[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.