Insanity of the wine industry

I just read the "Official Guide to Wine Snobbery"
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The book is a great read and reinforces my speculation about the wine
industry and wine snobs. I have come to the conclusion that most (90% and
above) wine snobs really don't know much about wine. These people simply
repeat what it is they heard other people say about wine.
Person "B" who knows little about wine could convince Person "A", who knows
nothing about wine, that he/she is a wine expert. Person "C", who has a
moderate knowledge of wine, could convince Person "B" that he/she is an
expert on wine. Person "B", would then mimic what Person "C" says about
wine and will pass this knowledge onto Person "A".
Meanwhile, Person "C" knows that no matter what he says about wine (within
reason), Persons "B" and "A" will eventually consider fact. With this type
of persuasion Person "C" is free to say or make up anything he/she wants.
Person "C" eventually gets a job as a wine judge or wine columnist while his
subjectiveness permeates the industry and "winemakers" shake their head in
confusion. The winemakers are left to face the fact that subjectiveness,
copycatting and creative writing will dictate the industry.
I never listen to wine TV shows and only read the wine spectator and such to
keep up on industry trends. But I was flicking the channels the other day
and I heard this wine connoisseur on the food network talking to a chef in
California when she made the comment that "the Sauvignon Blanc they were
drinking was clearly from the Northern Coast of California because it was
high in acidity" LOL ROFLMAO. Now I know someone watching that program is
going to repeat that, the next time they drink a white from Northern Cali.
And they will convince people that they know a lot about wines for making
such an observant statement. And that statement will get passed meanwhile
building the credentials of whoever repeats the line.
The only problem is that anyone who has a beginners knowledge of winemaking
knows that acid additions are currently practiced by just about wine
producing nation in the world,, even if they don't tell you. The fact that
a wine is high in acidity could not possibly indicate where it is from. A
few grams per liter tartaric/citric addition to an over ripened Napa valley
grape would produce the same effect. But who cares? All anyone is looking
for is a new witty comment to make in order to impress people who know as
little or less than themselves about wine.
The more I am force to understand the marketing of this industry, the more I
am convinced of its insanity. I think someday I will write a book that
exposes the foolishness and symantics of the wine industry.
Reply to
Vincent Vega
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It sounds interesting and amusing.
And how do you identify a wine snob? Do they bear some sigil upon their clothing that provides for ready identification? Personally, I find it difficult in the extreme to identify a snob upon casual encounter, as it is difficult to know the internal working of their minds. No doubt you have cracked this conundrum...
Tasting *is* subjective. Anyone who suggests otherwise has been asleep during all their science and philosophy classes. The best that anyone can hope for from a wine critic (or a film critic, or a music critic) is that the reviewer's tastes are fairly similar to the reader's. Barring that, the reader can at least gain some appreciation for how their own tastes differ from the reviewer's, which can also provide some measure of guidance from their reviews.
Sorry, that just ain't so. Many important wine regions have explicit laws against acidification. California doesn't because of lack of acidity that plagues many of its wine regions; conversely, California has very strict laws about the addition of sugar ("chaptalization") that don't exist in parts of France where the grapes will often not fully ripen. Bottom line: the regulations are typically self-serving for the region involved; if we don't need to add acid, we'll outlaw the practice.
Tried a Savennieres recently? ;-)
In my experience, most of the people who make the wines I like are down-to-earth, striaghtforward and sensible about their craft and trade. Moreover, these same winemakers share for the most part a genuine passion and enthusiasm for what they do. Most will shake their heads about the various insanities and inanities perpetrated by the more mendacious and pretentious of their colleagues. It sounds like you need to hang out with a better crowd...
Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton
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In my experience, I am defining a "wine snob" as a person who pretends to know more about wine than they really do.
Exactly,, subjective is the key. There are specific and scientific flaws in wine that can make them inferior. A wine with no chemical imbalances can be rated from 70 - 94. This score range is "subjective". Take for instance a few years back a Pennsylvania champaign manufacturer submitted one of his sparkling wines to a local award show. He won a bronze medal. He then submitted the same sparkling wine to an international competition in Paris. He won best of show. . Either the PA judges made a mistake or the French judges made a mistake, or there isnt much difference between a 70 and a 90 rating. Examples like this are common
Sorry,, you are wrong. Obviously you havent had any HONEST conversations with French winemakers. Next thing you are going to tell me is that they dont use sulphites. If you understood the complex reasons for acid additions you would realize why it cold be necessary from year to year in all parts of the world. The French purchased illegal oil from Iraq at discounted prices so Saddam could build more palaces,, you think they wouldnt add a little tartaric acid to their wines if they had to?
