I have been thinking about trending in wine… and not just in the Twitter way. I have been to many a meeting or discussion and the topic of what wine is trending is often talked about.
Many of the people I speak with about trending are the producers themselves. Not because they believe in trending wine but how this aspect affects their particular production or vineyard. More specifically, when the film sideways was released Pinot Noir hit a greater popularity at Merlots expense.
Eric Asimov wrote an article last year called “Is there hope for Syrah” and in this article he points to wine writer Patrick Comiskey who says that the movie Sideways “killed Syrah.” I don’t think that was what necessarily happened. I do think that there was an entrant called Mendoza and it’s Malbec that brought to a larger public wines that were inexpensive, plentiful and emulate it’s Bordeaux brethren that ate into Syrah’s sales.
And sometimes when there are writings suggestion when one varietal is strong or even worse when a varietal has seen better selling days–is in itself a liability and helps to create an environment of wine trending.
I do think there is a wine drinking public who are drinking more wine that ever (at least in the US) and there is still a need to understand what is “in” or not. I do think many people want to stay inline with the latest “trend” in wine. And yet wine is not a moveable feast and more specifically viticulture cannot turn on a dime–vines need time to mature before they can be fermented. And trends are not in line with with has been planted–rather trends set a stage for promoting one wine and unintentionally or intentionally upstage another grape varietal.
And I think as a wine writer and reviewer myself is to not fan the flame of doom. I do not think Syrah is in decline. Decline is a powerful word that seems nearly terminal. Yes, while sales are down the need to educate and talk about Syrah is important. Syrah is versatile grape and picks up characteristics of it’s home and it’s blending capacity is dynamic–it is a wonderful varietal that could use a few more friends.
I do make a distinction between “trend” and highlighting lesser known wines and regions and brands. That these highlights of the lesser known is not in the desire to “trend” it—trendiness in wine is unhelpful and more importantly un-necessary.
And lastly I do want to see wine trending on Twitter – This type of trending would be helpful to bringing attention to the wine category in general. And I do think as more people read and educate themselves about wine the veritas comes out and I do hope the “trending” wine diminishes and awareness takes it’s place.
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