Winebits 217: Organic wine, wine snobs, regional wine
• Crummy organic wine? One reason why organic wine has never taken off, in the way of other organic products, is that the consumer doesn't see a difference in quality. And that, says a top natural-leaning winemaker, is holding back the business. Monty Waldin spoke disparagingly about “Parker 100-point” wines, calling them “not real wines," and admitted that not all organic wines on the market are high quality: “There’s a lot of boring, crap, industrialised organic wines on the market, and if the industry’s going to implode, it’s because of that.” The article, in Britain's Drinks Business magazine, doesn't pull any punches — very refreshing in a trade magazine.
• Franzia on wine snobs: Fred Franzia, the man behind Two-buck Chuck, celebrated the brand's 10th anniversary with some of his famous invective: "We have won the battle with snobs and other elites who didn’t believe we could provide excellent wines at an inexpensive price. This changed the wine culture in the U.S. …" The interview, on the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat's website, also notes Franzia's claim that Two-buck Chuck increased the size of the U.S. wine market by five percent. That may or may not be true, but it's certainly a Franzia-like statement. That would mean Two-buck Chuck added $1.5 billion to the $30 billion U.S. market, which seems like a lot of $2 wine.
• Regional wine and restaurant wine lists: The Springfield, Ill., Journal-Register looks at why regional wines don't do well in restaurants and discovers that consumers — shockingly — have made up their minds before they taste the wines. "We get a bad rap from people who think Illinois only sells sweet wines," says Bradley Beam of the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association. "That may have been true 10 years ago, but the wines of 10 years ago are not the wines made today." This is a well done story, and one that media outlets in other regional states should do more often.