I'm going to try to articulate a pretty out there accusation-we, as a community of distributors and suppliers, have painted domestic producers into a corner. We have done a lousy job of giving winemakers and grapes growers opportunities to evolve. After 200 or so years, the U.S. is still searching for its wine identity. There is no doubt that this is a closed loop system, where the consumers provide feedback and salespeople keep feeding them what they want, because, well, money.
This all, probably started, as American winegrowers first started seeing success. Perhaps the judgement of Paris set us on a course of Cab and Chard. The affirmation, made it seem like, the experimentation could cease. If you wanted to sell wine (for growing profits), you need to get rid of Grignolino, Montepulciano and Charbono. As a result, except for the twin towers of "C" , very few grapes have really punctured that conventional wisdom. The attrition of domestic grapes hasn't been by merit, by what people can pronounce, and more damning, by what we think we can sell. We still really don't know if we have the right grapes in the right spots. As salespeople, we can empower the forces to figure this out. The utter bullshit of the red blend is a punctuation to what it represents-our very failure of allowing "other" as the hot category. This is what happens in the absence of wine literate. Do you think winemakers WANT to follow the new world script? Of course they don't. When they tell us about their Trousseau or Muller-Thurgau, we give them a very funny look, and tell them to make it for the wine club. we don't allow them to experiment. There is NOW a fringe that is pushing the envelope. A few have been doing it their entire careers. Its time we educate consumers,not to sell more wine, but to allow our friends to make the best wine possible. The tonic of education will empower U.S. wineries, to truly stand on equal footing to the Old World producers many of them they aspire to be.