Posts Filed Under commentary

K is For K-rap Lawsuit? (The First Time I’ve Banned a Wine Product)

Vinted on October 5, 2010 binned in commentary

Hopefully it will be the last time, as well.

[ Also, please be forewarned that this post contains several references to the concept of poop. ]

By now, the more on-line socially active of you (sounds sexy!) will have not only heard about the kerfuckle over at Blake Gray’s excellent blog The Gray Market Report between some the blog’s Anonymous commenters and K Vintners winemaker Charles Smith.

Since the announcement of the lawsuit (which, in a nutshell, centers on a complaint of libel that the Anonymous commenters on the original GMR post), lots of blogs have reacted to various aspects of the suit.

I’m not going to talk about any of that.

I’m going to talk about my reaction to what I consider a totally frivolous lawsuit, the primary purpose of which, as far as a I can discern, is to stimulate economic recovery for the law industry while causing headaches for Blake Gray, Google, and anyone else involved.

My reaction: K Vintners will never again be mentioned in the virtual pages of 1WineDude.com, unless Charles Smith and K publicly take a different approach in all of this, and quickly. The primary reasons for such a drastic measure?

  1. I don’t want 1WineDude.com readers having to worry about being wrapped up in lawsuits.
  2. I won’t have 1WineDude.com readers treated like they have the brains of poop-flinging monkeys – which is essentially what Smith and K are doing by filing this type of lawsuit; they’re sort of telling you that you are unable to discern a smarmy, anonymous comment from the reasonable musings and opinions of an intelligent blog reader.

I sincerely hope this is the only time I will ever have to do something like this; but for now, Smith can stick with the many accolades for his wines from the traditional press, where he can feel safe and secure that people can’t respond anywhere near as quickly; and, presumably, let his ego grow to monstrous proportions in the meantime…

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Alive And Kicking: Has NY Wine Come Of Age?

Vinted on September 22, 2010 binned in best of, commentary, wine review

Ten years ago, on a trip with friends to New York’s Finger Lakes wine country, I bought a few bottles of bubbly.

I was not a pseudo-wine-pro back then; I was an avid consumer (that term still applies!), and the majority of my vacation travel was centered around wine exploration.  I had a budding interest, passionate zeal, and I knew what I liked though I would have had a lot more trouble telling you why, or explaining how, a wine I liked got to that point.

It was one of those gorgeous sunny Autumn days that was quickly turning into a chilly Autumn evening (no sun = no heat) and most of the Finger Lakes tasting rooms were closed or moments-away-from closing; we happened upon what was then a joint-producer tasting room featuring only local sparkling wines.

I knew what I liked, and I really liked the 2000 Chateau Frank Brut that evening.  So, my girlfriend and I bought some.

Ten years later, at the surprise 50th birthday party of one of dear friends (who helped us greatly in getting through the tough times leading up to the recent loss of our Weimaraner, Samson, and to whom we gave a bottle of 2007 Quinta do Vesuvio so you know we love her), I had occasion to open the 2000 Chateau Frank Brut – Dr. Frank is one of the birthday girl’s favorite wine producers (alongside the most recent offering of Chateau Frank’s non-vintage Riesling sparkler, Célèbre Cremant).

And it rocked.

The fruit had started to subside a bit, but what remained was bready, lively, and wonderful; still fresh, still food-friendly, still (in the words of Simple Minds) Alive & Kicking.

An apt comparison, it turns out, for the state of NY wine in general…

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China: The Next Big Thing In Wine and Continued Totalitarian Oppression

Vinted on September 1, 2010 binned in commentary

Asia, as most of you are already aware, is THE NEXT BIG THING in wine consumption.  China, of course, is the current big thing in Asia, which means that the Chinese market is THE NEXT BIG THING in wine consumption.  So big, it must be stated IN ALL CAPS!

This is not news – it’s all over the place in print and on-line.  Most of the talk of the Chinese market in the wine community is cloudy, amorphous, and short on understanding of the real scope of the potential dollars involved.  And the real scope is real, real BIG.

Here’s a recent quote from Wines-Info.com on Chinese wine consumption trends, to give you some perspective on what a bold, capitalized and italicized BIG represents:

The current situation in China is that domestic wine production doesn’t meet its market’s need, which has resulted in surge growth of imported wine. Statistics show that imported bottled wine to China has increased 2368% since 2002 to 2009. With bigger number of Chinese enterprises joining to wine importing business, more foreign vintners and wineries from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, U.S., Chile, Argentina, etc. also step into Chinese market, sharing the hope of wine bonanza in China.”

No, that’s not a typo. That’s an increase of over two thousand percent of wine coming in from other countries to fill the demand created by the emergence of a bona-fide middle class in the Chinese economy. In less than ten years. YOWZA.

My bruthah-from-anothah-muthah Jeff Lefevere over at the award-winning GoodGrape.com, recently highlighted some of the Chinese wine market numbers – and they’re similarly downright shocking:

It’s anybody’s guess how China will impact the domestic wine business, but we know that the existing auction market and Bordeaux futures are largely being driven by the Chinese. According to reports, US wine exports to Hong Kong totaled $49 million in 2009-2010.  And, it’s been said that the U.S. wants to be the number one exporter of wine to Hong Kong and mainland China.

That’s a fair chunk of change – and an impressive commitment by the U.S.  And one in which I think they should be deeply cautious, because our businesses are so busy looking at the dollar signs that they aren’t seeing the imprisonments, tortures, and executions that made those dollar signs so big…

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