Dumbing down wine – has it gone too far?

Those of you who are long time readers know that I really can not stand the remaining pretension that exists in the wine industry. The truth is that aside from select snooty restaurants or the occasional stuck up sommelier it seems to me that A LOT of the pretension that ONCE existed within the wine world seems to have become “socially incorrect”. Even those who think they are brilliant wine connoisseurs seem to hide any possible holier-than-thou attitude.

“I’m not drinking any f*cking Merlot!” Giamati

But at what point is this ANTI-PRETENSION going TOO far??

There is a certain online personality who does online videos (vlogs?) about wine. He clearly appeals to the 20 something crowd and does is fabulously. Coining expressions like “sniffy sniff” he speaks of aromas such as sweat, dirty laundry, etc. He truly is an amazing character (with a great first name!) but has he taken the anti-wine pretension movement too far?

Unpronounceable Italian varietals or indistinguishable French labels can certainly be intimidating, but cartoon character (AKA “critter”) labels? Seriously?

I felt compelled to write this email after reading what I guess is a website pitch by a wine bar. They say ” Welcome to XXXXXXX (not the real name). We like to drink wine. Not so much sniff it, stare at it, swirl it or try to describe it with funny words… but mostly just drink it.“.

Now again, I am ALL FOR making wine accessible to the masses. And I have learned that not everyone is as “wine curious” as I (or some) may be. But since graduating college (OK fine, at some point thereafter) I have learned that fine (and expensive) foods AND BEVERAGES should be savored. Should be appreciated. Should be enjoyed. Not chugged or devoured. Not used to get a quick buzz. Sure food is for sustenance and needn’t always be savored. OK, who doesn’t like to down a few shots every now and again and enjoy a good buzz. But isn’t wine different??? Especially when you are paying $20, $50 or even $100 for a mere 750 ml bottle?

I suppose it is entirely possible that I AM IN FACT becoming the wine snob my friends kid me about (and that I so thoroughly despise). But I really do hope that is not the case. I hope that this is a case of people being opposed to one extreme and simply taking things too far to the other extreme. Which I hope may ultimately lead to the majority of those of us who would like to bring wine to the masses somewhere in between.



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