I’m at a loss…Satire or Truth in Wine Snobbery?

I came across this post on a blog working on behalf of an Internet retailer selling interesting rare wines. I honestly don’t know what to think of it:

I agree that trading up to higher quality wines yields decreasing returns in satisfaction the higher you go up. Over at XXXXXXXXX Wine Shop we’re pretty sure that the biggest payoff of drinking expensive wines
isn’t the flavor of the wine itself, but the emotional flavor of the
experience or occasion surrounding consumption.

Opening up
an expensive bottle of wine in public, with friends or to commemorate a
special occasion is like taking the Ferrari out for a special night in
town. The actual materials that go into the making of the vehicle might
be only marginally better than a low-market vehicle. But material
improvements aren’t what the luxury car buyer (in general) really
wants. He’s going for the WOW factor, and the respect and admiration of
his friends.

This is either he most honest (and therefore most pitiful) opinion ever expressed on a wine blog, or it is satire of the most subtle and well written order.

Is this blogger justifying the purchase of an expensive wine merely for the sake of feeling good about themselves? Or are the ridiculing the idea? It it’s the former it’s the equivalent of purchasing a hamburger for $40 because it’s feels cool to order the really expensive stuff. If it’s the latter, well, I applaud their sentiments, as obvious as it might be…and I like the satirical wrapping they deliver it in.

But honestly, I have no idea which it is.

Posted In: Wine Blogs


4 Responses

  1. johng - November 30, 2005

    Wow… If it’s meant for comic effect, then it only works because there is a core of truth.
    Ever sat in a restaurant next to a large table surrounded by young turks and ex-cheerleaders and littered with bottles of Harlan, Grace, Colgin, etc? You do get the sense that it’s not about the wine.

  2. rama - November 30, 2005

    I Googled for a random phrase from that quote and the site came right up. Gotta love Google. Another choice quote from their latest blog entry, an apparent rant about manufactured diamonds:
    “It is alright with me that there are consumers that buy fake as long as they admit it when found out and not deny it. The danger in owning a fake anything is once you are known to buy knock-offs or fakes then people will naturally be suspicious of everything you own. Perhaps it says much about ones personality. What is fake but something masqueraded around as something else.”
    Doesn’t help clarify if this person is just being blatantly honest, or tongue-in-cheek. 😉

  3. Mithrandir - November 30, 2005

    I interpret the comment entirely seriously. I can see his point.
    You have to understand what he’s saying in the first sentence. As price increases, the change in wine quality per dollar spent decreases. Wine has diminishing returns, just like (almost) everything else.
    At some price point, you will start assigning some value to the bling factor, in order to justify the purchase.
    The same can be said of cars. While Ferrari makes very nice cars, the incremental improvement in the driving experience per dollar spent is less than, for example, a Honda. The $20,000 or so between a Civic and an S2000 buys you more than the $20,000 between the Ferrari F430 Coupe and Spider.
    Similarly, the wine quality jump from $25 to $50 is more than the quality jump from $200 to $225. But the high-end bottles have a bling factor that has some value.
    I think that’s all he’s saying. It’s not snobbery, but economics.

  4. maggie - December 1, 2005

    Even if he is getting all economical, it’s very funny. And it’s very true. I agree with Johnny G. Most of the time, it’s about the label. And to get sociological on you, I think many, many “luxury wine” buyers in this country don’t have the confidence in their own taste, or even know their taste, without the label. That’s why Vegas sells umpteen million cases of Silver Joke, Insignia, and Opus One each year.

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