Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 46, November 2006   
The Power of SuggestionThe Power of Suggestion MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 45, October 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 47, December 2006

The Power of Suggestion


 Wine is a pretty common subject, now considered as a fashionable and trendy subject, every communication media dedicates some time to the beverage of Bacchus. Television, newspapers, radio, internet and magazines all dedicate columns and programs to the visibility of wine. There is no doubt wine is indissolubly connected to our culture, a reason which probably justifies its imposing presence on mass communication. Talking about wine, there is no doubt about this, is good for wine, provided it is done honestly, correctly and with good criteria, in every aspect and loyally. What it is not good for wine are some “know-it-all” behaviors which inevitably get full of exaggeration, making wine into something it is not, as if they would made everyone believe at any cost iron is like gold. There is no doubt that being in the limelight, in front of an audience more or less interested and more or less disposed to listen critically to some non sense, offers a good temptation to mount a silly show, even convinced to appear credible, authoritative and indisputable.


 

 Anyway wine - besides being a beverage, first of all - it essentially is an emotion, a subjective experience in which everyone finds something different from any other else. We are not all alike. There is who is disposed to listen and to support the sumptuous comments of others, who with a “know-it-all” and expert behavior also believing they can convince everyone with their infallible opinion. Most of the times, being in the doubt of ignorance and discomfort, it is always better to stay in the wave of majority, in order to have the impression of being on the right side. According to a social point of view, belonging to a group which is identifiable in specific philosophies, school of thought and life styles, it is something very interesting for human beings, as if this would be enough in order to have an identity and dignity, in other words, to be acceptable. Something that, there is no doubt, we can find in wine as well, which is sometimes used as an element of identity among its supporters.

 How much important is the power of suggestion in the communication of wine? Suggestion in wine plays an important role, just like in every other product, just like in every other type of marketing. An example can be represented by the so called labels drinkers who consider, first of all, the producer and what it is written on the label, then to the content of the bottle. Even worse are the ones who are fond of some labels and some wines without having never tasted them, without having never seen their bottles for real. Power of suggestion! It is enough to be convincing in saying a producer or a wine are of high quality, of impeccable elegance and prestige, and it is enough to spread a common and strong idea without even providing or having any objective proof of facts. Convictions which then flood everywhere and create other suggestions: an infallible way to create a myth. A spreading of the word which gets bigger and bigger at every passage and becomes almost unreal, an illusion so far from reality which manifests all of its normality when, finally, one has the opportunity to personally try it. Something which happens, of course, to few lucky ones only.

 Indeed this exaggerated suggestion can also create a negative effect on those subjects who, having a sense of criticism, finally have the chance to taste the wine of their dreams and, excited because of their fantastic expectations, after having tasted it, they are disappointed and all they can say is «well, is it all that only?». Disappointment is even bigger when they find out there are many wines sold at very lower prices and have nothing less than the most prestigious wines. Moreover, if we base our criticism on price, if we are disposed to forgive some faults to a 10 euros wine, to a 100 euros wine we should not forgive anything, not even the slightest fault. After all, if a producer asks much for his or her wines, he or she must be disposed to give much as well: it is not acceptable that with the only suggestion of price they can believe consumers are happy for a presumed quality ensured by the words, or better to say, by the price. A higher price does not always mean a better quality.

 Moreover, to what deleterious consequences bring the suggestions caused by some “experts”, who feel so authoritative because they are on the pulpit of the television, they believe they can say the most idiot non sense also convinced they are credible. Of course, we have no intention in complaining about television shows talking about wine, we do not want to associate the bad things to the good ones. However, it should be right in case someone would make sure about the reliability and the competence of some “personages” who as soon as they are on the TV, the best they can do is to open the mouth and let the air out. To give a better idea of what we are talking about, we can cite a couple of things seen on a two different TV shows. The first one is about a cook who, after having finished the preparation of his risotto with shrimps and zucchini, when the host of the show asked him about the wine to be matched to his dish, the impeccable cook, without hesitation - as well as without thinking about what he was saying - triumphantly suggested an Amarone della Valpolicella! De gustibus non disputamdum est, (there is no dispute about tastes) however in this specific case, saying it is an exaggeration is really too little. It is like facing an army of ants with a flamethrower!

