Tag Archives: Tom Wark

Winebits 674: Holiday season wine snobs edition

wine snobsThis week’s wine news: The wine snobs celebrate the holiday season

Ice in a glass of wine? VinePair asks sommeliers when it’s OK to put an ice cube in a glass of wine, because we need guidance on this subject from people with initials after their names. The post, believe it or not, includes a section on how to properly add ice. It’s pieces like this that make me wonder if I’ve wasted the past 13 years writing the blog. How about this advice? Add a cube or two when you feel like it. Which, in Texas in August, we feel like a lot.

The kindness of strangers? Mary Margaret McCamic, MW, writing on the Karolus Wine Imports blog, notes that “many of the most exciting bottles that I have enjoyed were the result of the generosity of collectors.” How does one respond to that? Does this mean that when the Big Guy comes over, and we dip into the wine closet for my latest $10 find, it’s not exciting? It’s pieces like this that make me wonder if I’ve wasted the past 13 years writing the blog.

No affordable wine? Megan Krigbaum, writing for Punch, laments the loss of affordable Beaujolais on restaurant wine lists. She defines this as Beaujolais costing less than $100 a bottle. It’s pieces like this that make me wonder if I’ve wasted the past 13 years writing the blog. $100 is affordable? For whom?  This also begs the question of Beaujolais’ availability on restaurant wine lists, and especially in the middle of the country. But what do I know? I put ice cubes in un-exciting $10 wine.

Winebits 673: Wine.com sales, restaurant wine, tasting notes

wine.comThis week’s wine news: Wine.com reports 217 percent sales increase, plus restaurants are headed in the opposite direction and another critic ponders the need for toasty and oaky

Wine.com sales: Wine.com, the U.S.’ biggest on-line wine retailer, ended the first six months of its fiscal year with a 217 percent sales increase compared to the previous 12 months. Can anyone say pandemic? Even without the increase in on-line retail caused by the coronavirus, sales for the previous 12 months were up 102 percent. One key to the jump: repeat sales from customers who pay $49 a year for free shipping, similar to Amazon Prime’s free shipping. Sales from those customers increased by about one-fifth more than overall sales for the past 12 months, as more of those customers bought more wine on-line. This raises the question again: How, once the retail world returns more or less to normal, will we be able to go back to thinking of on-line wine as something special, and not something we buy every day?

Not so good news: Tom Wark, writing on the Fermentation blog, asks: “Do we allow a huge swath of restaurants across the country to simply disappear in the wake of COVID and state’s restaurant shutdown orders or do we act to aid these institutions?” This has been the elephant in the room as the pandemic continues, with restaurants — rightly or wrongly — bearing the burst of government restrictions. I don’t know that I agree with all Tom writes, but his piece is well worth reading.

No tasting notes: Guy Woodward, writing in the British trade magazine Harpers, pulls no punches: “Who reaps the benefit, for example, of reading that a wine has notes of  ‘gentian, elderflower, seaweed, mussels, salt spray, chicken stock, sage, fennel, peach kernel, lemon, alkali and wet stone’?” This is the second British shot over the winespeak and tasting notes bow in recent weeks — quite a surprising development, given how entrenched the two are. Again, reason for optimism that some in the wine business understand the need to make wine more accessible.