One of the Wine Curmudgeon’s goals, which says a lot about my perspective, is to make wine writing unnecessary. If I do a good enough of job teaching people about wine with the book, on the blog, and in the classroom, then we won’t need the Winestream Media, its indecipherable tasting notes, its fawning over wine no one can buy, and its arrogance. After that, of course, I’ll start working on world peace.
Until then, you can write your own wine review, using the handy drop-down menus in this post. Those of you who get the blog via email or on Facebook may have to go the website — click here to do so. And, if you like this one, you can go here and complete the first ultimate do-it-yourself wine review.
The Wine Spectator, in a stunning reversal of policy, announced today that it will only review wines that people can buy, ending a decades-long practice where it preferred to critique wine made in such small quantities that there were never any for sale.
“Frankly, when we started to think about it, it seemed kind of silly to review wines that weren’t in stores,” said a magazine spokeswoman. “Yes, there was a certain cachet to do wines in the Spectator where the producer only made three cases, because it showed how much better we were than everyone else. Because we are much better than everyone else. But, in the end, we are a wine review magazine, and if our readers can’t buy the wines we review, there isn’t much reason for us to exist, is there?”
The new availability policy, said the spokeswoman, was based on the one used by legendary Internet blogger Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon. Siegel, who declined to be interviewed for this story, uses what he calls general availability: He only reviews wines that consumers can find in a quality wine shop in a medium-sized city. Said the spokeswoman: “Considering how much fun he makes of us, and that he is has no credibility because he is an Internet blogger, Siegel’s policy seems quite practical. Just don’t tell him we stole it.”
Reaction from the wine world was immediate:
• A host of cult wines in the Napa Valley, whose production rarely exceeds 100 cases each, announced plans to increase the amount of wine they make so they can be reviewed. “If we’re not in the Spectator, what’s the point of making wine?” asked one winery owner, a Silicon Valley zillionaire. “It’s not like I care about the wine. I just want my friends to be jealous when they see my wine, which they can’t buy, got a 99.”
• Several other wine magazines said they would follow suit, although the Wine Advocate said it would use availability in China as its threshold. “Listen, when you pay as much money for the Advocate as we did,” said a co-owner, “you really don’t care if anyone can buy the wine in Omaha.”
• The country’s largest retailers, including Costco and Walmart, made plans for special Wine Spectator sections in their wine departments, now that the Spectator would review most of the wine that they carry. “They’re already selling some wine for us with their scores and shelf talkers,” said one retailer. “So why not just get rid of the pretense and let them do all the work?”
Sgt. Schultz has just discovered that Col. Hogan and his men have devised the most ingenious plan ever to make wine accessible and easy to understand for anyone who wants to drink it. (And also because every man of a certain age still has a fond spot in his heart for “Hogan’s Heroes.”)
A tip o’ the Wine Curmudgeon’s fedora to the Dedoimedo website; this post is based on his “My reaction to — ” series. The video is courtesy of ToastedGerbil via YouTube.
What better post for the day after New Year’s than the Wine Curmudgeon’s second annual Do-it-yourself wine resolutions? Just click on the drop-down menus and select your wine resolutions for 2015. Those who get the blog via email or RSS may have to go the website to use the menus. The 2015 $10 Hall of Fame will post on Monday.
In 2015, I’m going to drink:
In 2015, wine scores will:
In 2015, I’m going to buy wine:
In 2015, the most important wine trend will be:
New Year’s resolution image from Mayor Gia, using a Creative Commons license