This is the final appearance for the Curmudiges, because it’s too painful to keep giving awards to those who make wine difficult to enjoy
The 2017 Curmudgies are the sixth and final appearance for the award. I have given them annually to the people and institutions that did their best over the previous 12 months to make sure wine remained confusing, difficult to understand, and reserved for only the haughtiest among us.
But I can’t take it anymore.
This year, there were almost an infinite number of possible winners in the four Curmudgie categories – worst news release; the silliest comment about regional wine; the best Wine Spectator faux pas; and the most inspired three-tier system boondoggle. How does one choose between the worst of the worst of the worst? I can’t do it anymore – it hurts too much.
Besides, the people and organizations that are the focus of the awards probably think it’s a good thing to win. That’s how screwed up the system is.
Or, as my pal Tim McNally – wine judge, radio and TV host, and long-time marketing and PR professional – put it when we discussed this:
• Much wine marketing consists of busy work to show the agency is working hard, as opposed to getting results.
• Distributors don’t care about marketing wine in the long term; rather, they care about selling in the short term, and only worry about the long term when it becomes the short term. Trying to convince them otherwise is impossible, no matter how logical it may seem.
• “Then,” says Tim, “you would not believe how many winemakers – when they are told the sorry state of affairs in the market – say ‘Yes, we know. We don’t have a clue what to do.’ ”
Is it any wonder I can’t take it anymore?
So the final Curmudgie will be shared by the everyone in the wine business who doesn’t care about quality and value, the wine drinker, or making wine easier to understand. Because that’s what you did best in 2017 – and you know who you are.