I do this blog for fun, the wines here are some of the very few I can be bothered to write up. The cream has risen.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

An oversupply of good wine?

I've been reading doom and gloom about the wine industry for a while, and there are still calls for 25% of vines to be pulled out, and if they're pulling out the vines that make cask wines and woolcoles cleanskins I'm all for it.

But when you read "oversupply" you need to keep in mind the vast majority of wine made is horrible crap made mainly to get you drunk as cheap as possible.

I'm not sure I see an oversupply of good quality wine, indeed many good producers sell out when they price according to wine quality and not purely what price they'd like to be selling it at. How many times have we seen a wine score a Halliday 94, sell out, then next vintage the price goes up yet the score dropped 4 points.

The biggest problem that many quality wineries have is somewhat of their own making, they spend very little effort on wine education about their product, almost zero in fact. Even at cellar door the vast majority impart little knowledge of their wines and methods unless you ask some searching questions.

The wine industry has this idea that everyone knows heaps about wine because in the circles they move in that's true. The real truth is the vast majority of wine consumers don't know much at all, they have no idea why an oak barrel is considerably better than oak powder/chips, they have no idea what tannins are and the differences between them, they have no idea on what a balanced wine should be like, and most of all they have a hard time telling the difference between a mediocre mass produced adulterated wine that's there to give you a buzz, and a hand made wine with character that is there to give you a memorable buzz.

The really crazy part is the wineries don't even have to spend much money on this education, it's mostly about putting in the effort.

And really, any winery that won't allow tasting of their top shelf at CD are either fools or selling a wine not worth the money - if they don't believe me tasting their $40++ wine will convince me to buy it, why should I gamble on it? I've gotten into my car, searched out their place of business, chosen them from thousands of cellar doors and I can't try their best wine because it's too special? The other side if the coin is if I like it I may end up buying it for many years on mail order. It's called education.

For too many years the quality wine industry has relied on the slogan "life's too short to drink bad wine", and whilst that's true how many consumers know what a good wine is?

I was going to finish my rant there, but there's another side to wine education. If I go to a cellar door or a website and the winery offers me their wine for $20, then next week I go into a chain retailer and I see the wine for $12.99 then I've been educated that (A) I'm silly to buy direct from the winery and (B) the wine wasn't, and never will be again, worth $20. I won't even say much about "members" pricing being more than retail in some cases, except to say what a slap in the face of your best customers.

Don't just show me the price, show me the value!

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