Category:Wine humor

Can the cat wine demographic save the wine business?

The cat wine demographic is untapped and oh so 21st century, with memes, Instagram and even influencers

Dear wine business:

The Wine Curmudgeon has long been worried about the downturn in U.S. wine sales, what with the Baby Boomers cutting back as they age and the apparent lack of interest among younger consumers.

But I think I’ve found a solution: Cats.

This is an untapped market, save for a few novelty products, and it’s huge – almost 40 million U.S. households have cats. Better yet, cats are hip, with it, and oh so 21st century. How about cat memes? Or the cat channel on Instagram with 10.3 million followers (30 times the number of Wine Spectator followers)?

And there are even cat influencers – Grumpy Cat, called “the Internet’s most famous cat,” received worldwide publicity when he died last month. That included an obituary in the New York Times, and we know how snooty the Times can be.

Plus, the three-tier system is a natural for selling wine to cats. The pet drug supply chain isn’t all that different from three-tier, so vets would understand how to work with all of its legal complications. Why not a wine section next to the fancy collars and upscale treats at the local animal hospital?

And premiumization is spot on for cats. The “pets as part of the family” trend started a decade ago, and it’s still going strong. They get birthday and Christmas presents, they stay at pricey resorts, and they eat like never before. How about cat food made with organic braised chicken or wild-caught salmon? Both are a far cry from the tuna can junk cats used to eat. Given all this, how much trouble could it be to sell a cat a $50 bottle of Napa chardonnay to pair with the salmon? Or even a $75 bottle?

Now I can hear your objections. Cats don’t drink wine. Which is where you’re wrong, and why you should be glad that the Wine Curmudgeon is looking out for your interests.

As the video at the top of the post demonstrates, cats do drink wine. They just need a little encouragement to get them to drink more and to trade up from the box wine in the video. So let the marketing department loose — Cat Nips, a 4-pack of 375 ml cans to take advantage of the canned wine craze. Or, best yet,  an Instagram video featuring a cat influencer like Grumpy Cat sipping a cult Napa cab while lounging on a porch overlooking the winery’s vineyards. Can’t miss, can it?

Remember, if you ever need any more big ideas, I’m always here to help.

Your pal,

The Wine Curmudgeon

Video courtesy of Herman, via YouTube

 

The fifth do-it-yourself wine review

do it yourself

Drinky gets it now: How could he have missed the red wine’s playful mushu pork elements?

Once more, we take aim at winespeak and pomposity — the blog’s fifth do-it-yourself wine review.

The annual do-it-yourself wine review remains one of the most popular posts on the blog. And why not? You too can sound just as foolish as those of us who get paid to do it. Because doesn’t everyone want to write something as memorable as “My, I find this wine to be complex yet simple in its approach to life. It lifts my spirits and appeals to my inner child while satisfying my need to be an adult.”

So write your own wine review, using the drop-down menus in this post. Just click the menu and choose your favorite line. Those of you who get the blog via email may have to go to the website — click here to do so.

As always, thanks to Al Yellon, since I stole the idea from him, plus Luke Rissacher’s wine review generator and Lawrence Sinclair at Quora, from whom I also stole some great stuff.

In the glass, this red wine:

I smelled the wine, and:

I tasted the wine, and:

All in all, I’d say the wine:

More do-it-yourself wine reviews:
The second do-it-yourself wine review
The third do-it-yourself wine review
The fourth do-it-yourself wine review

Dear Onion: Local wine is not shitty

local wine

No, Onion, your post was not worthy of Jonathan Swift.

Your post making fun of local wine is lame — and using “shitty” because you can’t think of anything funny to say is even lamer

Dear Onion:

The Wine Curmudgeon has long respected satire (Jonathan Swift! And Mark Twain! And Mel Brooks!) and has even written some. So it is with much regret that I write you regarding this week’s post about local wine, which was not funny, not satire, and not true.

In fact, your post was so lame that I am using the word “shitty” in my post, something I have not done in almost 15 years of writing the blog. When you are a good writer, you don’t need to use “shitty” in an attempt to make something funny. It’s funny because you are a good writer.

And whoever wrote “Shitty Region Of Country Figures It Might As Well Give Producing Wine A Shot” is not a good writer. Or even a decent one. It was bad writing at its worst, making fun of something without being clever, witty, or entertaining. (For the proper use of “shitty,” see the 1971 version of “Shaft.”)

Consider this line from your post. It’s as old and tired as any wine humor, the equivalent of the worst “Take my wife, please… joke: “We have all this space that’s just sitting here. How hard could winemaking possibly be? And it’s not like most people can tell the difference between good and bad stuff.”

As I once wrote on the blog discussing this very topic, most people who make fun of wine think it’s stupid to begin with, so there is no need to be funny. Your post is an excellent example of this. Someone there, no doubt needing to make a deadline, said, “Let’s make fun of wine in the middle of the country!” Someone else, no doubt knowing the need to make a deadline, said, “Cool!”

Perhaps most depressing is that wine needs satire. As regular readers here know, I am always ready to make fun of the wine business. But this didn’t do that. There is excellent wine, as good as in France or Spain or Italy or California, in several of the states you mention. I know this because I am the co-founder and past president of a group called Drink Local Wine; in other words, I have actually tasted the stuff you brush off because wine is stupid to begin with, so wine in Texas or Michigan must be even more stupid.

Hence, I will make you the same offer I have made the mainstream media – when you venture into areas you know nothing about, check with me first. I am passionate about good writing, and always happy to help.

Yours in wine humor,

The Wine Curmudgeon

April Fool’s 2019 wine post

A hallowed blog tradition: The April Fool’s wine post

One of the blog’s traditions ended last year when I didn’t write an April Fool’s post. As I noted in 2018, “in a wine world where critically acclaimed, $25 wine can contain fake oak, a boost in color from something like Mega Purple, and tree sap, who needs to celebrate April 1 just once a year? Every day can be April Fool’s Day.”

