Thursday, June 30, 2005

Talking Wine Labels

This Decanter article could provide some rich fodder for marketing. Just think of what you could do with a talking label....

"I don't think I pair well with that slop you're planning for tonight, please put me back on the shelf"
"Excuse me, sir, but wouldn't you be more comfortable shopping in the boxed wine section?"
"While its true that the brett makes me smell like band-aids, the French call in terroir!"
"I'm very exclusive, hard-to-find and all your friends will be jealous when they see you've bought me"
"Honest, White Lie Chardonnay isn't insulting to women"
"I'm made in Napa, that's why I cost more"
"This bottle of Red Bicyclette is brought to you by a family of famers in the south of France, not by a large California winery located in Modesto"

The possibilities are endless.....


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Charles Shaw Reserve

Lodi (AP) - Winemaker Fred Franzia announced today that he will be releasing a Charles Shaw Reserve line, dubbed Chateau Shaw. The wine will feature a shinier label than regular Charles Shaw (nicknamed Two-Buck-Chuck) and will contain special limited bottlings wines from the Southern Central Valley. These are wines that might have previously "been just blended away into the master blends for Chuck", says head tankmaster Russ Rodgers.
According to press releases issued by Franzia's Bronco Wine Company, the reserve offerings will be available in limited locations statewide. "We're trying to give these wines an exclusive feel", reports head of Marketing Anita Grimes "we don't want the consumers to think that they can just find these reserve wines anywhere. That's why we're limiting their distribution to less than half of the Trader Joe's outlets in California."
The press release also notes that the wines "will come in several flavors, including Cabernet and Merlot (the 't's at the end of both flavors are silent) and will retail for $4 per bottle".

Monday, June 27, 2005

Viansa sale in progress

[link to Sonoma Index Tribune]

I'd suggested there might be something going on with Viansa a little while ago, and...well...there it is.

360 Global Wine Company, which is making the purchase, doesn't seem to be the most successful at closing some of it's recent deals. Time will tell if this deal's going to be different, or has some problems associated with it too. What is interesting about 360's SEC filing is that it states that 360's purchase will "be subject to our review and approval of the assets" and that there is no signed agreement yet. This seems odd, as usually deals like this aren't announced until after an agreement is signed. Perhaps the leak to the Sonoma paper forced 360 to go public with their SEC filing. Whatever the cause, it doesn't strike me as a good sign toward a consummated deal. I can think of a number of other wine deals that were prematurely announced or leaked and never completed.

(Coppola is rumored to have previously looked at Viansa, but for whatever reason passed on the purchase. Too bad in my opinion, as I think Coppola's style would've meshed with Viansa's quite well.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wither Australia?

Australia exported over 18 million cases into the US last year, but the vast majority of those cases were made up by yellow tail, Little Penguin, Black Swan, Alice White, and Lindemann’s. In fact, the average retail price of a bottle of Aussie wine has dropped sharply over the last 24 months according to figures released by the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation (the Australian Government authority responsible for the promotion and regulation of Australian wine and brandy).

Australia once looked like a wine region with tremendous potential for quality from Penfold’s Grange on down, but it is starting to look more and more like a producer of cheap bulk wine, whether the wine is ultimately for the US, Canada or the UK doesn’t really matter. Basically, Australia is becoming a producer of a commodity product – bulk wine – rather than a leading producer of fine wines.

How has this happened? In a number of ways – first the continued oversupply in Australia has pushed bulk prices down, allowing brands like those listed above to be created quickly (as with Black Swan, Little Penguin and yellowtail) and the decline of Southcorp has forced a company that was once the largest in Australia to slash prices to move inventory and ultimately, to be bought out by Foster’s/Beringer. Currently, the export market is dominated by only 20 or so producers. Couple those problems with a strong Aussie dollar (relative to its two largest wine markets, the US and the UK) and you have a situation on your hands.

