Tag Archives: Ask the WC

Ask the WC 15: Wine consumption, wine refrigerators, wine tastings

wine consumptionThis 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 .

Hi, WC:
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?
Surprised

Dear Surprised:
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?
Chilling out

Dear Chilling:
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?
Curious

Dear Curious:
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

wine and health

Ask the WC 14: The wine availability edition

wine availablityThis edition of Ask the WC: Wine availability, and why can’t I buy what you’re writing about?

Because the customers always have questions, and the Wine Curmudgeon has answers in this irregular feature. This time, I answer the dozens of recent comments and emails from readers about wine availability, which has apparently been driving everyone crazy. You can Ask the Wine Curmudgeon a wine-related question .

Hello, Wine Curmudgeon:
I love your blog, and you make me laugh. But I can’t always find the wine you recommend. Is that me? Or am I missing something?
Can’t find the wine

Dear Can’t:
It’s not you. It’s not even me, despite what some readers think. It’s the way wine is sold in the U.S. Every wine on a store shelf has to have a distributor. The retailer, no matter how large – even as big as Costco – can’t buy wine directly from the producer. That’s the law (and our old pal), the three-tier system. Some wines, for whatever reason, won’t have a distributor in all 50 states. I try to review wines that should be available in a quality independent retailer in a mid-sized city. My only other choice is to do Big Wine products, which are available in most places, but what’s the point of that?

Dear WC:
I’m getting annoyed going to my local supermarket and not being able to find the wines you write about. It happens all the time. Why don’t you write about wines I can buy there?
Tired of the hassle

Dear Tired:
It’s not my fault. Honest. It’s the three-tier system, because you can’t buy wine like you can buy ketchup and laundry detergent. Grocers, for a variety of reasons, usually carry different wines than the ones I review. It doesn’t mean you can’t find the wines I recommend in supermarkets. It’s just less likely, and why I suggest looking for a quality independent retailer.

Hey WC:
I really like a nice glass of rose. I lived in the New York City area for years, but have just moved back to home, a smallish city in the Midwest. Not as easy to find good wine, and especially the rose that I like. I tried Wine.com and Wine-searcher — no luck. Can you help?
I want my rose

Dear Rose:
Welcome to the joys of availability. Go to a good independent retailer and ask them to check if the wine has a distributor in your city. That’s not difficult, but not every retailer will do it. If the wine is available, the retailer can order it from the distributor even if they don’t ordinarily carry it. Again, not difficult, but not every retailer will do this. Hence, my recommendation of a quality independent retailer. Finally, you may have to accept that the wine doesn’t have a distributor in a smaller market. Or, even if it does, the distributor may not carry it. That’s another example of why three-tier is so infuriating.

More Ask the Wine Curmudgeon:
Ask the WC 13: California chardonnay, grip, affordable wine
Ask the WC 12: $5 wine, varietal character, negative reviews
Ask the WC 11: Arsenic lawsuit, marijuana, wine competitions