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“Map-It ™ Because Place Matters”

Monday, May 18th, 2009

“Place Matters”.  This is what is telling us with their latest marketing tool.

Terroir, or the “sense of place” as it is often described, is said to be what distinguishes ordinary, or what I suppose could theoretically be laboratory wines (those manufactured anywhere, and tasting of nowhere), from extraordinary wines; those wines that truly bring you to a specific geographical location through its aromas and flavors.

The idea of terroir-driven wines makes sense to me in that these wines possess a unique quality.   They might possess that unique smell of saltwater from the parallel ocean, or they might possess a flinty aroma from the flint stones scattered throughout their vineyard.  Or, as is the case with some of the better Israeli wines, they might possess an herbaceous or even green olive quality from all the wild sage, rosemary, thyme and olive groves that grow throughout the country and often surround the vineyard itself.

Getting back to the new Map-It feature, I wonder how important it is for people to SEE (on a radar image) the location where the wine was made, or better yet (when available) where the grapes were grown.  If it opens up one’s imagination to a story and helps to paint the picture behind the wine for the wine-curious consumer then I guess it is important.

As is generally the case when it comes to my bizarre mind, this all led me to think about Israeli wine.   In this case as it pertains to Israeli wine in retail stores.   Outside of Israel I would venture to say that NYC has the greatest selection of Israeli wines in the world.  But if you are to enter a retail store seeking an Israeli wine do you know where the clerk would take you?  To the KOSHER section.  WHERE in the world is kosher???

There is a section for France.  Italy.  Spain.  US wines are generally grouped together, yet they usually are separated between states.  German wines.  Australian wines…I can go on and on.  Heck, even organic wines are USUALLY found in a section pertaining to their country of origin (though some stores ALSO have a special organic section).  So why does just about every store in the region with the 2nd largest concentration of Israeli wines group these wines together with other wines from all over the world??

What of those wines made in Israel that do not have kosher certification??

Why not create a section for Israeli wines (they should be contained within an Eastern Mediterranean section near wines from Greece, Cyprus & Lebanon) AS WELL AS a kosher section just as is done with organic wines???

Clearly I am a very biased observer here.  But the more I read about how trendy terroir is and how important a “sense of place” is when it comes to wine the more I wonder, why not for Israel????

Happy terroir driven wine tasting!


Wine in the news & Eric Asimov reads my blog??

Friday, November 21st, 2008

OK, maybe Asimov is not reading my blog, but we at least seem to be contemplating similar wine related phenomenons.  You may recall a post I wrote a few weeks ago called “Wine, Art & Music” discussing the connections between art (or the arts) and wine.  Well, sure enough Asimov writes about his conversation with a musician and some of the commonalities between wine and music in his latest writeup of “The Pour”.

Neilson put together an interesting piece on how the economic slowdown is affecting alcoholic beverage sales during the current economic slowdown and upcoming holiday season.  My favorite expression when discussing consumers spending on alcoholic beverages was their terming such purchases as an “affordable indulgence”.  Affordable is a relative term folks…  Also included in the article is something I have been hearing and seeing around the industry here in NY – off premise (wine shops/liquor stores) is picking up while on premise (bars/restaurants) is slowing down.

Finally, PRNewswire picked up a piece about and how they are offering several new (and unusual) delivery options such as “Evening, Saturday, Date-Specific and by Appointment Delivery”.  Definitely a unique approach to draw in customers…one that I think shows a company that understands the meaning of going the extra mile for their customers.  A crazy idea…but one that just might work!

Happy Wine Tasting Weekend!


Online Wine Sales

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Still here in Israel and having a blast…while working my ass off.  Still sleep deprived as well, but I’ll have plenty of time to sleep…in another life.

