Each year, The Wine Curmudgeon does four or five events that are not typical events for most wine writers. This year, I spoke to a wine festival in Wichita Falls, where the Saturday night tasting was held in the county ag center, and at a music festival 60 miles from San Antonio that's held in a campground. I did a Wine 101 talk at Grapefest in Grapevine, Texas, home of the People's Choice wine competition – no so-called experts allowed. And, for the third year in a row, I’m doing a series of Wine 101 talks at the State Fair of Texas.
In most of these settings, the people who attend don't know much about wine and might not be able to tell a cabernet from a chardonnay. But that's OK, since that probably holds true for most Americans. It's also why I speak to these groups. The wine world already has more than enough people who want to preach to the very small choir that is the wine world, and I didn't get to be The Wine Curmudgeon by being like the rest of the wine world.
More, after the jump:
Americans won't drink more wine until the wine business educates them, something that I have noted repeatedly that the wine industry isn't particularly interested in doing. It will teach Americans how to buy expensive wine, which is certainly not the same thing.
So the Wine Curmudgeon, in his own small way, brings wine to the people. It is, in fact, why I have such a good time at the State Fair. The people who show up, and attendance has been uniformly good over the past three years, genuinely want to learn. They don't want to be lectured at because they drink white zinfandel or fussed at because they don't like red wine. They want to know how to enjoy drinking wine, and I'm happy to oblige them.
I've had a wonderful run as a wine writer over the past couple of decades, and done some incredible things – traveled to Spain, France, California and Chile, and shared fabulous wine with people I respect and admire. But you know what one of the most satisfying things I get to do? It's watching the light bulb go off over someone's head when they understand why a certain wine tastes a certain way. I'll take that over a 90-point wine any day.