No,, but my statement remains true.
Not sure what you mean by that. Its the winemakers whom I am defending. It is their market and their critics who turned the industry into giant ruse.
Reply to
Vincent Vega
"Vincent Vega" wrote in news:L21cc.11097$
That is assuming that a bronze rating is a 70 wine, I would think a bronze would be a 90+ though I would grant you a spread of + or - 5 points on a given panal of judges.
Reply to
Typically in wine competitions a wine is judged on a point basis. If the highest possible point score 18 points,, (say 6 points for nose, 6 points for appearance and 6 points for taste). In this scenario in most wine competitions a score of 13 would be bronze.
13 divided by 18 = 72 percentage points. This is not the rule for all competitions but it is typical.
Reply to
Vincent Vega
True as far as it goes, but don't extrapolate that too far.
I had a conversation years ago with an Italian restaurateur (now deceased) who insisted that in his native Italy wines were all made from the same basic stuff and chemically treated to make them red or white, sweet or dry. He made it sound more like chemical engineering than winemaking. I knew enough about winemaking at the time to know that he was full of crap, but I could tell that it would be a futile effort to try to talk him out of his notions.
He proceeded to open a bottle of Banfi Brunello di Montalcino - the first I'd ever tasted - and it was *wonderful*! (I didn't ask him if he thought it was made in similar fashion to what he'd previously described.) He did offer the opinion that the recent purchase of that estate by Banfi would be bad news for ensuing vintages, because Banfi is Mafia connected. Yeah. Right...
Tom S
Reply to
Tom S
"Vincent Vega" wrote in news:l62cc.11123$
rule for all
That assumes that a rating of 90 somehow equates to 90% but water could score a 50 (IIRC) the two systems just don't equate that way at all.
Reply to
"Tom S" wrote in news:PK2cc.18523$
- the
him if
of that
because Banfi
But hey Tony Sorprano drinks Ruffino tan and gold so go figure. . .
Reply to
Im not playing semantics here. I am just sharing my first hand experience. My point, which you seem to be missing, is that judges seem capable of determining if a wine is "flawed" or "not flawed",, any scoring about "not flawed" is totally subjective and is determined by personal taste but more importantly (from a marketing standpoint) by heresay, reputation, supply and demand and "who knows who". This is the dark secret of the wine industry.
Reply to
Vincent Vega
Aha. I term that sort of person as a poser, a much easier creature to spot in the wild.
I have no idea what meaning you're ascribing to the term "subjective." To me, subjective is the opposite of objective and all sensory information is by definition subjective.
All this means is that the judges in Paris liked it better than the ones in PA did. So what? It'd be a dull world if we all had identical tastes, and the wines I like would be more in demand than they already are. De gustibus non disputandum est.
No doubt there's a vast conspiracy of silence going on in the Loire valley, with all those vintners surreptitiously dumping tartrates into their Chenin Blancs to lower the pH to -1. Right... My point is that in many places there's no NEED to acidify as the natural acids are present in abundance, year in and year out. Get it?
That must be it! I disagree with you because I'm ignorant. Oh, and winemakers lie to me. Thanks for clarifying.
There are certainly greedy and fraudulent winemakers, too. I try to avoid them, by and large. Remember that it wasn't a distributor or importer who put ethylene glycol into wine to sweeten it, or who added tankers full of wine from the Southern Rhone and Algeria into more prestigious bottlings. The rest of your statement I find a bit perplexing, however.
Mark Lipton
Reply to
Mark Lipton
"Mark Lipton" in message news: snipped-for-privacy@eudrup.ude...
D'accord. Alas in another example, though fraud was necessary for the famous incident (1976?) of cheap wine being shipped from France in containers marked "Can be sold as Beaujolais in USA," fraud was not, as mathematicians would say, sufficient. Buyers should have noticed a difference if they were then also going to complain indignantly about this. (Me, I buy for taste.)
By the way: is it just me, or have newsgroups lately acquired newbies who don't know about editing down the past posts? I'll see 150 lines of repeat that we've all read already, then one or two lines of response. (Some newsreader software didn't even let you do that, 10-15 years ago.) Could somebody ask these people to read RFC1855 or any other source on Netiquette? (Urgently, if they haven't heard of RFC1855 or Netiquette.) Could we find a way to require a minimal competency test before permitting postings? Even the most trivial screening would do. (One or two of the moderated senior administrative groups have, for decades, enforced the rule that newcomers must read for three months before posting -- six months if it's not clear why this is necessary -- these being compromises from double those intervals.) I myself followed newsgroup wine discussion for several months or a year before I first presumed to post anything. (That was some time ago.)
