fact that over thirty-five billion bottles of wine are released into the market every year, any style that doesn’t match up to that which has been primarily lauded in mainstream wine press is viewed as “wrong…”

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Why You Should Care When The Clock Strikes Wine O’Clock (Thoughts On The Enolytics 2016 Report)

Vinted on April 27, 2016 binned in commentary, wine publications

My first reaction to the recently-published study/synopsis on “Wine O’Clock” issued by the new firm Enolytics:

Well… yeah… no sh*t!

My second reaction to the recently-published study/synopsis on “Wine O’Clock” issued by the new firm Enolytics:

Wait… holy crap! This is actually important (and I am an idiot)!

At first blush, you might have the same misguided reaction to the report that I did (following the link above, you can read the free version; the full report will set you back $399). Essentially, the study suggests that wine consumers are most willing to engage in content and purchase research about wine during the time that you would most likely guess that they’re drinking the stuff. To wit, here’s a screen-print from the free version of the report:

Wine O’Clock 2016

image: enolytics.com

There you go; we ramp up on such activity from about 4-5PM to 9PM, local time. I don’t know about you, but if you asked me when Wine O’Clock was, I’d have guessed those exact times with an accuracy of about 30 minutes on either side. The report goes on to state:

“Wine consumer engagement increases sharply beginning at 4pm and declines sharply after 9pm (local time).”

So… we start engaging about wine when we imagine drinking the stuff right before dinner, and stop when we are either too drunk to care, need to put the kids to bed, or fall into a stupor of self-loathing and cry ourselves to sleep, etc.

Now, before you succumb to the temptation to declare “no shit!” and pour yourself a glass (assuming it’s around 4PM local time), there’s more to this story that you need to see. Take a quick peek under the kimono of the Wine O’Clock report, and (assuming it’s closer to 4PM local time for you than 9PM, and you’re still sober enough), you’ll see why it’s actually pretty important info. for the wine world…

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That *Other* Antidote To Bordeaux-Bashing

Vinted on April 12, 2016 binned in commentary

As reported by Dr. Vino (and elsewhere), much-celebrated (and almost-as-often-maligned) consultant winemaker Michel Rolland was recently asked if there was an antidote to “Bordeaux-bashing” (i.e., a backlash against the Bordeaux region in general – and its most storied houses, in particular – for producing wines that are increasingly too similar and increasingly too expensive).

You can read Rolland’s response in the original French, if that’s your motif; I offer the following English translation (as supplied automatically via Google):

“There is no antidote to stupidity. It is increasingly monumental. For me, 2015 is a great vintage. There are [those] too stupid to notice. We will notice in ten years, as usual. We are in a world without balls, we live with no balls. Full stop. There is not a journalist [who] will notice. Anyway, there is not a journalist who has weight in the world today. It has nothing to do with the market. They can say, write and think what they want, everyone cares at the fortieth year! When they know that, maybe they will start to become humble. Not to become smart, because it will be difficult, but to think differently.”

In other words, it’s not Bordeaux that is wrong, it’s all of the journalists covering Bordeaux that are wrong.

Hmmm.  Well.

Let’s discuss this little Rolland rant in a bit more detail…

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