Posts Filed Under wine news
Folks, we’re getting old.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full five years since my friend, fellow wine competition judge, all-around decent guy, and prolific author Michael Cervin assembled the last edition of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the US Wine Industry. So much has changed in those ensuing five revolutions around the Sun that it’s simply mind-boggling to consider the volume… wow, I’m only two minutes into penning this and I already need a drink…!
Intowine.com has recently published Michael’s 2018 version of that US wine biz influencer list, and as always the results are almost equal parts educational, seemingly-inevitable, and controversial (at least one of the names from this year’s list has been associated with infamous wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan). While I don’t have detailed insight into how this list gets constructed, I do know that Michael has, in previous incarnations, canvased industry professionals of various stripes regarding who they see as helping to (directly or indirectly) move the markets when it comes to wine, and frequency of mention from those results was a key determinant for if and where names are placed on the list.
I think it’s worth unpacking the results of the 2018 influencer list, and so unpack them we shall…
Read the rest of this stuff »
Staying Classy with bubbles in San Diego
Once again, I had both the pleasure and the honor of judging at the annual Critics Challenge wine competition, held in (stay classy!) San Diego and helmed by WineReviewOnline.com‘s Robert Whitley. This year, I was paired up with talented author Linda Murphy (whose book American Wine you should absolutely check out, because it kicks all kinds of ass).
Critics Challenge is top-notch, with excellent, experienced judges and a killer-good volunteer crew (yeah, I don’t understand why they keep inviting me back, either). So the results should, I’d argue, be taken seriously, and you can check out the full list of 2018 medal winners right now at http://www.criticschallenge.com/results.htm.
I wanted to highlight the wines that Linda and I collectively awarded Platinum, as there are some fantastic wines – several of which are surprising bargains – in that lineup of winners. This is why we judge them blind, folks! Fortunately for all of us, picking up many of these wines won’t make the bank account seem appreciably lighter…
Read the rest of this stuff »
One of the worst aspects of the current state of political “discourse” in the USA is the penchant of leaders in our government towards vocalizing complete and total falsehoods, whenever and however it furthers their individual and/or party agendas, with seemingly little consequence for their actions.
Where they deem it necessary, they also repeatedly use this tactic to undermine the credibility of any ideas or expert opinions that they find inconvenient to the forwarding of their agenda, even when those ideas and expert opinions are based on (as in the examples of climate change and global warming) data that are incontrovertible. One need not search far, wide, or for long to find examples of this, many of them technically qualifying as libel, slander, or defamation.
Just as the U.S. wine world is not immune from modern cultural and technological shifts, it is, alas, also not immune from this ridiculous embracing of falsehood over fact, or the downward spiral into the cult of “fake” news wherein “truthiness” trumps (pun intended) actual truth in a disgusting sociopathic display of partisan greed, good old fashioned idiocy, or (too often) both.
Interestingly, this trend may be more a factor of generational social shortcomings now that the Baby Boomers are more-or-less in charge of everything political in the USA (an argument made in a cogent and convincing – though albeit overly-opinionated and overly-lengthy – way by Bruce Cannon Gibney in his book A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America). Having said that, in my view, analyzing the reasons behind this worrying trend isn’t nearly as acute a need as is applying the disinfectant of attention. I.e., calling out and rejecting the behavior adamantly and quickly; consider it the intellectual and moral equivalent of weeding, or maybe playing Whack-a-Mole.
Thankfully, that’s just what happened recently when Naked Wines was more-or-less forced to apologize for going as low as the current U.S. political discourse in some of its most recent marketing efforts…
Read the rest of this stuff »
I’d fully intended to provide some peripatetic and yet somehow also sublimely insightful wine review action for you this week (and I’ve much to tell you about my recent jaunt to Israeli wine country, too). But nature has intervened, once again declaring herself the boss, and me her beeeatch, by providing me with a cold/fever combination, and a broken toe.
Anyway, I’m going to actually listen to that harsh task mistress and get up off of my feet for once and just rest and heal. Which means I’ll be delayed in getting things written up here. In the meantime, however, I’d encourage you to check out Wholesale Protection 2018: A Report on Alcohol Wholesaler Campaign Contributions, a new report by the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR), whose Executive Director is my friend Tom Wark. According to the press release, the report “examines the amount of money America’s alcohol middlemen give to state political campaigns, to whom they give it and the differences on a state-by-state level.”
Which basically means that you can see which of your state’s politicians actually kinda-sorta works more for the Booze Wholesaler Man, political-swamp-style, then they actually do for you. Two quick takeaways from my perusal:
1. The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America has some cash, baby, and they are not afraid to use it.
2. Repubs have the edge in accepting the coin when it comes to these donations, as do incumbents; in the case of the latter, it’s a a whopping 76%, strongly suggesting that the focus is keep the status quo…