The Wine Drinker

This is the Dead Letter Office of my wine writing. These stories ended up not fitting on our company's Facebook page (Piedmont Wine Imports) or website,, for reasons that I think are clear once you scroll through a few posts. Less professional musings, impressions that ultimately never got past the rough prototype stage. Um... enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


People don’t always fret over wine choices. They still deserve a more enjoyable wine. I don’t understand it, can’t describe the feeling of drinking a healthful, positive wine any more precisely than your average wine seller. There’s a perceivable difference in the feeling from wines made in a deliberately less invasive way. Additional processing and additions to a wine sap energy from product and consumer, and pushed beyond a point change drinking wine from reverie to a slog. Most wine drinkers have (unfortunately) fought their way through a dull, lifeless wine before, and if you connect that sad experience to the way wine is grown and refined, you can quickly see the point of all this natural wine business. There is plenty of marketing and hype swirling around natural wine, an extension of a buzz of energy that began when enough drinkers and wine makers got up the courage to openly rebuke the prevalent wine style of the last several decades.The industry that benefits from a hegemonic acceptance of industrial, technology afflicted wine did (and definitely still does) have exponentially more momentum, marketing cash and press acclaim behind it than the fractuous natural wine movement can muster. But it is true that natural wine has secured its place in our trade. They aren’t going away and proliferation is inevitable: because they taste too good!

For me it felt like articulating the truth. I’d sold and tasted and drank wine 50+ hours a week for a handful of years before my weird moment of enlightenment. I’m not sure if that immersion was necessary prologue, or if I am just a slow-to-connect-the-dots dummy who could have seen the bigger picture earlier.We livein our own skin. I am essentially cautious: I change my opinion in a slow drift. In the decade since gaining understanding of the essential value of natural wine I’ve wandered along the philosophical spectrum of this big-tent movement. Because I don’t know: nobody does, particularly “experts” like me who are not farmers.

Lots of rotten natural wines are out there, generally made by well-meaning enthusiasts who need some technical training and advice. I prefer their work to the rotten wines made by innumerable industrial wine makers, wines that fail because of poor quality fruit with too many non-grape substances added to mask essential agricultural failings. And occasionally good fruit is grown, then (to my palate) ruined by excesses of handling and hubris. To each their own, to some degree. Taking my work seriously requires taking a position and promoting the best examples of that point of view that I can find. Very few people think about wine daily, even weekly. Wine trade people exist to take seriously these issues and reward drinkers who trust us to do our jobs with their best interests, and dinner, in mind.


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