Food and wine writers are constantly engaged in a back-and-forth on multiple topics. The past couple of months have been no different.
Some recent noteworthy items:
Spirituality makes a dramatic comeback
Ron Washam, the self-described "Hosemaster of Wine," described wines labeled variously as "natural," "authentic," and "real" as hot. Wines focusing on minimal intervention, biodynamic farming and similarly telling inclined consumers what they want to hear - were hot. Ron opines that "what is important...is how the product was produced, not what it tastes like." What most people do not know is that winemaking has always been, essentially, organic in nature; it had never been an over-used business buzz-word until recently.
The astounding popularity of Moscato
Echoing the White Zinfandel popularity of the late 1970's and 1980's, Moscato began flying off retailers' shelves a year or so ago - and has not stopped. Never underestimate America's sweet tooth!
The decline of sommeliers
Once an occupation that was greatly esteemed, it is now often insulted and demeaned. But only two of them noticed.
The decline of "drinking wine is healthy"
It might well be healthy but most people are discarding the excuse that drinking wine every night is good for one's health. They are just drinking wine every night because they like it!
Short wine lists in restaurants are in
Restaurants are quickly coming to the realization that the ideal profit center for wine is pouring their own brands, not an insanely large selection of well-known 'national' brands. Not only do people realize the restaurant is earning a 300% margin on the well-known brand but restaurant customers are most easily converted to being loyal, regular and repeat customers by the restaurant serving its own private label wine - and don't know (or care) that the restaurant is earning more than the 300% it earns on Kendall-Jackson. Similarly, restaurants no longer buy wines on release and slowly age them until ready for sale....that is done. This is now a market where tastes shift rapidly, so why incur expensive wine inventory risk? Now, restaurants can build their own proprietary label wine brands - around a chef, around an event or around the restaurant brand itself.