Tag Archives: wine consumers

Winebits 307: Wine cities, Wine Spectator, wine revolution


More wine in Dallas, please: The Wine Curmudgeon has noted many times that Dallas residents treat wine as if they were afraid of it, and now we have statistical evidence to support my observation. A Harris Poll found that Dallas residents are the least likely of anyone in the country’s 10 biggest metro areas to drink wine, and that we lead the country in not drinking any alcohol at all. No wonder we spend way too much time obsessing over the Cowboys. Obviously, I have my work cut out for me, and will continue to urge responsible cheap wine drinking on the masses. It’s the least I can do.

Some wines are more equal than others: Kyle Schlachter at Colorado Wine Press, who has much more patience with the Winestream Media than I have, reports on what appears to be the Wine Spectator’s double standard for choosing wines to review. The magazine has said it won’t review some wines (in this case, from Colorado) if they they aren’t widely available. On the other hand, it recently reviewed several wines from France that weren’t widely available (10 cases or less in the U.S.). Schlachter seemed surprised by this contradiction, but that’s only because he hasn’t been dealing with this kind of hypocrisy for  as long as I have. The Spectator does what the Spectator does; that’s why it is the Spectator. And why it has a Curmudgie named after it.

Democratizing wine: David White of the Terroirist has a fine take on the changes in the wine business, led by consumers who make up their own minds about what they want to drink. He quotes Jancis Robinson, the preeminent European critic: ““No longer are wine critics and reasonably well-known wine writers like me sitting on a pedestal, haughtily handing down our judgments. Nowadays… [consumers] can make up their own minds. That’s altogether a lot healthier.” It’s also intriguing, from my perspective, that some of the best and most well-known critics in the world see this change and approve of it. That means they have the well being of wine and wine drinkers at heart, and not whether they continue to be important and famous.

How people really buy wine

The wine business – and especially wine writing – is dominated by the idea that consumers buy wine based on scores, reviews, and the good taste that those in charge share with the masses.

Which, of course, is so far from the truth that I’m surprised anyone still believes it. Or, as I saw last week at a World Market in Dallas (and yes, the Wine Curmudgeon was chuckling as he watched):

20-something woman: “I need to buy some wine for a party.”

Store employee: “We have this wonderful pinot noir, great scores, won a gold medal.”

20-something woman: “Do you have something that costs $8 a bottle?”

One more time, for those of you not paying attention –- only 60 percent of Americans drink wine. Of those of us who do drink wine, 20 percent of us account for 9 out of every 10 bottles sold. And we ain’t drinking first growths, as anyone who has bothered to look at sales studies would know.

Which means there are more consumers like that 20-something woman out there than many of us want to admit.

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