It may not be the equivalent of toilet paper as Annette Alvarez-Peters, the head wine buyer at Costco, so famously suggested in a CNBC special, but wine is a consumable.
Up next in our Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery is our eighth and perhaps most controversial rule (to some): Wine Is A Consumable.
Of course, on the one hand, wine is a consumable as even if it is cellared for decades, it is still meant to be consumed at some point. What we’re talking about; however, is the category of consumable commodities – something that is meant to be used up, and normally relatively quickly. This does indeed put it into the same category as items such as office supplies, groceries, gas and yes, toilet paper.
This really shouldn’t seem all that controversial. Simply take a look at the vast array of brands and bottles on the shelves at your local stores and it’s obvious. The wine industry survives on the fact that wine is a consumable.
What seemed to provoke the wine snobs’ ire in Alvarez-Peters statement was the suggestion that people shop for wine like they do for consumables like toilet paper. You know, as in price is important and that you don’t necessarily need any special knowledge to buy a good wine.
Our take? Wine is not life or death. You buy it, you enjoy drinking it, and Lord willing you repeat at some point in the future.
Some people cellar their wine for long periods, but it is only a tiny slice of the market. (About 6% in this recent study.) As such, don’t worry too much about getting the “right” wine. Try a wide variety and you’ll soon find what you like (Tenet #3 in action). And if you get a bad one, take it back and move on. (Yes, take it back; plenty of stores like Trader Joe’s and Costco will happily take returns on opened wine.)
One of the saddest effects of the notion that special knowledge or lots of money are needed to buy a good wine is that it creates a barrier to entry for new wine drinkers. What should be a fun, life-long exploration of the myriad of options available to wine drinkers today gets short-circuited before it can even start.
What people may not have caught in the association of toilet paper with wine is that, at least in our opinion, both are necessities. So, yes, we say go ahead and fill up your shopping cart with plenty of toilet paper and wine and enjoy!
Up Next…Tenet #9: The wine industry needs to change its ways or quit complaining about wine ratings.
Find our complete Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery in summary form here with links to each as they are detailed.