Education. Wine education, that is. Wine producers and wine lovers seem to have a divine inspiration to educate the great vinous unwashed on the ins and outs of malolactic fermentation, cold soaking and methoxypyrazines at every turn. The rationale seems to be that because someone happens to enjoy drinking wine, they want to know every detail of how it is made. Education is claimed to demystify wine and make the product and the subject more approachable.
Consumers are faced with a seemingly impenetrable wall of wine in most retailers and supermarkets. It seems a fair enough assumption that by providing information to a prospective wine buyer they are empowered in their decision making.
Fair enough. But there is a line and many wine lovers, armed with a little information, tend to regularly cross it. I have been guilty of it many times, as my wife likes to remind me.
The push to inform people about the minute details involved in wine is often the thing that alienates them even more. It can create the impression that if you want to ‘get’ wine you need to be interested in all of that and have an understanding of it. It is important to recognise that if someone is a ‘casual’ wine drinker that doesn’t necessarily imply that they drink fewer bottles or less expensive wine than a more ‘serious’ wine drinker. Does everyone who drives a top end car understand the inner workings of the engine? I think not.
Most people are just interested in a bit of basic advice and some recommendations, because quite frankly, they don’t want to spend most of their dinner talking about wine. They would rather be drinking it and I can’t argue with that.