Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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  Editorial Issue 130, June 2014   
Make It SimpleMake It Simple  Contents 
Issue 129, May 2014 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 131, Summer 2014

Make It Simple


 It is now quite a long of time, in the world of wine, they are saying we should simplify the way we are communicating the subject about the beverage of Bacchus. It seems wine is a quite hard subject, difficult and incomprehensible, what the people read or listen about wine leave them confused and distant. Wine is a popular beverage belonging to everyone's culture, despite in remote times it was mainly used for sacred purposes and, most of the times, exclusively consumed by the officiants of religious rites. The original sacred role of wine changed over time and it quickly became the protagonist of banquets and symposia, most of the times being far away from the common concept of sacredness, considered as a beverage capable of cheering up life and pleasure of men. Therefore considered as a “food”, wine quickly played an important role in social and popular life, an element of strong cultural and traditional meaning.


 

 In the course of its history, wine has always been subject of comparisons, virtually endless debates on what was the best, on the best grapes, areas, producers and styles. By considering the literature of the past, wine has frequently been subject of books and it has been mentioned in many documents as well as being subject of many paintings and works. It is simply the sign of the importance wine has for men, from simple fellow of the table to symbol of richness and wellness, last but not the least, a sign of social identification. Personal assets, today and in the past, allow in fact to enjoy the best wines: in the tables of the affluent classes quality wines has always been found. The ones who could not afford it - today and in the past - always had to be happy with what their assets allowed them to buy, and they also had to find a way to like it.

 Around wine has been created a specific vocabulary that, more or less, everyone uses in order to tell wine qualities. It is not, of course, a forced model everyone must use, indeed it is a method allowing the sharing of technical concepts. The result of these conventions undoubtedly had the merit of encouraging wine making quality, by communicating - not only to technicians, but also to consumers - the criteria of a reference quality. It should however be noticed quality is never an absolute factor: it is a reference model in which a group recognizes a model as well as the same moral and cultural principles. This is also true for consumers and producers as, it is undeniable, the concept of wine quality is not always agreed in different groups. There are factors, like to say, universally accepted to which are added the ones of each group.

 If it is true the quality of wine got better in the last years, this undeniably was because of this type of communication which forced, like to say, producers to make better wines. This also caused the promotion of wine culture in consumers, who had tools and information allowing them a better understanding of wine quality. Sometimes they exaggerated in this, sometimes the concepts have been exasperated while making them vague and incomprehensible, however it is also true this avoided wine to become a banal subject. A complex beverage, result of many factors, each of them equally important in making the character of wine, they cannot be considered superficially. Superficiality is, after all, one of the typical factors of standardization: everything looks the same, everything must sadly be the same.

 I frequently hear producers and communicators, also the ones belonging to certain wine associations, saying communication of wine should be simpler. I do not completely agree on this, although I agree on the fact the excess of technique is something mainly interesting for the ones working in the world of wine while it is negligible for consumers. After all, it is easily understandable consumers can be puzzled by an excessive technical talk typical of wine makers and tasters. Wine, after all, is a popular beverage and who consume wine is not usually interested in making it: they are mainly interested in its appreciation. Producers, besides making wine, have the need to sell it, even in case it is not exactly good or does not necessarily meet universally agreed quality criteria. On this regard, it certainly is easier to sell mediocre products to consumers having a “simple and simplified” culture. For this reason, in particular in these times - which cannot be certainly defined favorable according to an economy point of view - I believe producers strongly need to make profits “at any cost”.

 Demanding consumers want - according to their assets - products of higher quality. Ignorant consumers, plagiarized by a simple culture and with no pretensions, can be easily directed towards standardization. It is very easy, at that point, to make someone believe a mediocre or a bad product is of very high quality, in particular to those having a simple view. In case we simply consider a speculative point of view of the ones making wine and want to get the best profit out of it, the most important thing is selling wine, it is important consumers uncork and drink bottles. The rest is marginal and can also be an obstacle to this goal. For many years we focused on the differences and the importance of every single factor - including territory, grapes, producers - and the simplification of these concepts make them appear banal, even secondary and useless. Knowledge makes a difference, this is true in everything, including wine. Let's then welcome a wine told in simple ways, hopefully with the same banal and frivolous tales of magic and enchanted worlds: after all, all we need to know about a wine is whether it is red or white. Simple, clear, everyone can understand that, in particular, when they are not talking about wine at all. The rest is useless, complicated and boring.

Antonello Biancalana






   Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Editorial column Wine Tasting 
  Editorial Issue 130, June 2014   
Make It SimpleMake It Simple  Contents 
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