Welcome to the second annual Curmudgies, presented each year to the people and institutions that did their best over the previous 12 months to make sure that wine remained confusing, difficult to understand, and reserved for only the haughtiest among us. The 2012 Curmudgies are here; the 2013 awards are after the jump:
? Worst news release: I could have given Curmudgies to dozens of press releases this year, given how awful so many were. It’s amazing people get paid to write this junk, and it’s even more amazing that they take the money and don’t feel guilty. The winner: Something called BeProunced Marketing, for a release for a new wine: “DivJnaWines is a semi-sweet Red & Rose Lambrusco. Their effervescent Red and Rose are wines that even the biggest non-red wine drinkers enjoy. Harvested & Produced directly from the land of it ?s origin.” It’s not so much the factual errors that bother me, or even the shoddy sentence construction. Rather, how does a company that boasts that its clients include magazine giant CondeNast and a bunch of multi-national heavyweights use the wrong “it’s”? This agency probably wastes more money in a day than I make in a month, and no one there knows the difference between its and it’s?
? The regional wine award, or the more things change, the more they stay the same: To my friends at the Wine Spectator, who apparently have a double standard for reviewing regional wine (as outlined by Kyle Schlachter at Colorado Wine Press). The Spectator, wrote its editor, won’t review wines, which always seem to be regional, because they aren’t widely available. However, this does not stop the magazine from reviewing wines from France that weren’t widely available, some of which have 10 cases or less for sale in the U.S.
? The three-tier system is our friend award: Many candidates to choose from this year, but the winner is the Missouri legislature, for its pointless, expensive, and time-consuming debate in 2013 to pass a bill to protect three-tier even though the bill had already been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. The bill, by the way, never passed, making the effort and money spent on it an even bigger waste.
? The Wine Spectator will always be the Wine Spectator: For a 12-paragraph story about a new winery that will produce 300 cases when it’s operational. No doubt the wines will also be favorably reviewed, despite the lack of availability.
? Would someone please listen to this person? To the U.S. wine consumer, who wins the only positive Curmudgie, for their great appreciation of cheap wine over the past 12 months — as this 348-comment post on Reddit, “Is cheap wine really all that bad?” demonstrates. The post takes on three-tier, sweet wine, wine snobs, and almost every other wine trend that I write about, and most of the comments are intelligent and sensible. Though, unfortunately, someone does insist scores are worthwhile.