Posts Filed Under commentary
The November 23, 2009 edition of the New Yorker contains a fascinating article by Evan Osnos titled “Letter From China – Reds: The creation of a wine-loving class.”
The article recounts a short period in the history of the A.S.C. Fine Wines company based in Beijing and run by two Canadians (a father-and-son team by the name of St. Pierre). Just as interesting as the trials and tribulations of the St. Pierre clan is the clear picture that Osnos’ article paints of fine wine consumption in China.
I’ll share some of those numbers with you in a moment, but before I do, let’s get the bottom line conclusion out of the way now: anyone who doesn’t think that China is not among the major players – if not the major player – in the world fine wine market needs to have a belly-button window installed (think about it… you’ll get it).
In a less than 15 years, China’s upper-middle class has gone from a “let’s mix red wine with soda” drinking culture to a group of savvy if star-struck fine wine and dining folk right out of a hackneyed, First-Growth-worshipping Wine Spectator lifestyle piece.
Welcome to the new world of international wine…
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As my twitter friends are already (painfully) aware, I’ve been sick for the better part of two weeks. What began as a bout with either a bad cold or a mild flu became a full-on assault from a (very) nasty case of bronchitis. Fever, coughing, meds, antibiotics, and definitely no wine.
It was suggested to me by a few folks via twitter that I should write about the experience of my forced abstinence. Initially I was hesitant, because no one wants to read about somebody hacking up brown goo, getting no sleep, and taking various meds – well, maybe only medical students, and they’re sure to find more interesting (read: more virulent, nasty and violent) cases than mine.
I promise no references to sticky brown lung goo. Or does that last sentence count?
Anyway… truth be told, I needed the break from booze, because I’ve been doing too much wine drinking and not enough wine tasting, and that was seriously messing with my cholesterol numbers. But little did I know that my 12 days of forced abstinence would involve codeine, glam-metal icons KISS, and actual gratitude towards my illness.
I am serious about the gratitude. And about KISS. And the Humpty Dance. This will all make sense in a minute or two… or maybe not, I dunno, I was pretty hopped up on some codeine meds.
So, here it is, because you asked for it – my pseudo-diary from “The 12 Days of Abstinence!”…
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A hearty shout-out to Randy and Kaz, the hosts of the excellent KVSY radio program and on-line podcast Wine Biz Radio, were very kind in mentioning and discussing my recent post on how to better appreciate wine despite the light-speed pace of how we consumers tend to evaluate our purchases these days. The WBR podcast also includes an in-studio interview with August Sebastiani, and a phone interview with uber-social media man Gary Vaynerchuk to discuss his best-seller book Crush It – so it’s worth a listen even if you have no interest in what they they had to say about my recent article (of course, if you have no interest in what they had to say about my recent article then I’d seriously question why you’re spending any time reading this article, but hey, it’s your time…).
The podcast is titled Leaving The Nest, in reference to the Sebastiani boys going out on their on in terms of their wine brands, but I found it eerily suitable to the short discussion that Kaz and Randy had about my post. Randy called it “the best wine blog post ever” – a bit too superlative, even for me, but I was honored and touched by the sentiment. Especially considering that I almost didn’t run the article because I felt I didn’t quite catch the vibe and continuity in it that I was aiming for – so it almost became a throwaway piece.
Leaving The Nest – that really sums up how I feel after publishing the posts on the virtual pages of 1WineDude.com, because I never really know where the conversation is going to lead after an article has gone live. And I love that. I love that I could never, ever predict a reaction like Randy’s, or the types of challenges, stories, anecdotes, questions, and insights that I consistently read from the comments made by 1WineDude readers. By people like YOU.
Honestly, it’s the dialog with you that keeps me going on this blog. That and the opportunity to drink nice wine while outlaying the smallest amount of cash possible.
I mean, I try to respond to as many comments as I can, because the main difference between wine blogging and printed wine media is the fact that no article is “finished” when it’s posted on a blog – it’s a discussion, and evolution in which you take part and in which your role is essential to teasing out the most interesting aspects. It’s an aspect that is impossible in printed media, it’s what makes blogging unique, and it turns an otherwise “finished” statement into a jazz composition – I lay out the framework, and you guys and gals add the solos, the tempo and key changes; YOU are the ones who really make it come alive.
So, whenever you get the chance this week, when you’re sipping some wine with dinner or are out at a bar with friends, let’s raise a glass together – Here’s to the opportunity to continue to make kick-ass, beautiful wine blogging music with you for a long time to come!
Meet the New Boss
Same as the Old Boss
– Pete Townshend, Won’t Get Fooled Again
I get a lot of wine samples (and no, I have not yet properly pimped out my wine storage to accommodate them all). I know that many of you (because you’ve told me) hate it when I say that, because supposedly this is some sort of wonderful problem to have. However, that position is based on two assumptions that generally are totally wrong:
- The wine samples are primarily for my enjoyment.
- The wine samples are primarily very good wine (or, alternatively, the wine samples primary purpose is to keep me intoxicated).
The fact of the matter is that neither are true (the samples are for evaluation and most of them are not ‘knock-yer-socks-off’ good), so I don’t buy the argument that I’m a dick for discussing issues I might have with keeping up with wine samples (I could buy alternative arguments for why I’m a dick, however). I’m not going to complain if a winery producing limited amounts of excellent wine sends me a sample or two, because I know that most of you (because you told me) want me to write about those wines. But, in reflection of the wine market in general, those ‘special’ wines reflect maybe 2% of the samples sent to me.
I’m telling you this because, if my sample profile is any indication, the wine market is focusing on budget/value, and targeting the general wine consumer using low price points. Common sense would suggest that, in this time of economic meltdown challenge, the focus on producing budget wine is a logical new development in the wine market.
Logical conclusion, but wrong…
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