Winebits 192: Wine vending machines, master sommelier, wine confusion
• So long, vending machines: Pennsylvania's attempt to add wine vending machines to its already unique arsenal of state-sponsored wine selling venues has apparently failed. That the vending machines didn't really work wasn't the reason; rather, the company that does the machines is behind on its payments to the states. Some background here, which will make most of us who value common sense wince. The good news, reports my pal Dave Falchek and one of Pennsylvania's top wine writers, is that the entire state-sponsored system in Pennsylvania seems near an end. Dave was positively giddy about its demise when I saw him at the Indy International competition last week.
• Congratulations: Devon Broglie, who buys wine for Whole Foods in the southwest U.S., is one of the newest master sommeliers in the United States. This is impressive not only because earning those initials is so difficult — there are only 112 in North America — but because Broglie believes in regional wine. He is a huge advocate for Texas wine, as well as for the other states for which he buys wine for the grocery store chain.
• Too many wine choices: Young people are increasingly celebrating special occasions at home with a bottle of wine, but are baffled by the seemingly endless choices on supermarket shelves, says a British study. Keep in mind that it's difficult to extrapolate these results to the U.S. market, since Britain's drinking culture differs from ours, but it's worth noting that the study found that 55 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds drinks at home to mark a special event, compared to just 41 percent of all British in-home drinkers. More than a fifth of 18-34s believe the large wine selection in supermarkets makes buying too complicated compared to just 1 in 10 over-34s. And half admit that without discounting they would probably buy less wine than they do. In other words, people who buy a lot of wine are confused and base their decision on price since they are confused.