Analogue in a digital world


Analogue in a digital world

keys niepoort

Vinyl isn’t dead.

That is remarkable, on so many levels. Digital is better than analogue. So we are told. When CDs came along, the days of vinyl were fast running out.

Then, with the advent of digital music delivery and iTunes, surely analogue was finished. We’d entered the digital era.

I think there’s a parallel with digital and analogue in how we live our lives. It’s now possible to be connected all the time. It has never been easier to work excessively in this always-on age. With the increase in competition, how can we afford to switch off? At all?

The challenge for a freelancer like me is that the more I work the more money I earn. Why shouldn’t I work more, and harder, and more efficiently (plenty of self-help books promising to assist me in this)? Wouldn’t it be madness not to?

It’s all very digital thinking. And I’m not sure it’s very healthy. What about down-time? What about the mundane? Of course, if you are very successful you get rid of the mundane by paying other people to do it, and there’s no real downtime because you are always connected and can fill in the gaps by getting your phone out.

I am guilty of this, and I don’t think it’s terribly healthy. We humans are analogue by design, not digital. I’m not rejecting the digital, though. Always-on allows me to do my job. In terms of music, subscription services like Spotify and Deezer open up a whole catalogue of musical discovery that’s quite amazing.

But it requires discipline and wisdom to navigate the new now and stay fully human: to remain analogue. Discipline to not fill all the moments; to leave space; to have down-time. As an aside, I’m also not a huge fan of the headphones culture, even though I love music. Listening is part of being present, and it surprises me when I see people taking a walk or run somewhere natural and beautiful who aren’t also listening.

So, how does this apply to wine? I think wine is one of the few products that is still widely made on a human scale. That’s because it relies on grapes, and vines care about where they are planted and top vineyards are usually quite small. Family businesses often make the best wines. Despite all the modern technology that’s available to winegrowers, there are still plenty of cellars that use traditional techniques. The best wines are analogue not digital.

It’s reassuring that vinyl isn’t dead. It’s reassuring that Moleskine notebooks and ink pens still exist. It’s reassuring that people still buy books. Analogue is human.

2 Comments on Analogue in a digital world
wine journalist and flavour obsessive

2 thoughts on “Analogue in a digital world

  1. For me analogue is simply about being human, talking to someone by telephone, even better seeing them face to face, whereas digital used to be an e-mail but is now a text, emoji, a trivial posting on social media. Digital may have brought great benefits but it comes at a cost to our souls. I am now overwhelmed with too much information that I cannot possibly absorb, even worse too much misinformation masquerading as information. Digital is seeing tables of people in a restaurant who spend most of the time staring at the screens of their smartphones instead of talking and experiencing the ‘now’. In musical terms I find the likes of Spotify to be distracting, with so much choice that I become restless. When I put an album on my turntable I listen to it all the way through. Incidentally how many people these days sit down and listen to music at home with their family or friends, something commonplace when I was younger? In terms of wine it’s perhaps a simplification but I view it as digital when it becomes an industrial process, churning out vast quantities of an alcoholic beverage to an invariably low price point. Analogue brings the human back into the equation, someone who cares about what they are doing.

  2. 100% agree! Nothing is more important, than to be as close to nature as possible. Technology and science are here to help us to understand how to make good and better wine, not for modern market, but for human enjoyment. The real wine is the goal, not the instrument to earn more money.
    So we believe in it. My small family estate is our analog way of living making wine first of all for us, the rest we sell through direct marketing. Our wine has name, it is born, live and die. Every year is a new child, new name, new experience. Garage winery.

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