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   Share this article     Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 114, January 2013   
Wine WarsWine Wars  Contents 
Issue 113, December 2012 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 115, February 2013

Wine Wars


 This is a story as old as wine, probably originated the day the beverage of Bacchus became part of the culture and evolution of mankind. I already discussed about this subject - something which is probably not beneficial to wine in general - but, as it seems, there is no way to find a peaceful solution. Disputes, diatribes, arguments - frequently supported with no reason and with no competence or knowledge about the subject - start a fire among wine lovers, sometimes even started by the producers themselves. Disputes about wine follow the fate of fashions that, periodically, are poured on the glasses and keep alive the arguments. Passionate supporters line up with one or the other side, frequently the choice of sides goes beyond the two simple alternatives, causing clashes - most of the times of ideological type, almost religious - which seem to have no end. And in case they get to an end, it frequently is because other disputes have been arisen, replacing old fashions and pride, but with the result of keeping alive the yelling of the many, strenuously busy to have their own reasons prevailing over the ones of others.


 

 Objections are made, hurling abuses at everyone, with the only and evident goal: to show, frequently in a blind and hypocrite way, to be right and whoever thinks differently is an ugly, bad and dishonest person. Let's consider producers first, while saying - in a clear way - that, in any case, also when I do not agree on their positions, I always respect, however and in any case, their job and the wines they make, also in case, in an exclusively personal opinion, I don't like them. Respect first of all and above all, arrogance, on the other hand, never justified. Speculation is never justified as well, both ideological and economic. Let's make this clear, once again: making wine, quality wine, is onerous both in economic terms and of resources, therefore it is more than legitimate, as well as wished, profit is one of the main goals. After all, a winery is not a voluntary organization with sincere and noble humanitarian and social goals: it is an enterprise. This is something which should also be understood by consumers, in particular those who associate to wine natural, aulic and romantic feelings only.

 Producers, like to say, are in a certain way forced to support their job and their wines. An unavoidable and understandable choice, also in case it is supported in a sincere and honest way: if producers are not the first ones to believe on their job, it will not certainly be consumers. Moreover, in case these choices are not supported with sincerity and honesty, producers tend to be very polemical and “ferocious” against the producers who do not agree on their choices and on the same way to make and see wine. The result leads to ideological clashes, blaming each other for the reciprocal dishonesty while considering themselves as the only and unique guard of the real wine and of the real way to make wine. Each of them believes to be the authentic repository of an art - which is realized also thanks to science and knowledge, both being never enough, never right - a fierceful defender of “nature” and of a supposed moral, cultural and intellectual integrity. This is something making me smile, in particular if we consider the fact wine does not exist in nature, it is not an invention of “Mother Nature”, it simply is a beverage created by man by interacting with processes Nature uses for its own advantage.

 Nature is not interested in wine at all, not even the humble vine, which we have forced to live in a way, in an environment and for a goal not belonging to it and that Nature did not assign to it. Of course, we all are very happy to know from the golden and purple bunches of grapes can be obtained a noble and inebriating beverage like wine. Or a strong and vigorous condiment like vinegar. As well as a pleasing and sweet juice, to be drunk as soon as it is extracted from crushed berries. Around to what men can obtain from vine have started fierceful wars, all having the goal of asserting the very same thing, although expressed in different forms: proving to be the best. Most of the times, it seems so difficult to understand, as well as having the doubt, that in case the “best” really exists, there is not only one way to be “the best”. Some support the idea wine should be kept away from chemistry, while forgetting wine is also the inevitable result of chemical processes. Some support the idea modern technology is the absolute evil in wine and it should be kept the tradition of past times only, while forgetting past times are just such and, in case this would be possible, no one would probably accept to live like that while renouncing to what progress and time brought to men. Including what it brought to wine, viticulture and enology.

 Besides being fierceful and ruthless, the debate quickly deteriorates as there are many, maybe too much, school of thoughts, philosophies, enlightened enological sects, each of them - in its own logic - exact and indisputable. After all, religions are like that. Diatribes find a natural megaphone in many communication media, including social networks, where many, maybe too much, and, last but not the least, with no competence or knowledge about the subject, “blow their own trumpet”, supporting and passionately defending the cause which becomes an intimate part of themselves. Difference and diversity are priceless heritages, an endless richness beneficial to all, an extraordinary resource for comparison, for the development and improvement of everything. Words spoken only because they must be spoken, without being in the condition of supporting them with real and concrete facts, are useless. They only prove the “subjection of silly servant” to the service of others, while having the illusion, empty and useless, of being “important”, part of a “group of enlightened ones” which in that moment is considered to be the more convenient one.

 These subjects, frequently have presumptuous attitude and of disgusting arrogance, convinced of the fact that what they say is the incontrovertible, absolute and revealed truth. The conflict becomes a way to support one's own pride, with the only goal of safeguarding one's position in the aim of winning the clash. It is completely useless to express an opinion: in case it is contrary to the one of others, the invective enters the scene to defend the lese-majesty. What wine has to do with all that? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. At the end everyone keeps the respective position, everyone continues to prefer one or the other wine, one or the other enological religion, also for continuing to support one's pride and to show others to be on the right side. What remains is an endless debate leaving a pile of rubble, rubble of nothing. To read the words of certain “fights”, it makes this question to come to mind: are we really sure we understood what is wine? Are we really sure these endless debates, in which everyone is however inflexibly convinced of their opinions, is something beneficial to wine? I don't think so. We need a meeting point and to join intents, because if it is true wine and its territories have failed in some aspects, it is mainly because of the endless divisions - of producers, consumers and writers - in supporting the concept, stupidly and blindly, the grass certainly is less green on the other side.

Antonello Biancalana



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