The inconvenient truth for those of us writing about wine is that 90% of all wine is crap. I apologise for putting it so crudely, but that's the way it is.
While I admire the UK supermarket wine buyers, I'm sorry to say that if you were to go into your local supermarket and pick a wine at random, you'd likely be getting something that isn't worth using your weekly alcohol unit allocation on. Serious wine is actually quite hard to find, and you need to know where to look.
We're not just talking about price here. Unfortunately, you can spend a lot of money and end up with rubbish wine.
Once you start spending more, you run a high risk of encountering a 'spoofulated' wine. One that has been tarted up to look like something authentic, or which has been made to appeal to a certain palate - for example, by late picking, extended cold maceration and ludicrous new oak barrel regimes.
I'm also quite depressed by the way that cheap wines are made to imitate more expensive wines. Rather than producing something delicious, authentic and simple, producers feel the need to trick their wines up with grape juice concentrate, barrel alternatives and misguided application of microoxygenation.
But the good news is this: the 10% of wines that aren't crap are utterly compelling, life-enhancing, thrilling examples of how the combination of site, variety and intelligent work in the vineyard and cellar can produce a product that conveys an authentic sense of somewhereness.
I actually feel very positive about the wine industry. My hope is that those who write about wine (1) can tell the difference between authentic and spoofy wines; and (2) can resist the commerical pressures to favour the latter in place of the former.