Hopefully, the Aussies will be able to turn this ship around. I’ve noticed, however, that the selections in some wine shops have changed from a broad spectrum of price offerings (admittedly mostly Shiraz-based) to only a few wines produced by the larger players, and no doubt Beringer's recent purchase of Southcorp will only exacerbate this problem. This seems to confirm that many of the smaller players are having to look beyond the US market and that’s a shame.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Worst packaging I've ever seen

I've commented previously on what I feel is the most irresponsible package I've ever seen, but didn't have a closer photo until a recent email from Stuart.
(click pic for larger view)
Listen - this, as clever as it is, is the stupidest design I've ever come across. I can only imagine what doctors and ER nurses think when they see this on the shelf.
I'm scared to even think that any children see it in the store, and truly horrified to think that children may see parents/grownups/guardians drinking wine from a bottle labeled as such.
How could this ever have been allowed?
The ATF/TTB doesn't generally allow nudity on labels, and one of its greatest missions is to prevent misleading or confusing labeling of wine.
So how'd this happen? Who was asleep in their office instead of doing his/her job? It's just grossly over the line of acceptability, and potentially confusing. As far as I know, the skull and crossbones are an international symbol for poison, and I should hope that their product wouldn't be allowed into any other country.
The US Gov't never should have approved it. Period.
And frankly, a case could be made that a little nudity (which said <winery name> also has on a bottle dress) was a lesser evil than a red skull & crossbones. Yet nudity is a pariah, while we can all view this 'poizin' to our hearts content...
These people appear to want attention at any cost...even if it means using some artful yet incredibly foolish methods. That's exactly what those wholesalers/distributors/neo-prohibitionists are looking for to demonstrate the supposed 'evil' nature of the wine industry.
Some will rightly point out that I'm giving said <winery name> some attention they don't deserve (which is why I'm not saying the <winery name>) but I still feel the topic needs to be discussed.
I'll never buy this product, never ever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New Michigan Wine Shipping Bill Introduced

Detroit (AP) – Michigan state senator Phil Coffers has introduced legislation that would bar wineries from any state, including Michigan, to ship to Michigan citizens. Speaking from the lobby of the Four Seasons in Kahului, Hawaii, the senator outlined the reasoning behind his bill. “Basically my bill, which we’ve dubbed “Won't someone please think of the children?” is about protecting our children,” Coffers said. “My bill will also provide for a strike force that will attempt to buy fine wines from wineries and have them shipped to minors. We will then arrest the perpetrators and have them jailed. I have been working with a number of Michigan liquor distributors on funding this task force which will be created by my bill and operate under the jurisdiction of a coalition of Michigan liquor distributors.”

When asked whether the department would conduct sting operations on “bricks and mortar” liquor stores, drug stores, and grocery stores, the senator said “we’re looking into that, but we currently don’t see that as much of a problem. Kids just don’t buy booze like that anymore, today’s underage drinker is more sophisticated, he or she selects their purchases weeks in advance, usually buying high-end wines from California and paying up to $10 per bottle to ship them to their door.”

Oddly, senator Coffer declined further comments and terminated the press conference when a reporter asked about the polo shirt that Coffer’s wife was wearing with the logo 'WSWA' on it saying “that’s all the time we have today, my wife and I have a VIP cocktail party to attend. Thank you for your time.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Germans to Take Over the French Wine Industry?

Paris - A misdirected fax communication started a firestorm of controversy in the French wine industry this week. French winemakers, who have been suffering violent withdrawl symptoms after the government withdrew subsidies for grape growers and winemakers, were shocked when they received a fax from Germany that said "we will assume control of the French vineyards as of June 22, 2005". French farmers and winemakers immediately set down their pruning shears, turned off their corking machines, and walked out of their wine caves with their hands raised.
After the mixup was determined to be from a fax referring to the purchase of a single Languedoc vineyard, the French went to resume their duties - however, as it was already 2 p.m., it was time to go home for the day. In a statement released later, Germany said "The entire French wine industry? Gott im Himmel! We might consider Baghdad, Kabul, or Belfast, but French wine? Nein!"

