But that's what winemakers are doing. They're fighting for our taste buds and our minds. And in the quest for our minds, New Worlders are winning. Why? In a word: marketing.
And that's where Old Worlders have fallen behind. For too long, they didn't play the game. They didn't embrace the global marketplace with a big, wide bear hug. They didn't think they needed to. They were wrong.
I get this.
People want at-a-glance labels, suggested pairings, critters, playful names and specified grapes. They don't want micro appellations, regular-size appellations or any appellation, for that matter. They want wine. Just wine. So many people don't really care where it comes from or about the traditions and geography behind it.
The German wine industry has taken this so much to heart that it's changing the name of one of its wine regions (they've done this before). The Mosel-Saar-Ruwer appellation will most likely become Mosel. Why? Because it's easier to say and remember. For who, you ask? Not the Germans, I'm guessing.
And this is where I get off the bus.
I fear this rush to make wine look the same on the outside will ultimately homogenize what's on the inside. And I don't think I'm far off this one. If wine drinkers have become so lazy that they can't be bothered to know that Chianti is made from the sangiovese grape, why should their taste buds be bothered to know the difference between quality and plonk or even red from white?
I know, I know. We're busy. We have far too many things floating around in our heads already. We shouldn't have to know that Sancerre is sauvignon blanc to be able to enjoy wine. But that's the thing. You don't need to know that. All you need to do is try it. Most people don't wonder what's in their beer or how their Jack Daniels was made. It's just something we drink; it's part of our culture - the way wine is a part of so many other cultures.
I'm all for demystifying wine, but for me, that's done in the mouth. The idea that generic labels will help the average consumer enjoy wine more is something that's being perpetuated by the very people who made it intimidating in the first place: marketers.
Categories: wine, marketing, wine labels