Posts Filed Under commentary
I am aware that it’s been a long, oh, I don’t know, five whole minutes since I last talked about a Fix.com article, but the fine folks over at that website have seen fit to publish yet another of my modest attempts at edu-taining the wine soaked masses yearning to be… well… edu-tained.
And so, because I’ve nothing more pressing to do (this nanosecond, anyway), I point you to my Fix.com take on wine prices (why they are what they are, and roughly what to expect with each increasing price band), titled Behind the Tag: The Scoop on Wine Prices. Once again, Fix.com’s images make my words look good.
In the attempts penned to answer the question “why does a wine cost what it costs?” I’ve yet to find any version that cannot be boiled down to the following answer: “because that’s what they think you’ll pay!” Of course, that’s not long enough for a standard article, but the devil’s in those pesky details. And the details are particularly, interestingly, peskily devilish. Like a black hole, a wine’s price incorporates a whole lot of data that isn’t necessarily visible (at least, not at first).
Also interesting, I think, is that the subjectivity of a wine’s upper price point (after normal economies of scale are taken into account) is the entire reason why wine critics have any power whatsoever (think about it…). We often talk about the diffusion of wine criticism, and the dwindling power of traditional wine coverage, but rarely do we make the mental leap to connect that decrease in critics’ power to the increase in wine quality at all price points (itself most probably a result of the earlier efforts of critics calling wines on the carpet… but now we’re well into black-hole-event-horizon-crazy recursive-ness, Interstellar style, so let’s just shut up about it now). Better quality products naturally require less direct critical assessment of their quality, after all.
Anyway… the full Fix.com infographic take on wine prices is embedded below after the jump. Enjoy!
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Ok, geeks; REMAIN CALM.
That’s the message we need to repeat to our geeky wine selves after reading the article “Science has spoken: Big wine doesn’t mean more flavour” by Beppi Crosariol in The Globe and Mail.
In case you missed it, the scoop is that a rather cleverly executed experiment involving 26 “relatively inexperienced wine consumers” who tasted wine and had their noggins MRI scanned revealed that those tasters had a bit more brain activity happening when the wines that they tasted were lighter-bodied and lower in alcohol.
To the tape:
“Contrary to prevailing wine-industry wisdom that most consumers prefer brawn to finesse, the scanner revealed startling images. There was greater activity in the taste-processing regions while the subjects drank the lighter wines. The implication: Lower alcohol encourages stronger attention to aroma and flavour nuances.”
Is this finding interesting? Hell yes.
Is it definitive enough that we can draw any serious conclusions from it? HELL NO!
Also, even if we did draw conclusions from this study, I am not sure those conclusions are where are focus should actually be trained…
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Recently, at the wine industry über-event VinItaly, a group of PR-savvy wine folk gave a presentation titled “30 Lessons in Wine Communication for Italian Brands.”
One of the slides in that presentation was modeled (with my permission) on a tuff-luv style wine PR post I wrote back in June of 2014. With some modifications, primarily to eliminate the use of the phrase “douchebag” in my original piece.
Anyway, the presentation is lengthy, but excellent, and probably ought to be required study material for anyone trying to sell wine in the modern world marketplace. You can safely ignore the “Italian Brands” portion of the title; this wisdom is applicable to any wine region that wants to make a dent in the U.S. marketplace (or just about any other large, well-established, and tech-heavy wine demographic).
Here’s the description of the VinItaly session:
“Reka Haros, Rebecca Hopkins, Cathy Huyghe, Robert Joseph and Damien Wilson offer insight during a Vinitaly session, into the most effective ways to sell Italian wines, especially, but not only, in the US market. The 30 lessons cover packaging, website design, advertising, PR and social media.”
And here’s the lesson material. School is officially in session, beeeeaaaaatches!
This little meme-type-thingy that I generated several days ago got a bit of traction on The Book of Face, and so I thought that I’d elaborate a bit on the position behind it (friends of mine will enjoy the RDJ inclusion, since they are constantly telling me “dude, you are so RDJ as Tony Stark, except you are Tony Snark!!!”):
Seriously, people, can we just stop shoving wine scores into the faces of media types?
Here’s the deal:
I know that you’re justifiably proud of the scores that your wine received from [ insert major wine publication here ]. By all means, use them to help you sell wine: advertise them, put them on shelf talkers, teach your tasting room staff to wax philosophically in fake humility about them to your winery’s visitors.
I don’t want to know about them, for two (to me) very important reasons:
1) Putting my critic-type-guy hat on for a moment, I’d rather not know what other critic-type-people have said about your wine. I don’t want it to influence me, even if subconsciously, so I strongly feel it’s best to just not go there until I’ve had a chance to taste it (usually using a very different process than what’s employed at those publications) and have at least formulated the genesis of an opinion on my own. What you’re implying by continually mentioning the score is that if I disagree with it, then you will think that one of us is wrong (and I am pretty sure that I know which of us that will be).
2) As a knowledgeable wine consumer, I might find a score helpful, and I might not. It’s not that simple; it depends on who is giving the score, their history of such scores, etc., etc., etc. I know what I like, from a purely subjective point of view, and so I’ll just formulate my own opinion on how good your wine is for me (thankyouverymuch). By the way, I strongly suspect, given the fact that it’s easier than every before for wine consumers to become knowledgeable, that I am not the only person buying wine for personal consumption who feels this way.
So… can we be done here, please?