Monday, June 20, 2005

Wine Consumption by State

Some additional interesting information for those who wonder about who drinks how much wine and where. US consumption by state, as I have previously mentioned, is primarily driven by the coasts. The interior and south are generally the driest states, wine-wise. Here's a ranking of comsumption by state (data from Adams Wine Handbook 2004). The numbers are 750-ml bottles per drinking-age adult:

1. District of Columbia 3,711 (insert appropriate Ted Kennedy joke here or "your tax dollars at work")
2. New Hampshire 3,123
3. Nevada 2,805 (tourism)
4. Delaware 2,476
5. Massachusetts 2,418
6. Connecticut 2,306
7. Vermont 2,274
8. California 2,258
9. Rhode Island 2,238
10. New Jersey 2,210
(the bottom ten)
42. North Dakota 758
43. South Dakota 725
44. Oklahoma 684
45. Kansas 675
46. Utah 674 (well, duh)
47. Kentucky 668
48. Iowa 654
49. Arkansas 648
50. Mississippi 532
51. West Virginia 450 (yes, I know there aren't 51 states, see "state" #1)

What is also very interesting is that the "control" states (where the state sells the alcohol) have much lower consumption, 1,241 bottles per adult on average, than the "license" states (where licensed retailers sell the alcohol) at 1,607 per adult. Note that many of the control states are in the bottom ten (Control states: Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming).

Being in a control state means its harder to get your wine, since you have to go to a special store to get it (often can't get it in the supermarket or drug store). But that alone probably doesn't account for the difference in consumption. The difference is probably explained by the states' general attitude toward alcohol, as expressed in its generally more restrictive laws.

For example, many of the control states and bottom-tier consuming states are also 'prohibited' states for direct shipping (ie. Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Pennsylvania).

While I cheer the changes in the direct shipping situation (Texas and New York) I think there may be greater opportunity to open markets in tightly controlled states, like Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, etc., by removing the states' draconian alcohol laws.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Is Riedel's Concept of Taste Dated by 100 Years?

I notice that Riedel has reworked its website - nice job - but the requirement to change my display to 1024x768 was unnecessary and annoying. The English could use a bit of editing as well. For Example:

"The shape of the glass forces the head to position itself in such a way that you drink and do not spill." - was spilling a big problem before Riedel?

"a narrow rim forces the head to tilt backwards so that the liquid flows because of its gravity" - ALWAYS drink via gravity, unless you're using a straw...

However, what I found noteworthy was that Riedel is still holding fast to the so-called "tongue map" that was based on a study performed in 1901 by Hanig (written in German) and misunderstood by future readers. The conclusion drawn by some was that the tongue sensed certain tastes only in specific regions of the tongue (from Riedel's website):

But this is not the case! And where is the
umami zone anyway!?!?!

On their website, Riedel describes how their special glasses create a "wine flow (that) is directed onto the appropriate taste zones of your palate and consequently leads to different taste pictures. "

Now I'm not sure what a "taste picture" is but I can tell you that the concept of the tongue map has long been discarded, despite Riedel's careful dancing around the topic on its website, and while the tongue does have different sensitivities to tastes in some areas, they are not statistically significant or consistent from person to person. Thus, the whole Riedel concept of directing characteristics of the wine into the right region of the mouth is bogus (have I mentioned that

To wit:
"If you have performed this test, you may be surprised to learn that the tongue map is wrong. It is a mistranslation of an early-1900s German thesis that was disproved in 1974. Unfortunately, it continues to be published in textbooks [and wineglass manufacturers websites /huge] today. For the record, we perceive all taste qualities all over our tongue, although there may be increased sensitivity to certain qualities in certain areas. "

Why does Riedel want people to continue to believe in the tongue-map fairy? Simple, if it is disproven that the tongue tastes differently in different regions, their lineup of glasses unique to each varietal is proven wrong (as I may have mentioned once or twice in this space). Though they may be in denial about the science, I still tip my hat to their marketing genius and remember that famous quote credited to P.T. Barnum.....

So get out your jelly jars and drink up!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Mondavi Article

Great article by Adam Strum, editor of Wine Enthusiast, summarizing the Robert Mondavi legacy. So many people have looked at this as a "Greek tragedy" and I have always maintained, as does Mr. Strum, that selling one's business for $1.3 billion should be considered an unmitigated success!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

International Wine Marketing Symposium

You see, this is what I'm talking about:

A two-day seminar on wine marketing and only one presentation, by John Gillespie of the
Wine Market Council, is addressing increasing the consumer base! The other myriad speakers are discussing how the industry can continue to split the same baby. With 90% of the wine in the US being consumed by 11% of the drinkers, you would think that a marketing seminar would want to discuss how to bring in the 89% of adults who don't drink wine! Unfortunately, this approach is endemic to the industry. We seem to be completely unable to broaden the market, instead preferring to fight over the same consumers.

