Tag Archives: cheap wine

Winebits 419: Cheap wine, wine crimes, wine tourism


cheap wine• But if it tastes crappy. ..: The Tasting Table website offers advice about what to do with cheap wine that isn’t worth drinking, on the premise that “not everyone is a master sommelier.” It’s good to know that after publishing almost a decade of $10 Hall of Fames that a well-read wine site still assumes cheap wine isn’t worth drinking and that one needs to be a sommelier to choose wine successfully. Which, of course, is not true, as I have been writing about and teaching for more than 20 years. The other thing that makes me crazy about pieces like this? One of the suggestions is to cook with the wine. But if it’s not good enough to drink, why is it good enough to cook with? The best suggestion for bad wine? Throw it out.

Shouldn’t she have cooked with it? USA Today reports that a Florida woman was arrested in Walmart after driving a motorized shopping cart through the store, eating sushi and drinking wine. The woman, says the story, was allegedly on drugs when she was arrested with a half empty bottle of wine in her cart. No word on what kind of wine it was or if it was chosen by a master sommelier, but my guess is that the woman enjoyed the wine, as bad as it may have been. Whether she enjoyed the part after the wine is a different story.

Bring on the tourists: Napa Valley attracted 3.3 million tourists in 2014, up 12 percent from 2012 and putting the region’s current controversy over winery construction into perspective. Consider that just 140,000 people live in Napa County, and you can see why so many are so upset about so many tourists. On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue with the money the tourists spend, which may be more than one-half billion dollars.

2016 $10 Hall of Fame coming Jan. 8


2016 $10 Hall of FameWhich means this is your opportunity to nominate a $10 wine for the 2016 $10 Hall of Fame. Leave your suggestion in the comments to this post or click on the link to send me an email. Know that the wine needs to cost around $10 (and I might be a bit more flexible about price this year) in much of the country and can’t be a private label like Two-buck Chuck; complete eligibility rules are here.

This year, we’ll feature $10 wine information much of the first week of January, including the third annual Do-it-yourself New Year’s wine resolutions. And, because so many have requested it, you’ll be able to print the new $10 Hall of Fame — in a PDF — and take the list with you to the wine shop.

This is the ninth annual $10 Hall of Fame, so I’ll have to come up with something terrific to celebrate a decade of great cheap wine in 2017.

Winebits 418: Cheap wine, Caribbean wine, wine labels


cheap wineWhy would you buy that? Blake Gray looks at the provenance of a handful of grocery store sale wines, using the federal government’s handy and epic “who made this wine?” website (which isn’t what it’s called, but should be). Not surprisingly, most of the wines are made by companies that make cheap wine under a variety of different names, and only three of the nine sale wines are made by companies that were upfront about who was making it. The rest, as noted here many times, are made to sound good on the label, usually by a bulk producer who does a lot of this sort of thing. Blake, as always, wonders why no one complains about the poor quality of the wine, overlooking the fact that most consumers don’t think it’s poor quality. For that, we can thank the wine business for all the time and effort it puts into wine education.

Even in the islands: This is taking local wine where even the Wine Curmudgeon didn’t think it would go — grape wine from the Caribbean, from a coastal region in the Dominican Republic and made with one of my favorite grapes, colombard. The verdict on the white Ocoa (part of a $24 million resort development)? “It’s got an aroma of citrus, tropical fruit and oak, with a flavor profile of mango, dried fruit and citrus… wine with a good, crisp finish. If you didn’t know, you’d never guess this was a wine from outside the world’s traditional winemaking spots. And it’s actually quite good, perfect for a hot day on the beach in the Dominican Republic.”

Tart up that label: Nielsen, the consumer research organization, discusses why wine label design is so important in selling wine. Some of it is obvious, but there is also the sense that there are too many wines — 4,200 new ones in 2014, about 12.5 percent of the market — and that consumers “are making most of their decisions at shelf. Relative to other major consumer categories, wine is a fragmented category with lower brand loyalty and more decisions being made at point of purchase.”


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