Comments on: “We are searching for a different winery for this brand” A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 By: Ben Wed, 29 Jul 2009 01:14:06 +0000 The REAL problem are the CONSUMERS who BLINDLY accept ratings and wine show awards as gospel. That and lazy retailers/distributors who only sell wines based on these same results.

good article.

By: bartkid Mon, 27 Jul 2009 21:15:34 +0000 > I apologize on behalf of the winery for this apparent bait and switch.

Reminded me of a recent broadcast by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) on how one can walk into a liquor store, buy a bottle in the “Canadian Wines” section, and walk out with a “blended” wine that is 75% non-Canadian. The bottler has wine from an overseas vineyard which they mix in with Canadian and sell as Canadian. I have no problem with globalization, I have a problem being told one thing and sold another. For shame on the propagators of both of these schemes.

By: James Koch Mon, 27 Jul 2009 05:59:30 +0000 The last paragraph should read: “The way I see it, this ’problem’ has not been created by professional wine critiques but largely by those who are in the business of ”SELLING POINTS” (a large number of retailers, distributors, importers, wineries, restaurants)…not WINE.”

By: James Koch Mon, 27 Jul 2009 05:21:20 +0000 It used to be the importer’s responsibility or that of a (domestic) wine merchant to assure his clientele that the wine he/she was selling was indeed the wine the vintner had sold him.

In case of imported wines I remember clearly that next to the listed name of a wine on a wine list the importer’s name was equally prominently displayed.


The so-called famous ’best barrel/best cask’ was and is still reality. Back then, different importers used to buy different casks of different qualities of the very same wine at different prices. The importer with a very well-off clientele and the highest reputation – established over centuries – was able to afford and offered to purchase the ’best barrel’ priced at a premium. Those merchants who catered to other market segments and looked at wine strictly as commodities were only interested in ’buying famous vineyard/winery names’.

Why does anyone believe that this situation has ever changed? It really hasn’t. Those variations of quality still exist among the same wines.

I started buying individual ’lots’ (individual casks/barrels/tanks) of wines 16 years ago and invented a system to guarantee that I would receive the same wines I tasted, selected and shipped – when I found out that not all things are created equal in the wine business (and not everyone could be (blindly) trusted).

Since 1985 my objective has been to establishing the reputation of the wine producers in our portfolio — not the fame or score of any particular wine reviewer/magazine. As a result almost none of our wines have ever been submitted for a review and therefore almost never been sold in retail shop (no score, no sale) but luckily we’ve been able to build a loyal clientele of restaurant wine buyers/sommeliers who were and are interested in buying top-quality WINES not the newest highest point releases.

Unfortunately, the reputation of a bottle of wine has slowly shifted from the reputation of an importer/wine merchant/winery to ’famous’ wine reviewers/wine magazines over the last decades.

This is how it works today: Once the producer receives a high score he’s basically hit a home run. He’ll be able to sell his entire production (of different qualities) at the very same (high) price and an importer can order the next full containers of ”more of the same”…..

The way I see it, this ’problem’ has been largely created by those who are in the business of ”SELLING POINTS”…not WINE.

By: David Sun, 26 Jul 2009 18:02:31 +0000 Interesting story. But i don’t think the issue is marketing companies creating brands or with Parkerization/globalization of wine, whatever… If one follows Parker, then i would assume they like wines rated high by Parker. If the buyer of a couple cases of this wine, doesn’t like it, well then, that should tell him to stop following Parker, or Miller in this case.

It seems like the real issue here is bottle variation. Sounds like huge variation, even to the embarrassment of the importer. I remember years ago when Parker stopped rating “Fighting Varietals” because by the end of a vintage, it was simply not the same wine (much like Two Buck Chuck). That is the biggest issue with any winery—whether real or virtual, is maintaining the integrity of the product— the blend at the time of bottling to make sure it is consistent. If not, I would hope that the wine critics eventually drop covering that winery.

I would hope that Mr. Kenny starts trying wine that is highly rated & purchased as a result and determining whether his palate is the same as Dr. Miller or Mr. Parker. To simply by 96 pt rated wines that you don’t like, is well, um stupid!

By: KDS Sun, 26 Jul 2009 15:37:03 +0000 The whole thing underlines the need for more standards on labeling. Between private retailer labels and instances such as this, the larger question has less to do with the critics reviews, and more to do with how consumers (and critics, for that matter) find out who actually made what is in the bottle, and where and how it was made.

Maybe Miller should have done more homework on the source of something to which he gave a 96 point rating. WA is pretty upfront, though, that it was established more as a rating service for consumers, and less as a source if vineyard/winery journalism. For the most part, I’m counting on critics to provide me accurate comments on what they smelled and tasted from the bottle. I’m counting on wineries, importers, distributors and retailers to tell me the truth about the wine, and on federal and local regulators to make sure what it says on the label is correct. I don’t know how much I can blame a critic if those folks don’t fulfill their responsibilities. With newspapers and other funding sources for serious investigative journalism dropping like flies, I am grateful for sources like Reuters to catch stuff like this.

By: Sterling Fri, 24 Jul 2009 22:48:24 +0000 The disillusionment of Felix Salmon is seemingly endless.

By: Rockfish Fri, 24 Jul 2009 19:50:27 +0000 dibbly:
My issue is not with “transporting” things, which is how people have procured silk, spices, etc from distant places since the dawn of civilization. My problem is with a world where a British marketing company “invents” a wine brand based on focus group testing, contracts a shady Spanish wine conglomerate to fill bottles with whatever grape swill they have lying around, and ships it to the US in the hands of some marketing lackeys where by some mystery it is declared “fabulous” and “undrinkable” by the same blogging wine critic.
I am mourning the loss of any shred of integrity or authenticity in the brand-managed, out-sourced world we find ourselves in.

By: Daniel Posner Fri, 24 Jul 2009 18:46:57 +0000 Great work, Felix. I hope you continue to follow this story unfold, as the coverup is always bigger than the crime.

By: Kevin Galligan Fri, 24 Jul 2009 17:27:06 +0000 PS. that was also right about the time I stopped paying attention to wine library. Liked the show a lot before then, and have started to watch here and there, but you can’t buy something just because Gary is pushing it.