Or if that’s not enough, how about the Blendtique — AS SEEN ON SHARK TANK!!!!!! For $90, you get four 1/2-sized bottles of wine, a flask, and a pipette so you can blend the four wines to your heart’s content. Why this costs $90, when you can do the same thing with a couple of glasses and wine at the house, is beyond me. But I’m not rich or smart enough to be on Shark Tank, so what do I know?

Hence, while I’m in Amsterdam judging a grocery store wine competition this week — really — here are links to the six previous April Fool’s wine posts. They’re still funny and still relevant (even if some of the names have changed). And, most importantly, no mater how many people thought they were real, they aren’t. We have the Blendtique for that.

The blog’s April Fool’s wine posts:
Wine Curmudgeon will sell blog to Wine Spectator
Big Wine to become one company
Wine Spectator: If you can’t buy it, we won’t review it
Supreme Court: Regulate wine writing through three-tier system
Gov. Perry to California: Bring your wineries to Texas
California secedes from U.S. — becomes its own wine country

Welcome to the wine business, Sarah Jessica Parker

sarah jessica parker wineSome friendly advice as you embark on Sarah Jessica Parker wine

Dear Ms. Parker:

Several news reports say you’re starting your own wine brand, a sauvignon blanc and rose from New Zealand. I figured someone should offer you a few words of wisdom, since the wine business, in its own way, is as treacherous as acting. Which, of course, you know a little about.

• Celebrity wine ventures rarely come to a good end. Just ask Joe Montana. Or Dan Aykroyd.

• The wine business’ attitude toward women has been less than progressive. In this, it’s not as backward as Hollywood and it’s much better than it used to be. But there are still comparatively few female winemakers; the same is true for executives who aren’t in marketing.

• Your marketing types report you will be “hands-on” during production. You should clarify this with them, since some smart-ass wine writer will ask if hands-on during production means you will fly to New Zealand to pick grapes.

• The wine’s availability may be a problem. No one will be able to buy the wine from Amazon or in a grocery store in Manhattan, thanks to the three-tier system. Also, there’s no guarantee it will be in your neighborhood wine shop (so don’t get mad at Matthew when he tells you he can’t find it). Plus, since three-tier is constitutionally protected, there’s nothing you can do except complain to your distributor.

• The news stories say the rose will be dry. Please hold them to this. The 21st century wine business treats sweet and dry the same way Hollywood treats net and gross. In other words, it lies.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, let me know.

Yours in wine,
The Wine Curmudgeon

“Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s overpriced wine all about?”

We’re talkin’ ’bout Curmudgeon. … Then we can dig it!

One of the highlights of my writing career was interviewing the legendary Gordon Parks, who — among many other things — directed “Shaft.” My apologies for this effort to the late Mr. Parks, as well as to Richard Roundtree, who played Shaft, and Issac Hayes, who wrote the theme.

But I just couldn’t help myself. Those wah-wah guitars always make me crazy. And, given all the foolishness in the wine world these days, don’t we need a giggle? Or even a groan? I can certainly dig that.

Parks told me the opening scene, part of which is pictured in the video, was shot live. When Roundtree bumps into the car, he really bumps into the car. The idea, Parks said, was to make New York look as real as possible, and to give the movie its gritty, urban look. Which it does.

A tip o’ the WC’s fedora to WineParody, whose Robert Parker epic is the standard by which these efforts are judged. Make sure you turn captions on when you watch the video; you can make the captions bigger or change their color by clicking on the settings gear on the lower right. The original video is courtesy of Margo Shares via YouTube.

The epic LeBron James wine birthday present

lebron james wine

LeBron, there’s a Ralphs near the Staples Center — and it’s open until 2 a.m.

LeBron James received 16 very nice and expensive bottles for his birthday, but even the NBA’s ranking superstar should know a little about cheap wine

Dear LeBron:

The wine world is all agog with your recent birthday present – 16 expensive and rare wines worth thousands of dollars. But I’m here to tell you, as someone who also has close ties to Cleveland (my dad went to college there), pro sports (I used to write about it), and wine that there is more to enjoying wine than all that pricey stuff.

Yes, each of those 16 bottles is wonderful, but even someone who makes as much money as you do needs to know what’s available at your neighborhood Ralphs. What happens if you want a glass or two when you get home from the Lakers’ game and don’t feel like like opening the Sassicaia?

Which is where I come in. Because who knows more about cheap wine that you can buy at the grocery store than I do? Dare I use the term GOAT?

So here are a few cheap wine supermarket suggestions to keep in mind when you’re just not in the mood for the Opus One. Most of these are in the $10 Hall of Fame, by the way.

• The Bieler Provencal rose, about $10. It was the blog’s 2018 Cheap Wine of the Year, and is always one of the best roses in the world regardless of price. Plus, winemaker Charles Bieler pushes for it to be sold in grocery stores.

• The McManis chardonnay, about $10. My pal Jay Bileti, a noted wine judge, can’t believe how well made this California white is; similar wines cost $18 or $20.

• The Cannonball cabernet sauvignon, about $15. Classic California cab – lots of ripe fruit and soft tannins – but not overdone like other, more expensive California reds.

• The Matua sauvignon blanc and pinot noir, each about $12. Who knew a Big Wine company could produce varietally correct and satisfying cheap wine like this?

• The Banfi Centine red, white, and rose, each about $10. Full disclosure: A good friend of mine is a big deal at Banfi, but these are so well done that I’d buy them even if he wasn’t. Which I do. Great with red sauce, by the way.

Let me know if you need any more cheap wine advice.

The Wine Curmudgeon