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Beverage Trade Network

Damned Experts! Damned “Know-Nothings!” … (Damn You, Consumers)

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 9.47.18 PMA lot of my wine opinions in NewsFetch attract critical emails.

Those emails fall into two categories:

  1. I know nothing about wine, and therefore can’t trust what my palate says I like.
  2. I am an expert and know too much about wine, and therefore can’t trust what my palate says I like.

Yes, I do know a couple of thing ABOUT wine. I’ve studied it for more than 40 years, have owned a fine wine import company and been a judge at some major international wine competitions.

That experience has given me a pretty good handle on what I like and don’t like – but only after I have tasted the wine. Knowing a lot ABOUT wine, however, is useless at finding a wine I know I will like when I shop like the average consumer at Safeway or other retail outlets.

(For more on that, see “Welcome To The Vino Casino And Wine’s Shaky Core“)

Tasting a lot of wine lets me know that I don’t like a lot wines that critics score very highly. And I do like a lot of inexpensive wines that the critics turn their noses up at or never review at all.

The Know-Nothing Expert = Average Consumer

Last week, I slammed a couple of wines that were awful. One email called me a “no nothing” and the other, an “expert.”

In reality, that puts me right in the middle — just like an average consumer: I know what I like, but there is no way for me  to find what I like with any more accuracy than betting on a roulette spin.

The Truth About Retail Wine: Knowing A Lot = Knowing Nothing

My experience shows that knowing a lot about wine is no better at finding wine to one’s taste than knowing nothing at all about wine.

That’s a major reason why people turn to beer, spirits and cocktails.

Make no mistake: wineries will continue to shoot themselves in the feet because of the current and total lack of any accurate way for a consumer to be assured that they are buying a wine they know they will like.

Read “Welcome To The Vino Casino And Wine’s Shaky Core” and you will know why it’s been years since I have bought wine that I have not previously tasted … unless, I am shopping like the average consumer so that I can write about what I have found.

Take This Test!

Walk into a retail outlet … Saveway, BevMo, Costco … Pick a bottle at random from a winery you have never tried before. Then ask your self (honestly): “How do I know I will like this bottle.”

Then get used to an uncomfortable feeling. Because you don’t know .