Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wine on Steroids

You think steroids in baseball is a travesty? An equally troubling scenario may very well be in the offing for the wine world, and we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg at this point. A wine critic in New Zealand has made a very convincing case that some wineries are skewing wine competition results by sending bulked up product for judging that bears little relationship to the product you and I buy on the shelf. It gives a whole new meaning to the word "juiced."



I can't help but think that this little kiwi wine scandal might help explain something that I've noticed: some darn mediocre or even poor wines that I've tasted have somehow won medals in wine competitions somewhere. Could they be pulling the wool over someone's eyes?

I know that's unfair to many wineries. But my point is that many people already think this way. This scandal will make things worse, I'm sure. And, if you carry the same suspicions, or even paranoia, over into a broader context, i.e., wine ratings, the PR damage could be far-reaching.

Many people already are fed up with the wine rating system. So many people now base their purchasing decisions on wine ratings that a big scandal could have a huge impact on wine buying.
Many people I know already regard wine ratings by the big wine magazines as a joke. I can't tell you how many people in the retail business, if you know them, wink when they talk about the ratings big advertizers get from the wine mags.

The answer is clear. The wine mags need to cover this issue as though their lives depended on it. They claim to taste all wines blind, but they need to lay it all out bare. How does the tasting process work exactly and what are their codes of ethics. And, they need to cover stories like the one out of New Zealand vigorously. Then again, maybe they'll just let the blogosphere do it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Big jim said...

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3:54 AM  
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12:30 PM  

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