 What can we say about that competent wine expert - this is how the anchorwoman introduced him - who in another TV show said there is no difference between Bordeaux and Barolo? Not bad, very good job! After all, they both are wines, there is no doubt about this! Who knows whether the impeccable expert has ever tasted these two wines, or better if he had the chance to compare them in two glasses: it is enough to take a look at them, with no further investigation, to understand they are two completely different wines. At least, in these two cases, we can only wish ourselves the suggestion which was possibly induced by these two indispensable advices will be useful as an eye-opener for the less competent ones. Moreover, this kind of information is not good for wine, to its culture and its tradition: the only purpose is to create and spread ignorance among the less competent consumers who, not having nor the competence or chance, they end up believing to what they hear from the ones who are supposed to be more competent. Wine is an emotional beverage and it represents something different for everyone and no one has the right to criticize the tastes of others or to try to change them. That's why the best way to understand a wine is to uncork the bottle, pour it on a glass, listen to its story and let it to introduce ourselves to its personal and unique suggestion.

 



   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column ABC Wine 
  Editorial Issue 46, November 2006   
The Power of SuggestionThe Power of Suggestion MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
Issue 45, October 2006 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 47, December 2006

MailBox


 In this column are published our reader's mail. If you have any comment or any question or just want to express your opinion about wine, send your letters to our editorial or fill in the form available at our site.

 

I make some hectoliters of red wine for personal consumption. This red wine, in which I do not add any potassium metabisulfite, is kept in good conditions until March-April, after then it takes a bad taste and a brownish color. In order to avoid this inconvenience, do you suggest the use of potassium metabisulfite as to allow its keeping for at least one year?
Giancarlo Ottaviani -- Genga, Ancona (Italy)
The use of sulfur dioxide in wine making plays a fundamental and indispensable role, also in the production of red wines. The use of sulfur dioxide in the form of potassium metabisulfite or other chemical substances, is also useful for the initial processing of the must. In fact, sulfur dioxide improves the extraction of tannins and color from the skins of red grapes during maceration, also favoring, among the other things, a positive selection of yeasts which will start alcoholic fermentation. Sulfur dioxide is also useful for the correct keeping, health and stability of wine, preventing, among the other things, deleterious oxidations, also in the case of red wines. The use of sulfur dioxide is always advisable and recommended every time the wine is decanted in cellar, as the contact with the air and oxygen always represents a serious factor of risk for the proper keeping of wine. A precaution which is recommended and indispensable for every type of wine, including red wines.



What is the best way to keep an opened bottle of wine?
Dacey Newell -- Mogadore, Ohio (USA)
The keeping of an opened bottle of wine and not completely consumed is a frequent problem among wine lovers. As the bottle is opened, no matter the keeping method used, it is always best to consume the leftover wine within two or three days. Wine is a “live” product which can easily get spoiled in contact with oxygen, therefore the main problem in keeping wine is to allow the least possible contact with air. There are many systems which can be used in order to limit this inconvenience, from closures allowing the elimination of most of the air contained in a bottle by using a pump, to nitrogen cans to be sprayed over the wine in the bottle. The bottle can also be kept in the fridge, properly sealed with a cork, even better with a closure allowing the partial vacuuming in the bottle, and thanks to low temperature, spoilage and oxidation processes are slowed down. In this specific case, it is good to remember wine should not be kept in the fridge for more than one day, therefore this method is useful only in case the bottle will be consumed within the day after. A method allowing the limited contact with the air consists in pouring the wine in a smaller bottle - such as 500 or 375ml half bottles - completely filled when possible, therefore sealed with a cork. In this way the contact surface will be further reduced. However, and no matter the keeping method used, it is always preferred to consume a leftover wine within two or three days.



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  Editorial Issue 46, November 2006   
The Power of SuggestionThe Power of Suggestion MailBoxMailBox  Contents 
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