Wine is complicated. Thousands of variables of oenology, history, terroir & winemaking come together to make something that is borderline magical. Yet, we as an industry, are trying very hard to oversimplify the very things that make wine special. We try to dupe consumers with fake names of fake places and incredibly broad and generic terms like "Blends" become the hottest category out there. How do you educate someone that thinks they only like blends? Why would we back ourselves into that corner in the first place, besides the hell that is Apothic Red. well-here's why-
- Big monolithic-brand-producing-corporations want consumers to be uneducated because this breeds fear of the unknown label. If they don't understand it, they won't buy it.
- Those same corporations try to take the variables out of the mix by making a homogeneous, lab created concoction that effectively lobotomizes the consumer and takes the joy of wine away from them. By controlling this recipe, they control the consumer and the brand.
- The popularity of these practices and the big corporations wrapping buyers in a warm incentive-laden hug make once good, critical buyers, submit and follow the money train.
The thing is-WE are the gatekeepers. WE don't have to follow the dumb road. When we marginalize the efforts it takes to make something magical, we become disrespectful. And it's not disrespect for the wines, it's disrespect to ourselves and why we're in this business and it's disrespect for allowing our customers to be "dumbed down". And if you think it's at your own peril to educate and turn people on to the nuance of wine-just look at the craft beer business right now. People are fleeing at a record pace away from adjunct filled rice pale beers, which were the dumbed down wines of the last 30 years. Superbowl ads won't save them either. People want to drink unique things. We need to have the confidence not dumb things down, we need to resist the temptation to put Zin & Malbec together, we need have articulate ,concise explanations of the significance of OUR favorite wines to turn people on to our mission-selling the magic.