Organizing Wine Autobiographically?

Anyone remember that great scene in the movie "High Fidelity" in which Dick walks in on Rob (played by John Cusack) who is reorganizing his record collection?

Dick: "Doing it Chronologically?"
Rob: No
Dick: Alphabetical?
Rob: Nope
Dick: What?
Rob: Autobiographical!!
Dick: No Fucking Way.

Pretty ambitious. Organizing a record collection autobiographically. Clearly it’s not how you’d organize a selection of records if you wanted to offer them for sale. However, there’s no reason the organization of the selection of records for sale couldn’t be done in such a way that it allowed for how people THINK about music.

The same could be said about wine.

From the marketer’s perspective, particularly the retail marketer of American wines, the approach is pretty straightforward. we are a varietal people. We have been taught to think about wines as Zinfandels or Chardonnays or Pinot Noirs. Most important after that is surely price. We want to be able to look for wines that are "Under $10" or "$20 to $30".

But his kind of hierarchy hardly allows for the way all people think about wines. There is a website out there called "". After deciding if you want a Red or White wine, you then must determine the STYLE of wine you want to dig deeper into their selection. For reds you can choose from "Old World-Style, Versatile and Velvety, or Big and Bold." For white wines you can choose from "Crisp and Refreshing" or "Oak Aged".

This is an interesting way to go about the organization of wines, but it’s clearly a limiting approach.

It seems the very best organizing must include not simply varietal and price, but also state, appellation and vintage, as well as by keyword so I can search for particular phrases or words that might be attached to the description of the wine.

Here’s the thing, the best organizers of wine selection should make it very easy for me to find out quickly if they are selling a 2001 Sonoma Valley Zinfandel for Under $20 that has the word "Berry" in the description. and K & L Wine Merchants both provide this kind of search mechanism. These folks are thinking about how their customers thing. Granted, both these retailers sell wine to serious wine buyers. They’ve built out their search capabilities to apply directly to this kind of buyer.

That said, it would be interesting to see a wine retailer organize their selection autobiographically.


One Response

  1. jeff - October 26, 2006

    whose autobiography…?

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