Where has the good wine gone?
February 03, 2017
I have just come back from a few days in London and I am more depressed than ever for the wine industry and consequently for me. I left the cold North looking for inspiration but after visiting some of the best wine shops in the City under some of the heaviest rain I can remember, I could not wait to come back, I felt down and bored, if London is the rest of the UK in a few years then I think the wine industry is going backwards, not that the rest of the country is in a much better shape.
I saw obscene prices and wines not worth their prices or affordable prices and rubbish wines in all the shops I visited and too many shops selling exactly the same wines only at different prices. I saw 3 categories of wines on sale, awarded, highly rated, expensive wines for people who could afford them, cheap but not cheerful wines for the normal person and the wines from commercial powerhouses, nothing different, nothing to be excited about, nothing that entails a wine drinker like me; not only, the good, reasonable priced bottle of wine wasn’t there, it seems that there is no market for good wine anymore.
It looks that the wine industry is now about everything except the wine, it is about marketing, awards, ratings without thinking that in this day and age every single wine is an award winner or got a good score from someone, there are so many competitions and medals and wine writers that literally every single wine has at least one, and despite the award or the rating given to a specific vintage long gone and the wine ignored since, it stays forever, it is like a birth mark, people buy the sticker on the bottle, it does not matter what it says and where it comes from. And anyone with money to spare is now entering the wine arena looking to produce the next most expensive wine with a fancy label, pressing the organically grown grapes with natural bleach washed feet, only a few hundred bottles made, to justify the insane and unjustifiable price.
At one point there was excitement in the industry, you would go into a shop and feel like a kid in a candy store, now it is like buying underwear, male underwear, it has to be done and depending on how much money we can spend, we choose a shop and a brand.
Luckily there is still plenty of passion in the industry and this is evident by talking to the people working in these shops who instead of trying to sell you the most expensive wine, suggest a hidden bottle, but the problem is that there aren’t many of those hidden bottles. The wine world, thanks to modern technologies has become very small and connected but instead of favouring differentiation, it has brought standardization, everyone is copying everyone else and this is bad for wine lovers.
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