? Enough already: Or so says the great Doug Frost, writing about a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal: “…this is the sort of seemingly contradictory advice that is all too common in wine, and that speaks to a dwindling and, I ?ll dare further, annoyingly precious sub-group of gourmands called wine snobs.” I have been lucky enough to judge with Doug and even appeared in an interview with him a couple of years ago, and the experience has always been terrific. When Doug Frost takes someone to task for being snotty, it’s time for the entire wine world to listen.
? Giving consumers what they want: A British supermarket chain and an Australian producer have signed a three-year deal for the latter to provide the former with wine. Why does this matter to U.S. consumers? Because, as one official involved in the deal said, “Gone are the days when a producer could get off a plane and go and see the likes of Tesco with its list of wines. You need to have a category plan and look at what customers want.” In other words, not making wine because you think you can sell it, but asking retailers what wines to make, in both style and varietal, based on what their customers want. This is revolutionary, part of the trend over the past five years that saw the growth of, among other things, sweet red wine and the increasing power of large retailers to set prices.
? Just say no: Not soon enough, apparently, as the debate over whether there are too many American Viticultural Areas, or appellations, in the United States, continues. The federal government approved four more AVAs last week, reports the British wine magazine Decanter, and it follows “criticism earlier this year that the proliferation of AVAs could confuse consumers as to the wine ?s origin. Historically, this has been a common complaint aimed at the appellation system in Old World countries, and particularly France.” Case in point: Sonoma will now have 16 sub-AVAs.”