Beauty, ugliness and branded wines

[A post prompted by a twitter discussion with Robert Joseph and Tim Atkin.]

It is great for the wine world when big brands do a good job. Examples that come to mind: Jacob’s Creek, Brancott, Concha y Toro.

It is hard for big wine brands to be good. This is because making authentic wine requires attention to detail. Lots of little details make a good wine. It’s hard for wine to be scaleable, because it’s an agricultural, not a manufactured product, and you only get one vintage a year. Take short cuts in the vineyard and the wine quality will suffer.

Of course, some of the most successful wine brands are what I would describe as bad wines. Sweetened up, aiming at the lowest common denominator. They are ugly, and I realise that by saying this I am making an aesthetic judgement.

We all have enough ugliness in our lives, and we need more beauty. More authenticity.

Good, authentic food and wine can be a source of beauty and interest in our lives. Its pursuit and consumption can provide a shared pleasure, because eating and drinking are eminently sociable activities. It is a shared beauty accessible to all.

But the problem is that in our modern society, it is not accessible to all because of the modern retail environment.

I wouldn’t force my tastes on anyone. I just want everyone to have a chance to experience the authentic and beautiful. If they then reject it, fine. But for them never to have the chance is sad.

Everyone should have a chance to fall in love with good wine. That so few rarely get to experience the real thing is a shame. That’s what we should try to address. Some will respond, and their lives will be enriched by it. That’s why good, big wine brands are important. They give people a chance to experience good wine.

2 comments to Beauty, ugliness and branded wines

  • KRL

    Jacob’s Creek? Seriously?

  • Steve

    Well, duh. JC ranges from the plain but worthy to the surprisingly excellent, and not just the Steingarten Riesling. Perhaps you ought to try them blind without your blinkers on and stop confusing it with Yellow Tail, Blossom Ill and the like.

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