Editor's note: This is part of the weekend series of posts by guest authors, who are fellow bloggers, wine industry folk and Basic Juice readers. If you are interested in being a guest author on Basic Juice, contact me with a proposal, and we'll see if we can't introduce the world to your handiwork.)
Guest Author: Jameson of Le Wine Blog
As a monumentally biased person who toils as a sales rep for a local wine distributor in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, I can tell you two things:
1) You can set your watch to me being at Smarty Pants Friday afternoons, drinking a PBR and eating a Ms. Piggy. (Mmm…beer and hog fat.)
2) There is a lot of talk about Costco and its successful lawsuit to eliminate a cornerstone policy of the wine distribution system in Washington, commonly referred to as the “three-tier” system. In a nutshell, wineries sell to distributors who sell it to retailers. (Washington wines excluded, natch!) There are numerous other policies related to pricing.
Costco says that by ditching these policies, wine will be cheaper to consumers by eliminating the middle, uh, person. Yeah, but then Costco, with its incredible buying power, will further consolidate the market. (It’s already a nightmare; go into most grocery stores and they are probably 90% dominated by three companies at the most.) But what wines will they order? Chateau Clown Juice? How would the selection be? I think there will still be wineries that have limited production, or are so esoteric that Costco will not want to deal with them. There will be a need for local distributors to seek out these wines and give them the attention they deserve. And would wine still be cheaper without distributors? Chateau CJ will have to add a lot more people and resources now that they do not have a distributor doing a chunk of the heavy lifting. That costs $$$.
Hey, the current system is warped. It’s like convoluted wine socialism run by petty-tyrant bureaucrats. Most importantly: I can’t buy bourbon at a grocery store!!! Certainly there is a lot of nudge-nudge, wink-wink going on behind the scenes, making a mockery of the idea that everyone from Le Boutique Wine Shop to the Megalomart are all on a level playing field. It’s not going to stop me, however, from having my friend with a Costco card pose as my life partner to get me cheap tires.
Costco? Pricing? Tires? Did I mention the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?
Beau is never going to let me guest again.
Wait, I did just drink a 2002 Baumard Savennieres Clos du Papillon. This wine rolls up and smokes any domestic white. It has an incredible natural richness to start and sizzling acidity to finish; this is a wine as complex and fascinating as any big, brooding red. Hooray for Chenin Blanc! Criminally underappreciated and therefore, thankfully, somewhat reasonably priced. How does Rombauer Chardonnay cost more than the Baumard?!? Get outta town!
And one more thing about Georgetown: BEST NEON SIGN EVER!!! Makes me want to celebrate with a sparkling Vouvray.