Posts Filed Under wine news

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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Dropping The Mic On Online Wine ROI (TMRW Engine’s 2016 Digital Wine Report)

Vinted on May 17, 2016 binned in wine news, wine publications
TMRW Engine 2016 report 1

image: TMRW Engine

So much of the material upon which 1WD was built consists, essentially, of opinion pieces (in fact, four or five years ago I sat on a panel focused specifically on opinion writing alongside Lettie Teague and Jon Bonne, about which I imagine both of whom are still scratching their heads).

But over the years, I’ve tempered (well… by my standards, anyway) the opinion-heavy pieces here in favor of conclusions that can be drawn from data. The older that I get, the more I want to see opinion bolstered by something other than the biased, fallible memories of people’s experiences (including my own).

Which is why I get royally pissed at the the wine world’s penchant for defaulting to the data-devoid opinions of entrenched personalities, particularly when it comes to denying the return on investment (ROI from here on out) of wine online (usually with the concept of social media directly in the cross-hairs).

While it seems common sense that their must be at least some ROI for wine brands in talking directly with their consumers (which is part and parcel of what social media online can catalyze), remember that data trump opinions, even when those opinions align perfectly with common sense.

Fortunately, the wine world now has some compelling data that demonstrate a plausible link between online social interactions and ROI. Yes, in terms of real people actually spending real money on wine

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No, That Oral Microbiota Study Did Not Invalidate The History Of Wine Tasting

Vinted on April 5, 2016 binned in commentary, wine news

Let’s start with the short version: we all need to calm the hell down.

If social media reaction is any indication, the wine world is losing its shiz over the potential implications of an interesting study highlighted recently on The Academic Wino blog by Becca Yeamans-Irwin. Why we seem to go through this in April of each year I don’t know, but maybe the pursuit of an answer to that is worthy of its own study?

Anyway, according to that blog post, a 2015 study from the journal Food Chemistry suggests the following (quoted from the article):

“…it is possible that the perception of different wine aromas can be altered by physiological factors like mouth temperature, saliva composition, or the oral microbial community present in each individuals’ mouths.”

The study found that an individual’s unique oral microbiota makeup is capable of hydrolyzing certain compounds found in both grapes and in wine, thus changing how the wine’s flavor and aromas are perceived on an individual basis. The process potentially gives some scientific explanation as to why individuals perceive different aromatic and flavor aspects when tasting the same wine. All of which lead Yeamans-Irwin to conclude that

“This [sic] result could have profound implications on how we understand wine tasting and the perception of aromas and flavors for any given wine.”

The problem is that a lot of people seem to be ignoring the “could” part of her statement…

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