I better go start up the
wine bus.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


This is what crappy weather during your flowering period can do to your crop;

The cluster on the left is more representative of what should be happening - almost every flower was pollinated and has "set" a berry into developement. The right cluster was open (flowering) during the lousy weather we had a few weeks ago, and that kept it from being able to pollinate.

The result? Visually you can see that at the very least the cluster on the right is behind...but it's worse than just that. Those shattered berries will never develop. At the time of harvest they'll still be just the same little green BB's they are here. Thankfully, if they get picked and sent in with good fruit, they pass through the crushers untouched. So they usually don't adversely affect the wines. The bad news is that those clusters are wasted effort, and a true loss to the grower.

More rain is forecast for later this week. It won't be the end of the world, but it will be more work for the growers and vintners this year.
Enough is enough already! Mon Dieu!

Monday, June 13, 2005

A sign of the times

You know you're in wine country when the appellation is hanging on the signpost out in front.

Think that affects the price of the property? You betcha!
Now that sign's there partly because there are 26 acres on the property, with some of that acreage useable for vineyard, should the proper permits be granted. But it also speaks to the desire by many moving into the area for some instant status with friends & relatives who don't live around these parts.
It also should be a reminder that you're on a river (or near one) and that flooding isn't unknown...
If you look at the picture you'll notice the high water marks on the building. That's a pretty good indicator that there's a potential for future flooding events.
(The above barn pic is about 10 miles upriver from the property for sale, and is located on the Russian River in the Alexander Valley. The Russian River floods more frequently than the Napa River, happening about twice each decade to some degree or another. Not all declared floods produce damage to structures, but there have been some whoppers.)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Stormy weather

That's it! I've had enough of the odd weather this year.

I snapped the pic today right after the rain had stopped, the ground doesn't look too wet, but it was damp.

What's the problem then?
Humidity? Heat? Not enough wind?
All of the above...

The clouds broke, and when the sun hit the ground it felt like the humidity hit 110%. The afternoon temp probably only spiked at 75 °F, but seemed more like 85. Wind? Not really any to speak about...

Prime conditions for mold. Expect to see lots of growers spraying sulfur in the next two to three days.
Will it have an adverse affect on the harvest to be?
Well, it can't be good, but the jury's still out...

Last word on hang time, for now anyway...

Grapegrower Andy Beckstoffer, who spearheaded the seminar, urged fellow growers to advocate for harvesting more tonnage per acre when negotiating their contracts with wineries.

Winiarksi and others said Beckstoffer was off-point. "It was out of the blue," said Winiarski. "That was completely unrelated to hang time."
[May 14 link]

True, that point is essentially unrelated.

What that comment implies is that the issue was raised solely to use as a foil in getting more money from the wineries...and it was after the March Hang-Time seminar where that claim (which Beckstoffer had primarily voiced) of the vines being harmed by leaving the grapes on for too long was largely shot down. Among those refuting that idea was…
[Nick] Dokoozlian does not believe a long hang time affects the vines as sugar accumulates in the root system, even if the grapes aren't harvested. He cites experience with unharvested Chardonnay vines in the Southern San Joaquin Valley that went without picking for three years due to low demand. The vines were pruned each year during dormancy, but at the end of the time, these vines produced the same quality and yield as adjoining vines that had been harvested.

[BTW, Nick works for E&J Gallo as their VP of Viticulture, and used to be a professor @ UC Davis. They have quite large vineyard holdings in California, and I'm sure are well informed of whether this is an issue or not. Conspiracy theorists (read as 'anti-globalists') may point out here that as a large winery concern, Gallo may want to hide that information from the public. Yeah, that and the short grey ET's were behind the Kennedy assasination...]

