Wine Rocks (Is Wine Appreciation Becoming Cool?)

Vinted on March 26, 2009 binned in commentary, wine 2.0, wine appreciation

Well… duh, right?

Anyone that has spent more than a cursory glance through the (virtual) pages of 1WineDude (or has had the unfortunate experience of sharing a long car ride with me when I’m driving, which of course entitles me to choose the music played on the car stereo) is familiar with my affinity for Canadian power rock trio Rush – or as I like to refer to them, The Greatest Band in the History of All Mankind.

Most music fans are familiar with Rush’s complex (and lengthy) musical endeavors, as well as the high-pitched vocals of front-man Geddy Lee.  What many people don’t know is that the band are big-time wine geeks, especially Geddy who owns a cellar in excess of 5,000 bottles in his Toronto-area home (apparently its bottle capacity has been expanded – twice).

Which, in my mind, is simply even more reason to be a total fan-boy for that band.

Anyway, Rush is (improbably) riding a high of popularity now that they are well into their third decade as a touring and recording rock band, their pop-culture coolness hitting a zenith with a recent appearance on The Colbert Report (excerpt below).  Geddy Lee was recently featured in Entertainment Weekly’s “Three Rounds With…” feature, talking about… wine (and recent album releases and the band’s cameo in the new film I Love You, Man).

This got me wondering… can wine appreciation be considered cool? I mean, I love Rush, but for a long, long time, it was definitely not cool to love Rush.  Now, they’re getting mentioned on TV and mainstream magazines as if they’re Coldplay.  Same with Lord of the Rings – when I was a kid, it was not cool to love those books.  Now, the movie adaptations are winning Oscars and kids play with LotR action figures.  I’d have gotten my ass kicked for playing with LotR action figures…

I do believe that wine may be hitting a similar point in the ‘coolness trajectory’ now.

Instead of it wine appreciation viewed as the ultimate hoity-toity, snobbish enterprise (anyone remember The Onion’s coverage of Pompous A__hole Magazine?), it’s almost starting to achieve a mild pop-icon status, especially with the advent of magazines like Mutineer, events such as Wine 2.0 and Wine Riot!, the Twitter Taste Live phenomenon,  and an explosion in the number of wine blogs and consumer involvement in on-line wine social networks (e.g., the Open Wine Consortium)in the last 2-3 years.

What do YOU think?  Is Wine appreciation is becoming cool?


The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rush is Here
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Mark Sanford


(images: Entertainment Weekly)





  • Willyboy

    If by cool you mean chic, then does not really matter? Wine appreciation is a good because it improves ones enjoyment of life and helps others do likewise. That good will remain when cool fades and the hordes rush on to whatever lies next on the trend timeline. That said… Always loved rock. Never liked Rush. Decided to listen one more time. Clearly the music has cellared extremely well, and perhaps aging has refined my 'tasting' skills as well. My mini review…soaring vocals and ripped riffs cavort among rythmic waves of driving low end…complexity delivered with reckless but grooved abandonment. Pairs well with intellectual angst, poetic sensibilities and aging hipsters.

  • J. Smith

    All I have to say is 2112. Did they perform? How was it?

  • Willyboy

    J. Smith…their performance on the Colbert Report was amazing and led me to watch others on YouTube. Hence my change in tune. Getty's voice is amazing…almost unreal…live. Actually one of the first things that impressed me is that they are better live than in studio…not an easy feat for any band but especially theirs.

  • Tish

    Carry on my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done.
    Oops, wrong band. Sorry.
    Seriously, I actually think wine appreciation is already way cooler/chicer/hipper than you are sizing it up to be. The key is that the cool people are not acting like snobs, so it's not very noticeable.

  • Henre

    Joe, do you think it has anything to do with the internet culture bringing win to a more general society? With tools like twitter, Facebook, blogs, mobile apps and all those, the demographics of the typical wine aficionado is changing rapidly.

    BTW: Interested in doing a guest post on my blog? Let me know…

    • 1WineDude

      Yeah, I do think the Internet culture reflects what people consider cool/chic/hip/etc. So it's bound to reflect the shifting dynamic.

      I think a guest post could be fun, email me and we can discuss.


  • 1WineDude

    I LOVE the Rush talk… maybe I should start a Rush / wine blog… not that it's a model destined for big ad revenues…

  • mydailywine

    Witness the rise in Millenials wine drinking patterns!

  • 1WineDude

    I've seen them perform 2112 in its entirety twice, several years ago. Stellar stuff!

  • 1WineDude

    Hey Master Grape & MyDailyWine,

    I've had readers comment (correctly, I think) that Boomers will continue to drive the core wine market for years to come. However, you don't need to look far to see where *new* growth in wine sales are coming from, and that's definitely NOT Boomers.

    There was an interesting post over at the Open Wine Consortium (see… ) that cites a few sources on the topic of the growing importance of a new generation of wine drinkers:

    "In 2008, nearly half of the millennial segment reported a net 23 percent increase in wine consumption–double that of generation-Xers against minimal or declining figures for the aging baby boomers. Gillespie described this trend as a "trade-off" phenomenon, where better than 10 percent of wine drinkers, primarily generation-Xers, are increasing total wine consumption at the expense of beer and spirits."

    Those studies make no mention of the current coolness of Rush, I'm afraid, but I'll still be loving them long after it's cool to do so. ;-)

    • MasterGrape

      I'll check out the studies linked in that post. They look neat although a tad US-centric. I would also add some anecdotal evidence (no matter how unreliable). The vast majority of people I see checking out of grocery and liquor stores with carlo rossi and big jugs of baaad wine are not my age.

      If you're holding a wine tasting and you ask somebody with Lindeman's or whatnot in their cart to taste they will obstinately refuse 90% of the time. If a kid is buying a box of franzia, they will still very often be willing to taste a new product in the hopes that they will be able to buy it later. Much more curiosity in the youngsters.

      • 1WineDude

        I think you're right – those youngsters don't have the baggage associated with wine appreciation (the baggage that says that it's "hard" and needs "rules" and makes the Wine Spectator folks money… ;-).

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from 150 Years of Louis Jadot (Burgundy Rocks Out in Toronto) | 1 Wine Dude
    Tuesday, 9 June, 2009

    […] Back in March, I pondered if wine appreciation was becoming cool, drawing a parallel between wine’s place in the cultural lexicon of recreation beverages and the newfound popularity of the long-running Canadian power rock trio Rush – or as I like to refer to them, The Greatest Band in the History of All Mankind.  The comparison seemed apt to me, as Rush’s front man Geddy Lee is a huge wine geek (and I’m a big Rush geek). […]

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