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Category Archives: Wine trends

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.

Wine competitions, judging, and blind luck

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Wine competitions, judging, and blind luckOr, as the co-author of a new study told me: “Consumers should disregard results from wine competitions, because it’s a matter of luck whether a wine gets a gold medal.”

That’s the conclusion of Robert Hodgson, a winemaker and statistician whose paper (written with SMU’s Jing Cao) is called “Criteria for Accrediting Expert Wine Judges” and appears in the current issue of The Journal of Wine Economics. It says that those of us who judge wine competitions, including some of the world’s best-known wine experts, are ordinary at best. And most of us aren’t ordinary.

Because:

… [M]any judges who fail the test have vast professional experience in the wine industry. This leads to us to question the basic premise that experts are able to provide consistent evaluations in wine competitions and, hence, that wine competitions do not provide reliable recommendations of wine quality.

More on the study and what it means, after the jump:

Finding the next big wine region

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Finding the next big wine regionHow does one find the next big wine region? Is it something the Winestream Media can anoint by giving out scores and fawning over celebrity winemakers? Is it something the industry can do, in the way Sonoma has been marketing itself? Or is it about the quality of the wine, where the region works its way into our consciousness without much help from anyone?

Or is finding the next big wine region one of those quaint 20th-century things, like VCRs and walkie talkie-sized cell phones, something that doesn’t make much difference in the post-modern wine world? The answer is after the jump:

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