This edition of Ask the WC: European wine consumption, and why they’re drinking less; plus, wine refrigerators and how much wine the WC tastes a year.
Because the customers always have questions, and the Wine Curmudgeon has answers in this irregular feature. You can Ask the Wine Curmudgeon a wine-related question by clicking here.
You recently wrote that “European producers keep pulling out vines in the wake of reduced wine consumption in France, Spain, and Italy.” Why is that? Why are they drinking less?
European wine consumption has been steadily declining for years, thanks to stricter drunk driving laws, the aging of the population, and younger drinkers turning away from wine. Sound familiar? Having said that, Europeans still drink more wine per capita than we do — about one bottle a month for Americans compared to four bottles per person in France.
Oh Cheap Wine One:
I’m thinking about buying a wine refrigerator. Do I need one?
Probably not, unless you’re buying wine that needs to age. And most wine doesn’t. The usual figure is that 90 percent of the wine in the world is made to drink within a couple of years of its vintage. In which case, use the fridge — take a cold white wine out about 20 minutes before you want to drink it, and chill a red for 20 or 30 minutes before opening.
Hello, Wine Curmudgeon:
You must write hundreds of wine reviews a year. Do you really taste that much wine? How much do you taste a year?
I write about 200 reviews of some sort on the blog each year (which doesn’t include reviews and the like for my freelance work). All told, I probably taste a couple of thousand wines a year between trade tastings, competitions, and drinking at home. It’s like my pal Dave McINtyre says: “It’s not so much that my palate is better is yoursd. I just drink a lot more wine than you do.”
More Ask the Wine Curmudgeon:
• Ask the WC 14: The wine availability edition
• Ask the WC 13: California chardonnay, grip, affordable wine
• Ask the WC 12: $5 wine, varietal character, negative reviews