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SVB’s State Of The Wine Industry 2014 Report Makes Us Look Like Geniuses (And Other Tidbits)

Vinted on February 18, 2014 under commentary, wine news
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HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

Last year, I wrote some OpEd on the 2013 version of Silicon Valley Bank’s annual State of the Wine Industry report. In that gonzo style (is there any other kind?!??) take, I made a prediction about the long-ish term future of wine sales in the U.S.. That prediction basically underscored a similar prediction I made in 2011 regarding how the current top dogs of wine buying in this country – the Baby Boomer generation – would fall off precipitously as they age in terms of no longer buying luxury goods like wine, either because they can no longer do this when they die, will not want to do it if they encounter failing health, or will not be able to do it because they will run out of money in retirement.

The 2014 version of SVB’s report (yeah, I know, it was weeks and weeks ago, I’m late), contains a very interesting statement in the “2014 Business Predictions” section, on page five (emphasis is mine):

We believe we are trending to a transition point as Boomers hit retirement and the economic condition of the Millennials replacing them is burdened with high levels of student debt and weak job prospects. In the current period we expect to see continued growth in overall demand but only limited pricing power for producers. Within the next five to seven years however, the evolution from Boomers to Millennials as dominant purchasers of wine will prove a significant headwind to sustained growth in the wine business.”

In other words, SVB recently made you and me look like genius-level, Nostradamus-like oracles, since we’ve been saying this for nearly three years now, you and I. Okay, semi-genius. Okay, somewhat-smart-folks. Alright, alright, I will entertain the possibility that it was a blind-squirrel-finds-an-acorn thing. Also, few in the wine world appear to actually be listening to us (SVB excepted, of course!), so we may still be stoned to death, like some of the oracles of old. Best not to think too much about that…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For February 17, 2014

Vinted on February 17, 2014 under wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • 11 Flora Springs Trilogy (Napa Valley): Red fruits that smoke a bit too much, but you ought to respect their fist-in-glove structure. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Black fruit chewing on tomato leaves & herbs & daring you to do something about it $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Flora Springs Merlot (Napa Valley): Herbal tartness straining a bit under the weight of the sweet, woody burden it must carry. $35 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Flora Springs Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Napa Valley): Enclosed all around by toasted wood, but there's life in that coffin yet. $35 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Flora Springs Soliloquy Vineyard Oakville Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley): The flora here is almost exclusively tropical in nature. $25 B >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Monteverro Tinata Rosso (Toscana): Slyly saves most of it's heavy hitting for a long stretch of body blows at the bout's end. $75 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Poggiotondo Bianco (Toscana): Vibrant white to beat the house wine; just don't place a bet on it to beat the house substantially. $12 B >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Clarbec Greggarious Vineyard Chardonnay (Carneros): Not quite shouldering the topically boozy burden; but they're on to something. $30 B >>find this wine<<
  • 11 Artezin Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel (Sonoma County): Jangling boots & liberally tossing pepper, allspice & black fruit confetti. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 12 Artezin Mendocino County Zinfandel (Mendocino County): Just about busting out of its little jammy britches; but only **just**. $17 B >>find this wine<<

50 Great Portuguese Wines 2014 (Getting Nerdy With Wine & Spirits Mag’s Joshua Greene)

Vinted on February 13, 2014 under on the road, wine industry events, wine review

Nearly exactly twelve months ago, I was a media guest at the NYC unveiling of the 50 Great Portuguese Wines of 2013, as selected by MW/MS/TBA (total bad-ass) Doug Frost (see last year’s write-up for tasting notes and my video interview with Mr. Frosty).

This year, I was once again a media guest for the unveiling of the 2014 edition of the Great 50, this time selected by Wine & Spirits magazine guru Joshua Greene, and held at the (incredible) NYC Public Library. I spent quite a bit of time tasting at this year’s event, so much so that I nearly doubled my usually paltry number of wines tasted (the low amount on average is a function of two things: 1) I am slow, because I think rapid-tasting of wines is an insane endeavor, and I’ve come to question the validity of ratings/reviews that come out of only spending a few seconds with a wine, and 2) I’m a gadfly, and spend much of my time at these events chatting people up).

I also spent a few minutes talking with Joshua about the selection process used for this year’s list. You can download our brief chat, or listen via the embed/link below. You’ll find Joshua’s process interesting, and no doubt there’s ample fodder there for further discussion. But given there’s a sh*t-ton of interesting wines to tell you about, I’m going to leave our chat to speak for itself, and get right into the juice…

Joshua Greene dishes on selecting the 50 greatest wines in Portugal

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Do Wine Blogs Matter For Selling Wine? (The 1WineDude Conversion Rate)

Vinted on February 11, 2014 under about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine blogging, wine buying

One of the criticisms most often levied against wine blogs is that they don’t “move the needle” in terms of wine sales.

Let’s forget for a moment that where I come from, coverage that costs me next to nothing for a product that results in even a handful of additional sales (and additional exposure) – that I otherwise would never have seen – counts for something.

The crux of this criticism is that coverage of wines on the virtual pages of wine blogs does not result in materially meaningful and/or measurable differences in the purchase volumes of those wines. Presumably, this is in comparison to similar mentions in print media (however, it’s worth noting that I’ve yet to see any hard evidence in the form of real data to support print media coverage having a sales bump effect, but I have anecdotal evidence from some California winemakers showing that it does not, as well as some from small producers indicating that some wine blog mentions have in fact increased DTC sales… which I can relay to you privately some day if we ever meet and you buy me a beer…).

The counter argument is usually a combination of two things: 1) that it’s extremely difficult to measure the impact of any media coverage on wine sales, regardless of the type of media, and 2) it’s the aggregate of blog and social media mentions (outside of concentrated special events, promotions, and the like) that amount to an increase in mindshare and small, one-consumer-at-a-time sales that otherwise wouldn’t otherwise have happened. In other words, wine blogging and social media mentions result in a stream of sales that are aggregated from tiny, rivulet-like trickles in combination, and so wouldn’t generally amount to a perceivable spike but do, in combination, make a difference. [ For an example of these arguments, see the mini-debate generated on this topic generated in the comments section of one of my recent posts here ].

I can now supply some data in support of that counter argument, by way of one example: namely, 1WineDude.com.

While I will not supply exact numbers (only because don’t have permission from all of the parties involved to do so), I can give you approximations that I think lend some credence and strength to the counter argument, though I strongly suspect it will be ignored by the wine cognoscenti, who have in my experience demonstrated a severe allergic reaction (sulfites got nothin’ on this!) to facts, data, and evidence if those things do not already support their own already-entrenched beliefs…

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