Reply to
Max Hauser
"Vincent Vega" wrote in news:yU4cc.8685$V%
who". This
My pint is that the deifference between first and third in any competiton is often narrow
Reply to
jcoulter wrote in news:Xns94C253BFFCABB225stellar@
and "no one" is going to drink a wine that gets a 70 and call it anyting but garbage. Look at what gets 80's and advertises the fact. (apologies to Max and others for the failure to snip my other reply)
Reply to
In article , Mark Lipton writes:
Mark, I pretty much agree with all of your points in this thread, so won't add. But I'd also like to point out a few things re competitions, points, etc.: 1) Depending on the sample size (a winery might furnish one or two bottles to a competition, or many more to one with many judges) there can be significant variation due to factors like heat, TCA contamination below most people's threshhold, etc. The bottle in Paris might not have tasted like the one in PA. 2) There are few things that I pay LESS attention to as far as wine than medals. If I see a winery touting it's medals, I yawn. [By the way, this is not intended as an insult to judges, as I know there are a few like BFSON who post here] But the knowledge that a particular group liked a particular wine without knowing who was on the panel, what other wines were in the competition, format, etc. is pretty useless in buying decisions. A quick google shows that the French Creek Winery's "Champagne" (don't get me started) was one of the gold medal winners at the Viniales Internationales Wine Competition. But w/o knowing who is on that panel, what other wines it was up against, etc. I don't feel compelled to order any PA wine. 3) In many cases my experience is that many local competitions are based on the wine that has the least flaws model, rather than rewarding points for particularly distinctive wines. Dale
Dale Williams Drop "damnspam" to reply
Reply to
Dale Williams
Everyone's response has systematically moved from the points I have made. Remember this convesation got started because I was telling you the story of how I started lauging out loud when i heard this wine expert saying that "This wine is clearly from the northern region of California because of its high acidity", that is an idiotic statement,, feel free to go ahead and believe such nonsense but you are only fooling yourselves,,, well, you may also fool the rest of the public too,, but the few people who actually know the science of winemaking will only look at you as fools.
I wouldnt say you are ignorant,, just misinformed.
Reply to
Vincent Vega
The problem when discussing an important or controversial topic is that most people can only remember 1 comment in the past. If you don't include the entire dialog in a post than the thread just becomes a meaningless utterance. It has already happened in the few posts of this thread.
Reply to
Vincent Vega
OK Vincent, here you are, suddenly appeared out of nowhere on this NG and you begin by claiming you are the depositary of "the facts" and the great myth-debunker.
You start your AFW career with such gems as "The whole organic wine industry is a sham.": granted, the original post advocating organic wines was rather pointless, but your response does nothing to improve things (and you should know better than responding to a cross-posted message).
If you can tell us more about all this "insanity" with more documentation and less hype, and refrain from "Sorry,, you are wrong. Obviously you havent had any HONEST conversations with .... If you understood the complex reasons for ...", not to mention "if the French did X, the French will not refrain from Y" (gee, the same ones that bought oil are acidifying wine? amazing, you must have some connections high up!)
A little less (gallic?) arrogance might make people take you more seriously, for now, let's say that we are not convinced by your "facade" and I recommend a serious "ravalement" and change of attitude.
Mike Tommasi, Six Fours, France email link
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Reply to
Mike Tommasi
Salut/Hi Vincent Vega,
With the greatest respect, Vincent, I think you'll find that it is extremely rare to give the same number of max possible marks for appearance as for taste. The marking scheme I've seen proposed and which I use myself for winetastings gives 3 for appearance, 6 for nose, 8 for taste and 3 overall, giving 20. But it must be said that using this scheme you could hypothetically get a 0/20 wine. RP gives a 50-100 scale.
Reply to
Ian Hoare
again with the word games. I thought I would experience intellectual conversation here.
"Im not playing semantics here. I am just sharing my first hand experience. My point, which you seem to be missing, is that judges seem capable of determining if a wine is "flawed" or "not flawed",, any scoring about "not flawed" is totally subjective and is determined by personal taste but more importantly (from a marketing standpoint) by heresay, reputation, supply and demand and "who knows who". This is the dark secret of the wine industry."
Reply to
Vincent Vega

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