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Category Archives: Wine trends

How much should an everyday wine cost?

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everyday wine costThe Wine Curmudgeon, working through his tasting notes on CellarTracker (the blog’s unofficial wine inventory web app) found this January comment for the 2007 Robert Mondavi Oakville cabernet sauvignon: “Nice every day wine at this price point.” The price? $45. Is that how much an everyday wine should cost?

Which raises one of the most contentious issues in wine, and one that doesn’t get enough discussion: How much should an everyday wine cost? This CellarTracker user (and no, I’m not going to name names) figures that an everyday wine runs the cost of a car payment each month, $315, and you only get to drink wine seven week nights a month to ring up that total. Even Eric Asimov at the New York Times, whose savvy is as good as it gets, figures discerning drinkers need to spend as much as half of that, in the $18 or $20 a bottle range.

My views on this are well known: One reason Americans don’t drink more wine is that we’re told we have to spend too much money to do so, and so we don’t. Or, as the guy who checked me out in a grocery store several years ago said, when he saw that I had bought several bottles of $10 wine: “Why are you spending so much money on wine?” And he didn’t say it nicely, either.

But my views aren’t the only ones. Hence this poll, courtesy of Ranker (the blog’s unofficial polling app): How much should an everyday wine cost? Click on the respective price range — those of you who get the blog via email may have come to the site to vote. The poll will run until May 22, and I’ll recap the results on May 24. Vote away, and don’t be shy about leaving your opinion in the comments.

Lists on Ranker

Wine will kill you — or not

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Wine will kill you -- or notThe Wine Curmudgeon will periodically relax his long-time ban on wine-related health news on the blog to remind everyone why there is a ban on health news on the blog. Like when we’re told wine will kill you — or not:

A former World Health Organization official says “moderate drinking is better than abstaining and heavy drinking is worse than abstaining -– however the moderate amounts can be higher than the guidelines say,” as much as a bottle of wine a day.

A current World Health Organization officlal says half of new cancers over the next 20 years are preventable if people change their lifestyles, and that includes giving up drinking.

How are we supposed to make a decision given such contradictory opinions from two people who seem to have the same qualifications? It’s enough, if you don’t mind the bad joke, to drive one to drink.

Some of this, as noted before, is sloppy reporting. But some of it is the medical community, which often lumps drinking with tobacco as inherently evil — except when it doesn’t. Too many studies are either limited in scope or seem to pick and choose to fit the researcher’s agenda. Cases in point: The alcoholism rate in the U.S. is about 8 percent for adults, while it may be as high as 14 percent in Russia. And that a majority of alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. involve non-Latino whites, but that the highest death rates were among Native Americans and Alaska Natives. None of the numbers offers the demographic pattern for a one size fits all solution.

One day, perhaps, the medical community will figure this out. Until then, the ban remains.

How the cool kids find wine they like

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How the cool kids find wine they likeThis is an incredibly clever graphical quiz from BuzzFeed that guides wine drinkers through the process of finding wine they will enjoy. What’s not to like about a system that asks your favorite emoticon, drunk text, and record album to help pick the right wine? Beats most of the advice from wine writers.

Having said that, some of us who didn’t grow up with 21st-century culture and smart phones, which emphasize pictures without text, might have trouble completing it. But a teenager should be able to help with the emoticons, and if you haven’t heard of “The Perks of Being a Wildflower” or “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter,” there is Hemingway. The section on pick a drinking buddy confused me: I don’t watch much TV, so I didn’t recognize several of the choices (though I did identify Beyonce). And what Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who gives new meaning to the term Great White North, was doing in the drinking buddy section was a puzzler.

How well it works is another story; the reader who tipped me to it said it sent her to malbec, which she tried and loved. The first time, it picked sweet riesling for me, which I enjoy, but not what I would have chosen. The second time it picked malbec, which I don’t much like, and insulted me in the process: “Your tastes are diverse but simple.” Maybe I need to bone up on emoticons. Or the quiz needs to refine its algorithm to include cava or rose.

Finally, how do I know that this process is hip and with it (besides that it’s on BuzzFeed)? The author, Justin Carissimo, blew off a couple of requests for an interview. It would have been nice to ask him how the quiz came about, and whether there is actually some science involved. No doubt he would have responded if I had been from Deadspin.

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