The “Wanker of Wine” takes on Snobs
I’m not sure Matt Skinner matters that much that I should write about his opinions. However, his opinions on wine drinkers merit a response. Nay, a rant.
Listen to what this wanker has to say:
"If you think of the wine industry as a pie then the snobs are a tiny slice of it. But they’re the slice that f***s it for everyone. Yeah, they’ve got a bit of a conspiracy to mystify it for everyone, to keep the younger generation out of the club. But fortunately, they’re quite old now, so they’re literally dying out. But oh God I’d always rather serve a table of women than men. Men – your average Friday lunchtime table of w**kers – don’t want to listen, they’re competitive with me and they want to get one up on each other by pretending they know the most about wine when blatantly they don’t… Tossers."
First thing you need to know is that Skinner is a "celebrity Sommelier" a la the Naked Chef: a young Brit who’s full of himself and thinks that the community of connoisseurs who came before him just didn’t "get it". His celebrity status might explain the ignorance embodied in the above statement. But I’m not willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think he’s just talking to advance his celebrity. I think he’s one of those new breed of "wine people" who really believe that it’s possible to love wine without appreciating and digging down into its complexity. Of course, that’s impossible.
It’s true that "snobs/hard core wine aficionados" are a small slice of the wine drinking pie. But museum-goers are a small part of the art consumer. And civil war reenactors are only a small portion of the history lovers. But they are all the same insofar as they all dig down deep into their interests and try to understand them much more completely than the average person. And they like to talk about their interest and hang out with others that share that intensity of interest.
What’s wrong with that Mr. Skinner?
Let’s be clear. The "Wine Snob" is nothing more than a straw horse for those who would like to be considered wine knowledgeable but don’t choose to do the work to be so. The really ugly thing about Skinner is that he’s a Wine Snob. He loves the stuff. He drinks lots of it. He buys it. He evaluates it. Yet, he’s willing to bash those other "snobs" who "mystify" to "keep others out". Honestly, the wine snob doesn’t really care about others or keeping them out. They just want to be left with their single vineyard syrah and surround themselves with others who think terroir is a philosophical concept that deserves discussion and that cute animals on labels are something better left to the hawkers of Clorox and Ban Antiperspirant.
I say THREE CHEERS for the wine snob and their willingness to indulge in their interest. Skinner can obtusely bash us all he wants. But it won’t change the fact that soil composition, hang time, the history of Burgundy and the difference between Never and Allier oak barrels can be pretty darn interesting if you are a snob.