Note: before going into the post, I just want to say a huge Thank You to those that are spreading the word about VineThinking. Subscriptions to the email updates are going through the roof, including many big names in the wine business and wine journalism fields.
Please keep spreading the word if you’re finding value in the VineThinking ideas. Encourage your peers and co-workers to sign up, tell your retailer and restaurant friends, and get ready for some cool things evolving soon that will help you with your businesses and goals.
Many of us live in a fishbowl of our own creation, surrounded by only our wines and our own opinions. Especially wholesale wine reps, for it’s truly impossible for them to judge a wine from outside of their fishbowl with honesty … when you represent certain brands and make money from those brands, it’s basically impossible to be objective about other wines. (Wholesale reps would disagree, of course, but as a former wholesale rep of fifteen years I can assure you it’s true.)
And that’s okay, because that’s human. Sense of smell and sense of taste (plus money, for wholesale reps) can do odd and awesome things on the subconscious level. Heck, even the type of light in the room changes how we taste. This also, to many, explains the power of the biodynamic calendar when it comes to tasting wine: if you’ve convinced yourself the wine is going to taste better today because the moon is in the right spot vis-a-vie your current time zone and some stars billions of miles away then guess what: it does.
Back to point: understanding all corners of the wine business has less to do with tasting the competitor’s wines than it does understanding their business model and the scale that is involved. You can’t judge Two Buck Chuck by tasting it. James Laube tried once, and gave it 77 points: “on the medicinal side of herbal, with thin weedy flavors that give the fruit notes a sourness.”
So what? The review doesn’t matter. What matters is the business model of Fred Franzia, and other companies outside of your personal fishbowl, and the scale at which they are operating.
If you want to understand all corners of the wine business, don’t worry so much about tasting everything. Instead start with articles such as this.