So, it seemed like it was time to abandon the charge that leaving the fruit on the vine longer somehow harmed the longevity of the vine or it's overall health. The return to the call for more tonnage when (re-)negotiating contracts demonstrates what the discussion really is about: the perception (perhaps reality) that they may be getting screwed for 5~15% of their potential income through dehydration. So instead they want to increase the total tons to make up for that practice.

Unfortunately, the hang time issue is being used to whip things up in the press. It's only worked as a polarizer and distracted both sides from the real issues. The growers have been at a disadvantage for the past few years with the down turn in the wine market, as wineries broke contracts, dropped their prices per ton, etc. I can't really fault them for feeling the pressures, but they already had collective bargaining associations in the various growers groups, and frankly, that's where the debate should have stayed. Taking the issue public was, perhaps, not the best idea, although it has allowed for debate about some other issues -relevant or not .

November 10th is the date set for the 3rd Hang Time seminar. Can’t wait to see this tempest-in-a-teacup go yet another round…(yawn)...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Going to camp this year?

Maybe you should save up, and hold off until harvest comes ‘round.
Here’s a
little note from MSNBC about some fun things to do on your next vacation to the wine country.

St. Supery will set you back $250 for a half day of wine making fun. Be real! You wouldn’t want to work a full day would you? Then it’d seem like…well, “work”, and lose some of it’s fantasy allure (you'll just have to trust me on that one)...

Schramsberg, on the other hand, will soak up $875 for a three-day-tour. (Again, it’s doubtful they’d make you slave for the full three days – especially since a “full day” at a winery during crush starts at 10 hours and runs thru to 16 hours, depending on what needs to be done. And you will be a paying guest after all...).

It’s actually the best of both worlds for those ‘wannabe’ winemakers on your gift lists. It will get them out of your hair and give them some other wine geeks to talk with.

As an added bonus: there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell of anyone else giving the same gift…

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Constellation out of the Bidding for Allied?

It appears that Diageo has chosen sides in the battle to carve up Allied-Domecq and they have chosen to side with Pernod Ricard (as they did when the two companies broke up Seagram's). Constellation has stated that they will make a bid (they have until June 29th to do so), but without the backing of Diageo, they are left with just Brown-Forman in their camp, a risk-averse company that will probably pick and choose the "cream of the crop".

Its interesting not only that Diageo chose a side so quickly but also that they are only interested in Montana, Allied's New Zealand wine brand, and Bushmill's Irish Whiskey. Both brands are relatively small in the big picture (the Irish Whiskey market is just a fraction of the Scotch Whiskey market) and don't seem to do much for the Diageo portfolio. The rumor was that Diageo initially wanted A-D's wine brands, but perhaps they've realized that Buena Vista, Callaway, Clos du Bois etc. aren't exactly "gems" and they've taken the opportunity to grab the best of what was available?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The 2005 Crop - Can We Handle It Yet?

Thanks to Bob from Barrel Builders for some questions about this year's grape crop.

An article in last week's Press Democrat suggests that cluster counts (the number of grape clusters Mother Nature has provided on each vine or "shoot") are up over last year. Typically, this will lead to a larger harvest, depending on the ultimate size of the clusters, weather conditions, etc.

Bob asks "I know the economy is improving, but is the wine market ready to absorb the crop? Many growers still don't have contracts. Wineries will be squeezed by price-cutting. The cost of imported winemaking equipment and barrels has gone up 40% in three years, with the increasing value of the euro."

Good question, and there are a number of topics and issues here. First, many portions of the wine market have turned from oversupply to short or even undersupply. See my article on the Wine Group buying an Argentinian supplier for evidence of how tight the central valley has become. In addition, Pinot Noir sales have gone into very short supply from a combination of increased consumer demand (the "Sideways" effect) and speculation by producers that they can sell even more Pinot (the long-term "Sideways" effect).

If you look at California's vineyard supply picture, 60,000 acres have been pulled out of the South Central Valley since 2001 (which was probably a good thing) and very little has been planted anywhere in California in the last few years as banks tightened up their lending policies, basically requiring a "pre-plant contract" meaning growers had to have a guaranteed buyer before the bank would lend them money. As you note, many existing growers still do not have contracts because wineries are wary of giving long-term contracts with built-in inflation factors as they were doing in the late 90's. The growers made a killing up to 9/11, but the power has shifted to the wineries as producers have figured out how they got burned by committing to long-term contracts that inflated above the spot market price.

