Wine Blog Questions…and Answers

InsistI love the comments that folks share on this blog. But additionally, I get a good deal of blog-related email. Why some folks choose to send me questions and comments via email, rather than commenting and questioning right on the blog, is something I don't always understand. However, I feel the need to respond. Below are are some of the more recent questions I've recieved via email and my responses. For those of you who asked the questions, you know who you are!

Is there really a need today for an organization promoting the advancement only of women in the wine industry?….Craig in Florida

Not being a women, never having been discriminated against in the job market due to my gender and having taken advantage of the premium paid to men, I'm not sure I'm in the best position to answer that question. My take is that in the wine industry, as in many others, women are more likely to be viewed as less capable due to their gender alone, than are men. Economically, that tendency advantages me. And yet I don't understand the origin of that tendency. Were I a woman who had seen or felt discrimination due only to the fact that I was not a man, I'd probably want to join a group of women that had my vocational back.

The implication that the people of Alabama are all racists doesn't have any place in a wine blog. Would it have been so hard to just stick to the facts?….Elton in Mobile

Elton, did I imply that the people of Alabama are racist? Woops. I meant to explicitly state that many folks in Alabama are racist?

Tom, I say this with all respect because I like you, your work and your blog. Your frequent direct attacks on wholesalers and the three tier system will get you no where and will eventually cause you and your career damage and will drive away readers who don't care about how the system is organized. Is there really nothing else you can opine upon other than the failings of the three tier system?….Steve in California

Steve, I think a man without a principled crusade to, in some part, motivate him is a man who skates dangerously close to the disease of self-centeredness. The unfairness of many elements of the alcohol distribution system, its often economic irrationality, the way it stifles innovation and the way consumers are used without concern for their interests all and together for some reason motivates me. My hope is your prediction about my career, however, does not come true. So far so good.

While impressive, your formula for looking at ROI and Social Media just doesn't matter. Social Media has failed in every way to be a source of economic motivation. Why do you spend time on understanding social media when one on one relationships and earned media still are far more important to PR?…SB from New York

I read that Facebook now has more than 900 million users and is growing. Meanwhile, Twitter is a source huge traffic to this blog, other blogs and the media. Though in my daily work for clients I spend a great deal more time forging relationships and working to pitch stories to the media than I do social media, ignoring a communications platform that hosts a billion people seems like negligence to me.

Why do you insist on writing about things that you don't know anything about?…Carl in Detroit, Mi

Carl, it's either that or heroin.

Tom, I read your blog daily. Thank you for keeping it going. I've learned so much from Fermentation. I'm hoping you can help. I will be starting a blog similar to yours in which I write about important issues on wine, not about what wines to drink or where to travel. Can you give me some advice on how to generate ideas for regular posts. That seems to me to be the most difficult part of writing on a daily basis as you do. How do you do it?….Sarah in Napa

Sarah, it's two parts inspiration, one part curiosity and one part self indulgence. I'm blessed with the "what-the-heck-does-that-mean" gene that forces my mind to gaze in many different directions. This kind of curiosity has been a blessing for me because it serves to spur inspiration. Because I know I want to maintain this blog, when I find myself fascinated with, say, the active discrimination against women at the Augusta Golf Club I allow myself to consider how that issue intersects with the world of wine. Usually, a connection of some sort is made that interests me. It's that last part (that it interests me) that goes back to self-indulgence. I assume (probably incorrectly) that if it interests me, it will interests others. That's shamefully self indulgent. But, it is a formula for generating consistent material for this blog. Write about what interests you without worry that it may not interest others.

Why are you trying to hurt people of the natural movement? It is that you fear of 99% of wine being made with chemicals is the truth?…Lucian, Somewhere in France

Lucian, I think the natural wine movement is just great, as are the people in the movement. I'm not trying to hurt them. I'm just trying to educate others outside the movement of its fraudulent and dangerous contrivances. And I'll leave it to you to help educate folks about those contrivances.

4 Responses

  1. Samantha Dugan - April 25, 2012

    And where are these people now I ask you? You are good enough to answer their complaints/comments and not one thank you or nuttin’.

  2. W. Blake Gray - April 25, 2012

    Tom: What’s the airspeed velocity of a swallow?

  3. Tom Wark - April 26, 2012

    Every one knows they fly at precisely 24.7 MPH. Keep’em coming.

  4. Fabio Bartolomei - April 26, 2012

    “fraudulent and dangerous contrivances”
    Yes, there’s a lot of it about, but I presume you are referring to the use of the word “natural”. I think everyone knows that ALL wines, even ‘natural wines’ are not ‘natural’ according to the dictionary definition, and that vines are artificially planted in rows and pruned by humans, and that grapes are fermented in un-natural man-made containers, etc. I also think that all English-speakers know perfectly well that a word in English can have several different meanings, and that the primary dictionary definition is not always the one intended. Such is life and the English language. #sigh Also bear in mind that the term “natural wine” has been in use since at least 1907, so it’s not like some evil marketeers deliberately invented it and decided to use it to deceive an unsuspecting public! The results of a few quick searches in Google show that the term ‘natural wine’ is the most used one, and in any case is different from the commonly proposed alternatives like ‘low intervention wine’, ‘artisan wine’ etc.
    Do you think that an example of a “fraudulent and dangerous contrivance” is the current practice of not listing the additives in a wine on the label, with the result that consumers remain unaware of what’s in the bottle they’re about to purchase? Some people involved with natural wine are if fact promoting transparancy and disclosure of information, unlike the rest of the wine world, which seems to be perfectly happy keeping wine exempt from listing the ingredients like all other food and drink products. I wonder why this is the case? Surely they haven’t got anything to hide, or are reluctant to have consumers find out what’s in their wines?

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