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Wine.com Top 100 of 2009 and the Not-So-Changing Tide of Wine Sales

Vinted on December 4, 2009 binned in wine buying
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This week, Wine.com – the largest on-line wine retailer, and still everybody’s “love-to-hate-‘em” choice for performing their own self-serving wine distribution ‘sting’ operation last year – has released the third annual list of their top 100 best selling wines.

The top 10 in that list potentially tell us a lot about U.S. consumer wine buying preferences, because of the size of its business (exact numbers are a bit difficult to come by, as the company is still privately held).  Here they are (click the image to embiggen):

What those top 10 wines tell us is… well, a bit of something old, and a bit of something new

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Cruvee Kicks-off OwnIT Initiative

Vinted on December 3, 2009 binned in wine industry events

This week, Cruvee (rhymes with groovy), a firm that offers business intelligence and performance management services for the wine industry to help them mine the vast field of on-line social networking, launched an interesting initiative targeted at simplifying wine brand data across the Internet.

That sounds boring, right? 

But… it has the potential to be a huge step forward for the wine industry in terms of using technology to help master how basic information about the 6000+ wine brands available in the U.S. are portrayed on-line (rather than the technology mastering how the wine brands are portrayed).

If that sounds boring, consider that it could make your life easier when you’re looking for wine.  Now, that’s not too boring, is it?  If it is, you’re reading the wrong blog, my friend.  Being able to make more sense out of traversing the thousands of wine brands available sure appeals to me.

I spoke to Evan Cover, Cruvee’s Founder & CEO, about the initiative (called ‘OwnIT’), and it has promise – provided Cruvee can score the right level of participation from both ends of the wine distribution spectrum…

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First Things First (Inaugural Releases From Prime and Black Cloud)

Vinted on December 2, 2009 binned in wine review

One of the perks of wine blogging is that you have no editor.  Actually, you do have an editor, it’s just that the editor is often the same person as the principal writer, reporter, photographer, website designer, webmaster, and tech support person.  Of course, not having an editor is also a curse, but that’s fodder for another post (my editor just told me that I won’t have enough space in this article to cover the topic that he and I are actually the same person).

Anyway… the perk is that I get to chose the topics – and wines – about which I write.  Occasionally, things work out and the wines that you (more or less) randomly select from the stockpile of wine samples turn out to be especially enjoyable, or especially interesting, or especially positive portents of things to come.  Or,when you’re really lucky, all three.  [ Also, I get to go on a tirade about the term “brambly” if I want to (more on that later). ]

My first post-Thanksgiving raid of the sample shipments had me pair up two such promising triple-player wine ‘firsts’: Prime Cellars’ first Napa white wine offering, and the first-ever offering of any kind from Canada’s Black Cloud (in this case, Pinot Noir).

To be totally honest, those wines were actually serving triple-duty: 1) subjects for 1WineDude.com review, 2) food-friendly wine pairings for my wife’s herb-roasted chicken, and 3) lubrication to help me not completely lose my mind as I tried to assemble a wooden toy kitchen playset for my daughter.

Missions accomplished…

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Wine Humor: Doug Pike’s “Gone With The Wine”

Vinted on December 1, 2009 binned in book reviews, wine books

I was recently contacted by Doug Pike, the cartoonist whose wine-related humor has been published on the subscription-only portion of eRobertParker.com for about four years now.  Doug has released a collection titled Gone With The Wine, which pulls together about 100 of the cartoons that appeared on Parker’s website (Parker supplies the book’s foreword).

Doug came across 1WineDude.com via my recent contribution to CNBC’s Wines for the Holidays, and has become a fan “mostly because of your non-elitist approach to wine, which I share.”  Amen to that, brother!

Doug was kind enough to send a review copy of Gone With The Wine and also give permission for me to post some of the cartoons from the book.  While some of the cartoons are clearly geared towards the fine-wine-loving crowd that have made Parker a household name, I found myself chuckling more often than not at the fun being poked at wine geeks (myself included among those ranks) throughout Gone With The Wine

The cold hard truth is that we really are that goofy – and long may we remain that goofy, so long as we take the wine – but not ourselves – seriously.

A few samples of Doug’s work appear below, with his permission – enjoy!…

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