Tag Archives: Wine Curmudgeon

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The end of the wine business as we know it?

wine businessThe one consistency about the wine business, as we celebrate the blog’s eighth birthday, is that the big get bigger, and that there isn’t any room for the small. Or, as a distributor friend of mine put it the other day, “It’s all about consolidating or dying in this world of global megacorps.”

Gone are dozens of companies that made wine that I enjoyed — producers that were bought or folded or absorbed by other companies, many of which are also gone. Remember Hogue, which made a quality $10 sauvignon blanc in the 1990s? It was purchased by the Canadian Vincor, which was soon gobbled up by Constellation. That entire process, three complicated financial transactions worth tens of millions of dollars, took place in just five years.

The difference these days is that the big are bigger than ever, and today’s small companies used to be considered big. The 10 biggest wineries in the U.S. account for about 71 percent of all the wine sold, based on figures from 2014 from Wine Business Monthly, and this amalgamation is happening on the distributor side, too, with the 10 biggest wholesalers controlling two-thirds of the market.

Throw in consolidation among retailers, and Big Wine will soon be selling to Big Retail through Big Distributor, and a handful of companies will control what we drink — the prices, the quality, even what it’s supposed to taste like. It will be the end of the wine business as we know it.

More, after the jump: Continue reading

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Wednesday birthday week giveaway: $50 Wine.com gift card

wine.com gift cardwednesdayrandomAnd the winner is: Bob, who selected 259; the winning number was 230 (screen shot to the right). Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway is the legendary VinGardeValise, the wine suitcase to end all wine suitcases (and a pal of the blog).


Today, to celebrate the blog’s eighth anniversary, the prize is a $50 Wine,com gift card (and my thanks to the people at Wine.com for their continuing support). This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift pack.

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Tuesday birthday week giveaway: wine accessories gift pack

wine accessoriesrandomtuesdayAnd the winner is: Todd, who selected 717; the winning number was 729 (screen shot to the right). Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway is the $50 Wine.com gift card, always one of the most popular prizes, and thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the cause.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s eighth anniversary, we’re giving away a wine gift accessories pack, courtesy of Wines of Rioja, and which includes the book, “Rioja,” by Ana Fabiano.. This is the second of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift pack.

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Winebits 412: Birthday week odds and ends

Birthday week ? Approaching 2,500 posts: Or, 2,423, counting this one. A little less than one-third of those have been wine reviews in eight years, which probably isn’t enough to make Google happy. On the other hand, only two percent have been wine rants, which makes me wonder why I haven’t written more. It’s not like there isn’t enough to rant about, and I probably could have written two percent of the blog with just rants just about the three-tier system.

? Where wine rarely goes: The geographic breadth of blog users never fails to amaze me — 173 countries this year, including four from Nepal. The Nepalese, given that none of the wine I write about can possibly be available there, deserve some sort of prize. Or maybe they appreciate great wine writing? The U.S. is the top country, not surprisingly, but with only 87.3 percent, which means that more than 1 out of every 10 visitors comes from outside the country. And though California is the top state, more than 83 percent of visitors come from the rest of the U.S. That does make me think I’m doing some good, despite any gloom to the contrary over the past year.

? My poor beloved Linux: Perhaps someone with more tech chops can explain why the various metrics track visitors by operating system, which I appreciate but don’t understand. Having said that, just one percent of the visitors came to the blog via Linux, and that’s probably me. Still, that’s three times as many as Windows Phone, which says more than any rant about Microsoft. The top operating system was Windows at 35 percent, but that’s just a couple of points better than the Apple phone. Maybe there’s something to this mobile thing?

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Monday birthday week giveaway: Unbreakable wine glasses

wine glassesrandommondayAnd the winner is: FiddleAround, who selected 142; the winning number was 138 (screen shot to the right). Thanks to everyone who participated, and we had close to a record number of entries. Tomorrow’s giveaway is a wine accessories gift pack, courtesy of Wines of Rioja, including the book, “Rioja,” by Ana Fabiano.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s eighth anniversary, we’re giving away six Schott Zwiesel Tritan wine glasses, the blog ?s unofficial wine glass, and which — if not unbreakable — are as sturdy as advertised. This is the first of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift pack.

winetrends

The Wine Curmudgeon most popular posts 2015

wine curmudgeon

Change your logo as much as you want, but you’re still screwing up my site.

The Wine Curmudgeon blog has a new editor/publisher, but I knew nothing about it until I compiled the top 10 most popular posts from the past 12 months. It’s Google, which now decides what you read on the blog. I can try all I want — and I try very hard — to write relevant, informative, and helpful content, but my efforts matter less and less. That’s because Google directs people to the posts it decides are the most important, and for the first time in the blog’s history, those aren’t necessarily the posts I consider the most important.

Case in point: The top post from November 2014 to November 2015 was a five-year-old effort about Barefoot wine that didn’t make the top 10 last year. It’s bad enough that Google sent readers to the blog for something that wasn’t current, but the Barefoot post replaced the $10 Hall of Fame — my reason for being — as the most popular post.

Ain’t the Internet grand?

Almost none of the stuff that I wrote over the past 12 months that should have been in the top 20 was. None of the stuff that I thought was clever or funny made the top 20. Just old wine reviews — literally. Seven of the 10 best read posts over the last year were reviews of wines from 2014 or before.

This, for a writer, is as depressing as it gets, not unlike someone telling Michelangelo that the Sistine Chapel is nice, but an estimate for painting the house would be even better. What’s the point of reporting, and then crafting and sweating over a piece, when Google says not to bother because no one wants to read it? The search giant equates popularity with trust, so it sends people to the most popular posts because its algorithm says they’re the most trusted. Because, of course, they’re the most popular. That this is the Internet version of a Catch-22 doesn’t seem to matter.

Even the good news, that my traffic recovered in 2015 from the slump caused by Google’s ever-changing search methods and from revamping the website two years ago, was depressing. I’m getting more than 51,000 visitors — that’s visitors, not page views — a month, an amazing number for a one-person site. But what’s the point if they’re coming here to read stuff that doesn’t necessarily matter anymore?

Not to worry, though, if you like the stuff no one else does. I won’t change the blog’s format just because an algorithm says I should. Everyone should know me better than that by now. The most popular posts from 2015, plus a couple of other notes, are after the jump: Continue reading

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Coming Monday: Birthday week No. 8, with five days of prizes

birthday weekThe Wine Curmudgeon’s annual thank you to everyone who reads the blog and visits the site, since I wouldn’t be doing this without you. Contest rules are here. Those of you who get the blog via email or RSS will need to go to winecurmudgeon.com and click on that day’s prize post to enter. Rules are here.

This year ?s prize schedule:

? Monday: Six Schott Zwiesel Tritan wine glasses, the blog’s unofficial wine glass, and which are as difficult to break as advertised.

? Tuesday: A wine gift accessory pack, courtesy of Wines of Rioja, including the book, “Rioja,” by Ana Fabiano.

? Wednesday: A $50 gift card from Wine.com, and thank you very much to the people at Wine.com for their continuing contribution to the cause.

? Thursday: The VinGardeValise, the ultimate wine bottle suitcase, and thanks to VinGarde, a long-time pal of the blog.

? Friday: Two autographed copies of the cheap wine book.

Besides the prize giveaways, I ?ll recap the past year on the blog ? the top posts and the least liked on Monday, as well as my always insightful analysis about what it all means on Thursday, Because the wine business as we know it is about to change.