A few days ago, I received an email containing a unique (for me, anyway) request:
“On your page you have a special photograph of Sammy Argetsinger. Can you email me a high resolution copy of that picture? I would like to frame it and I know a local wine owner in Hector wants one to hang in his winery near Dave Bagley.”
The photograph to which this person was referring is below; it happens to be one of my personal favorites, because of the subject – I was lucky enough to capture Finger Lakes grape grower Sam Argetsinger at a moment that seemed to encapsulate his explosively buoyant and totally unique personality (it helped that the backdrop was his gorgeous vinous “backyard,” too).
From a follow up note from the same person requesting the photo, I was informed that Sam Argetsinger had recently passed away.
It’s sad news for Finger Lakes wine country, and, given how impressive FLX wines have been recently, a loss to be mourned for the greater U.S. and global wine communities, as well.
For more on Argetsinger, see my Finger Lakes write-up from back in may of 2010; he was one of the most authentically unique wine personalities that I’d ever encountered, and trust me when I tell you that when it comes to personalities in the wine world, that is really saying something.
Because… well… THIS:
Wine geeks and wine pros are taking it on the chin right now (for a hilarious and totally NSFW example, have a listen to this podcast by Internet comedy icon Maddox). We are accused of just about everything uncool, from being fond of snobbery to displaying nepotism to having bullsh*t jobs to engaging in major douchebaggery.
The image problem, though, is understandable, particularly when we have things like the Lalique “100 Points” leather briefcase by James Suckling and Salvatore Ferragamo, available for $8500 USD. At least you get a couple of bottles of wine with it. Go ahead, watch the video on James’s website. And if you order one, do me a favor and unsubscribe from my blog, okay?
James, why are you doing this to us, bro???
Fellow geeks, please make a good name for yourselves and other wine nerds by not carrying personal stemware around unless there’s a life-changing wine drinking experience expected that evening.
Also, please, please, please don’t wear scarves inside the house!
Disappointed that your wine sales aren’t seeing an impact from your social media efforts?
Then this study of the social media impacts experienced by nearly 400 U.S. wineries strongly suggests that you are approaching social media incorrectly. Which will come as a surprise to exactly.no-one who reads this big regularly.
A quick quote:
“The results show that 87% of wineries in the sample report a perceived increase in wine sales due to social media practices.”
That’s it, we’re done here, the end. Seriously, go read the summary, and then if you decide that you’d rather not increase sales, don’t bitch and moan if your winery or band tanks eventually.
The debate on this topic is over. If you still think social media has no/little place in wine, then in the words of Obi-wan Kenobi, “you are lost!” If that remains your stance, I cannot help you; go back to sticking your head in the sand in your flat, 3,000-year-old earth where humans didn’t evolve from primates and the climate isn’t warming.
We have (rather strong) anecdotal evidence that purchasing fine wines as investment vehicles is, for most people, an absurdly bad idea.
Those examples, as strong as they are, could be criticized as falling under the “fallacy of small numbers” category, however, which might lead the hopelessly duped eternal optimists out there to conclude that in their cases, investing in fine wine for profit will somehow be different.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, however, should dispel that myth for all but the most hopelessly duped. The bottom line is that the WSJ dug into what might be the most comprehensive scientific study yet performed on the returns of the fine wine investment market, going back over historical selling prices of the last one hundred years or so, and its conclusions are sobering (see what I did there?):
“After mining historical price data for top clarets going back to 1899, including the prices fetched in auctions before World War I, the researchers calculated that over the entire period, the prices of these wines beat inflation by an average of 5.3 percentage points a year.”
While that might sound encouraging, it’s not. Any such returns and performance have to be adjusted for expenses in order to show the actual rate of return. When that was done, the results looked a lot less profitable, particularly when compared to good old fashioned, boring stock index funds…
Read the rest of this stuff »