Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lost at Sea

Brad Post:

I’m no slouch when it comes to wine. Well, perhaps I do possess certain slouch-like characteristics such as yesterday when I visited a local wine store. With some time to kill before I had to pick up my wife from work, I decided to gather some supplies at the grocery store and to poke my head into the wine department.

What began as a “poke” became an extended browse as I inched my way from Argentina to New Zeeland, around the corner to Cabernet Sauvignon and by-passing Chardonnay land, with a brief stop by Iowa wines to say hi, and slowly crept past my old friends: Zinfandel and Petit Syrah, and finally ending in a colorful foil enshrined and encapsulated sparkler section – a magical place.

The dizzying selection of wines captured my attention as my eyes darted from cute to sophisticated labels, checking out prices, and scanning for the occasional wine review and numerical evaluation assigned by some faraway wine snob. Without much else to go by the 91 (out of 100, I assume) seemed like a fair bet. Only once, while standing there in my slouch-like trance, did a wine store employee stop by to ask if I had a question. I must have mumbled something like, “well, I am just looking at the pretty labels” or words to that effect, and she promptly did an about-face, never to return. I was abandoned!

I was lost in a sea of choices! Just like the damn ice cream stores with their 83 varieties – what evil monster is behind this vast kaleidoscope of oenophile opportunities? For a second I looked over both shoulders to see if there was a curtain from which some master-mind orchestrated this wicked play. But alas, it was just me and the wine, and then looking down at my watch I realized I had overstayed my brief visit and it was time to go.

There are worse things than leaving a wine store empty handed. Right?

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Brad Johnson is a contributing writer for Make Mine Wine Magazine, an artisan winemaker, and proud member of the Eastern Iowa Wine Club. He Tweets as "Iowine".

1 comment:

  1. Here we are in the information age and the average wine buyer is stuck making their decision based on incomplete and conflicting information. That some salesman came by to assist you is nice, but it fails to address the basic issue of distribution of information at the place of sale.

    How lovely would it have been were there a kiosk (or iPhone app) of some sort which put the wine in perspective with your personal preferences. Upon that, a value layer which would have assisted you on making an informed decision based upon value.

    What is absent is the hook between what the individual wine consumer prefers and what the wine industry provides.

    It is all too much to ask for right now: but might be that killer app I hear everyone talking about.