In the meantime I have been speaking with lots of people here about online wine sales.   There are many different opinions and thoughts as to how viable online sales of wine really is.  I suppose you can visit online retailers such as  and or a brick & mortar with a massive online presence in winelibrary and you will find some apparently thriving businesses.  Amazon has recently thrown their hat into the online wine sales ring, while it is reported that the Wall Street Journal is even getting involved.

wine online

I must admit that I am a bit skeptical.  Which seems weird when I think about how many time I myself have purchased wine online – but I am an admitted wine buying addict.  The skepticism I have comes from the realization relating to when wine purchased is consumed.  And the answer to that question is (about 90+% of the time) IMMEDIATELY.  OK, not the instant one leaves the wine shop, but certainly within 24-48 hours – and apparently generally even within 1-2 hours.  So where do online wine purchases fit into this equation??

Thanks to Megan of “Wine & Spirits Daily”  I discovered this recently written Reuters article.  An interesting little read that does point out that online sales only represents about 1-2% of US wine sales.  Ahhhh…who knows…???  I guess only time will tell…

Happy online wine (purchasing then) tasting!


A new kind of blog post – wine deals!

Friday, January 25th, 2008

I receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 emails/day from various online wine retailers. From to wine Library it is a wonder there is not a professional association for “Addicted wine buyers anonymous” (I would be the “President and also a member”!).

Given sufficient time I will try and go through the various offerings and see if there are any I believe to be standouts, and if there are i will post them. While all these emails advertise the HUGE discount these wines are being offered at versus their typical price, a little additional research reveals that more often than not, this discount represents the price drawing closer to the mean price for said wine. My simple method for determining which offers are in fact standouts involves visiting good old to see what the same wine is selling for at other online retailers. Hope this proves to be valuable to some of you…

Please feel free to drop me a quick note and let me know if you feel this as a valuable service, as that would provide further motivation for keeping up with said posts. I will try and start off with todays best deal shortly… STAY TUNED….

OK…went through a bunch of emails and there was one deal that seemed to stand out.  On you can pick up a Knights Valley Beringer 2000 Cab for $19.67.  BUY HERE.   Saw it selling elsewhere for $25 and being auctioned for starting bids of $20 or $25.  Not necessarily a “no brainer must buy”, but a nice Cali Cab under $20 from a reliable producer…

Have a great weekend.


Blogging from the Israel Wine World

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to blog about tonight and two controversial issues come to mind, relating to the following two topics:

1 – Internet sales of wine

2 – Wine ratings/reviews

The first, internet sales of wine has come up as there is presently a very exciting project underway to sell Israeli wines online. While I believe that the project will ultimately be successful I have urged my contacts to be realistic in their expectations. It has also come up in the “wine world” of late given a little controversy surrounding and how the CEO has been very vocal in pointing out that there are many retailers illegally shipping wines throughout the US.  This was written about in Wine Spectator in an article “ Conducts Sting Operation Aginst Other Retailers“.  I’ll blog about this further as it becomes more relevant.

Wine ratings & reviews has come up as everyone in Israel has an opinion when it comes to the recent Wine Advocate review of israeli wines. I can probably write a book on this topic just based on conversations I have had the last week here in Israel. BUT, what I want to touch upon is something a bit more controversial (and interesting). It was expected, and realized that many of the wines would receive scores a few points lower than the wineries would have liked – OR, then local wine critics have given. At the same time something UNEXPECTED HAPPENED, there were a few wines that received scores higher than people here are used to seeing from the specific winery. How could such a thing happen??? Lower scores, OK – it was expected. But higher scores????

N O, accusations were not made. BUT, it was pointed out that there are WAYS of “tricking” wine critics. Especially when the critic is not familiar with the wine AND/OR the wine is not available in the market where the critic resides (so they can’t simply go to the store and buy a bottle). One such method can be perpetrated when the winery, during the barrel aging process, discovers that one barrel is responding particularly well to a given wine. Rather then blending that barrel in with the rest of the batch, the barrel might be bottled separately, and those bottles might be put aside for personal use AND WINE REVIEWS.

Again, there were no accusations & knowing many of the winemakers & wineries I do not believe that this took place. I am simply blogging about something which COULD take place and that is much more interesting than telling you about how great the winemakers are, how beautiful the country is, and how darn COLD it has been here since I arrived.

OK, enough controversy stirring for me for one night. Have a fabulous weekend wine drinkers of the world. I will be enjoying lots of Israeli wine this weekend with all kinds of special friends. I suggest you do the same!!!