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Friday, June 21, 2013

Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery

A bit of a departure today from our normal schedule of reviews but seeing as The Reverse Wine Snob is about 2.5 years old now and the About page is probably getting a little rusty I thought it might be good to revisit a bit of what this site is all about. Here then are a few (ten to be exact) of the beliefs that we hold dear here at The Reverse Wine Snob -- that likely fly in the face of much you hear at other wine sites.

Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery
Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery

1) We believe that you should buy wine that fits your lifestyle, not change your lifestyle to fit your wine. For most of us this means buying wine that you can pair with normal food (or no food at all!) and drinking it from basic, inexpensive (even [gasp] dishwasher-safe!) wine glasses and feeling good about it. Too many wineries miss the boat big-time here, trying to be aspirational and ending up being exclusionary to the detriment of themselves and the industry. They need to stop.

2) We believe you should drink what you like. If syrupy sugary sweet Moscato with an ice cube in it is your thing, go to town! Likewise if it is Barolo.

3) We also believe you should experiment with new wine. Push your boundaries a bit, you never know what you might find. This goes for the Moscato drinker as well as the Barolo aficionado. Keep an open mind.

4) Wine under $20 is not a compromise. This is despite what you might hear from the people who are actually selling the under $20 wine themselves. Telling us that it tastes similar to Brunello simply points out that it is not. And while Brunello can be fabulous, so can a lot of wine under $20.

5) The wine industry often seems to forget about the one person that matters, the average consumer. I think much of the wine industry has gotten completely caught up within itself and imagines their target market to be what is in reality a tiny and completely unsustainable portion of the whole, the extremely affluent wine geek. If they were allowed to pick and choose their customers sometimes I wonder if they would pick themselves right out of business.

6) The three tier system sucks and needs to go away. There are hopeful signs in direct shipping and consumer activism. I encourage you to get involved.

7) We love wine. I love wine and I want it to succeed, I want everyone to drink it and I want the industry to reach its full potential and often I see it squandered, and it's frustrating. For better or worse in today's world it's not enough to simply make a good wine, you also need to know your target market and how to reach them. Marketing counts.

8) Even though we love wine, it is still a consumable. It may not be the equivalent of toilet paper as the head wine honcho at Costco so famously suggested but it is still a consumable. It's not life or death. You buy it, you enjoy drinking it and you hopefully repeat at some point in the future. Sure some people cellar their wine for long periods but it is a tiny slice of the market.

9) I'm tired of listening to the wine industry complain about wine ratings. It's completely hypocritical given that they use them as their primary marketing tactic. They can't have it both ways. That said, a rating will mean nothing to you unless it comes from someone with similar taste preferences, so seek those reviewers out.

10) Price is important! There's nothing magical about our $20 limit, but it's ridiculous to not bring price into the equation when considering a wine. This is why our unique rating system factors in price. Most of us are rational human beings who want to get our money's worth. Too many people have allowed themselves to be convinced that price equals quality, which is exactly what most of the wine industry wants you to think. (Hmm, I wonder why...) Studies have shown again and again that it simply does not and this is really what being a Reverse Wine Snob is all about -- breaking the price equals quality equation and judging wine based on your own preferences. See #2.

There we have it, our Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery. And if that doesn't have the wine snobs in a huff, stay tuned for Trader Joe's Week -- hearty recommendations of a whole boatload of cheap Trader Joe's exclusive wine all next week plus insight into the Trader Joe's pricing model and how to get the best deals!


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