Wine Lovers Are The True Oddballs

OddballIf you are a wine lover who interacts often with other serious wine lovers or if you work in the wine industry or even if you just live in wine country, it’s easy to forget how the vast majority of Americans interact with wine and how they relate to wine. It’s probably instructive, if only for perspective’s sake, to remind yourself that your particularly intense relationship with wine is the exception to the rule.

The following set of comments occurred on a website for new and expectant parents when one person identified themselves as having just started drinking wine and that they needed recommendations. What follows are the recommendations they received:

“My family loves Merlot. I think the flavor is Blackberry”

“Yellow Tail Merlot is good. Basically anything by Yellow Tail is awesome…I LOVE IT!!!”

“Chianti is my all time favorite red”

“I love chardonnay”

“I think Merlot tends do be a little dry for my taste, I prefer the more fruity red wines. Maybe ask for some suggestions at a nice liquor store? It varies so much by each person’s individual tastes”

“I like wine… but I definitely don’t consider myself an expert on the great wines lol. I like cheap wine that tastes good… usually a blush or a white wine. Or wine from the local winery. ‘Relax’ is a riesling…it’s in a blue bottle… it’s sweet without being too sweet, and it’s not too dry at all. And it’s super cheap lol. It’s somewhere around 10 bucks a bottle around here. haha! But it really is my wine of choice!”

“I dont know if you can get it in Cali but St. James Winerysweet red or white is REALLY good!”

“Jacobs Creek makes a great Merlot shiraz blend. It is sooo good. And only runs about $12 a bottle.”

“I really really really like the Blackberry Merlot from Arbor Mist. 🙂 Yummy! You can get it for really cheap too.”

“Well i like the yellow tail im always trying different kinds though.. i havent tried the monroe one though… i like ones with funky pictures lol”

“I love Cabernet. I drink wine like koolaid but at home when it’s my “koolaid” as nick calls it, Its the white zinfidel boxed wine. At the country club it is a wide variety. I usually stick to Cabernet.”

I want to be clear that I am not attempting to mock any of these commenters. I’m merely making the point that for those who read this blog and who are connected to the wine culture in some way, it is we who are the odd balls. We are he one’s who have a very unusual relationship with wine and we have every reason to believe that those commenting above are the ones that have what can be described as a “normal” relationship with wine.

Why is it important that wine lovers and industry professionals understand this divide? The “Snob Factor”.

Recently I’ve been reading a variety of things on wine in which the issue of the dreaded “wine snob” comes up or is mentioned or is discussed in derogatory fashion. The “wine snob” is a real thing, particularly for those who really only care that their wine is relatively cheap, somewhat sweet and easily accessible. The image of the wine snob I think is still a very common notion among those that have only a slight relationship with wine. Yet, there seems to be a real disdain for the wine snob. People believe wine snobs believe they are better than other wine drinkers. I don’t think this is true myself. I think the idea of a “wine snob” is embraced by those who generally believe they need or should know more about wine and feel somehow inadequate when they don’t and find themselves in the company of someone who does.

But this is somewhat beside my point…which is: Remember, as the wine lover YOU are the unusual one.





Posted In: Culture and Wine


3 Responses

  1. Scott - October 16, 2013

    Often times I see comments like the ones above. While I am always aware that I am not quite normal in this category, they still read like getting brought back to consciousness with a bucket of cold water.

  2. Scott - October 16, 2013

    This is the reality people. It’s a hard thing to do to try to help people learn more about wine without being perceived as snobby or elitist. Those who can do it can write their own ticket in the wine sales business.

    Aside – can anyone think of another type of product or industry where knowledgeable people have to downplay their chops or their jargon to avoid turning people off as much as we do in the wine business?

  3. Ann Miller - October 22, 2013

    The worst thing about being an oddball who cares about wine is that people are completely intimidated to serve you wine in their home, concerned that it isn’t “right” or “good enough.” I like to try any wine and enjoy hospitality however it is served, but my reputation precedes me.

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