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15 March 2006

Not All Corporate Wine Is Equal

Notequal The Caveman, riffing on Jennifer Rosen's article, "Raise a glass to corporate wine," makes a very interesting point:

"The reality of the modern wine industry is that there exist fewer and fewer independent winemakers. Cheval Blanc, Etude, Ornellaia, Yquem, Penfolds, Coldstream and a vast majority of the better wine producers the world over are now part of corporate portfolios. Like any industry there are good corps and bad ones. Those which recognize and continue to support the ‘artistry’ of winemaking and have not become complacent with quality deserve our continued support. Ms. Rosen’s characterization of corporate wine as cheap wine is an insult to many of the better corporations who continue to produce great wines. Her article should have been entitled ‘in defence of cheap, mass produced wine,’ but even then, I don’t agree."

Indeed.  Those of us who try to steer friends away from bad, cheap wine; and towards better, inexpensive wine (like this), don't view all corporate wine through the same lens.  There are a number of large production wines that I, and others, heartily recommend.  But as I've said before, wine newbies don't need to be constrained to industro-sludge, they simply need a caring pal to point out the hundreds of value-priced alternatives to bad, mass produced wine.


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Beau, There are more than plenty of small independents out there believe me. They just don't have the distribution chanels of the big guys so they take a little more effort to find, that's all. Part of the problem is that everyone wants a great wine for under $10 dollars. If your a small guy producing batches of handcrafted wine, 200 to 500 cases at a time, I don't know how you do that and survive. Here's how we can help. Get people to realize artisan products are always more expensive than mass produced ones. Incidently, Asimov is almost as clever, articulate, and passionate about wine as U. Keep up the good work!


Very good point Randy.
My thinking was this: someone who is very new to wine might balk at paying $15-$20 or more. So we introduce them to good wine through some of the better inexpensive vino (i.e. not the little yello penguins, etc.). Once the winebug has bitten them, then we sidle up and say, "Psst. try this wine it's from a family in lower Timbuktu who pick all the grapes by hand, etc." My fear is that if people come to wine via the corp-sludge, they might swear off the stuff forever!

I know my very first time with wine wasn't pleasant (cough jug wine cough), and it took me a while to come back around and give wine a try again.

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