In summary, I don't think you can accurately predict where the market is going in the broad view - its far too fragmented and changing too quickly - except to stay that another short crop would be very damaging to California producers as it would open the supply/demand door to more imports. (if the crop is light, take a "long" position on Chile & Spain!). In certain markets, like Pinot, a bumper crop would be a good thing for everyone involved, and Cabernet could generally stand another light harvest or two.

As for barrel costs increasing, I continually hear that many wineries are relying on less new oak. Perhaps this will offset the continued increases in the cost of barrels. Or, buy American, Hungarian, Canadian oak if French gets too expensive!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Vinexpo and the future

Vinexpo is a monumental event in France, a bi-annual trade show that's essentially hosted by Bordeaux's equivalent of the Chamber of Commerce. With over 2,000 exhibitors and 50,000 visitors its a sight to see. Its an industry event that allows those who have underspent their travel and entertainment budget to catch up quickly. Rent a chateau, eat out every night. What a party, sorry I'll miss it this year.

Anyway, the organizers have produced some very interesting statistics that will be presented during the event. Among them:


  • Italian (#1 producer) and French (#2) production of wine will stay flat through 2008
  • Spain (#3) will grow 4.2% between 2004 and 2008 and will approach, but not overtake France
  • The US (#4) will grow 6.3% over the same period, but will still be only 50% of Spain by 2008


  • Worldwide consumption will grow 6% from 2004 to 2008, but surpluses of supply will continue in certain countries
  • While the US is currently the 4th largest consumer of wine by volume, it will grow to be #1 by 2008, passing Germany, France and Italy on the way, growing 28.6%
  • France will decline by 7.2%, Germany will grow by 9.2%, and Italy grow by 2.4%
  • The US has been the largest consumer (by value) since the 1990's
  • Actual value growth from 1999 to 2003 was 25.2% for the US, -5.8% for France, 19% for the UK 9.7% for Germany, and 2.9% for Italy
  • By 2008 total US wine revenues will be greater than Germany, Italy and France combined!!!
  • Taken together, the US, UK, and Germany represent 40% of the world's market for imported wine by value

So what's it all mean? Well, I think its pretty clear that if you rely on the old-world markets, you better be prepared for a dogfight for market share. If you are thinking of exporting to the US (and you should if you're not already), you better be able to market your wines well (style, branding, etc.) and have them tailored for the US market.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

So, what's your palate?

[Wine Business Monthly interview with Nossiter]

Q: What is your personal palate?

Nossiter: I am interested in wines that will be different every time I taste them, wines that challenge me. I am interested in being surprised every time I open a bottle. I am interested in subtlety and complexity.

The one thing I do know is I like defects in wines. I don’t want a wine to be perfect. My fear about what’s happening in the wine world is that wines globally, from $5 to $500, are getting richer and sweeter and fatter and more alcoholic and easier to taste more quickly. And that to me is an unequivocal global trend.
[emphasis added /huge]

So why is anyone listening to this guy - I mean, is this what he's truly championing? The need for wines to be imperfect, or chock full of defects? Wild variations from bottle to bottle? Are TCA, or massive Brett infections and/or wild VA notes now to be held aloft as the new paradigm?

There are several different topics wrapped up in his statement: perfection of wines (in the lack of defects)(& I can't see how desiring that would be something terrible...), the change globally in wine style (which seems it could be a valid concern, though overstated in my opinion), that wines are 'easier to taste more quickly' (I'm not even sure what that's supposed to mean...), that one shouldn't really know what's in the bottle before opening it - even if you've had the wine before.

Do these views excuse the winemaker from any responsibility at all for the final wine? What if you had a wine and liked it, then went back for another bottle for a holiday meal and found not only that the wine was different (and perhaps didn't pair with your food like the original did) but downright rude on your palate.
Where is you right to go back to the producer and complain? The winemaker might reply that he was striving for 'complexity' and 'variation', and couldn't care that you didn't like it because the bottle that the critics tasted was fabulous and generated wild acclaim!
(BTW this happened just recently - see this post on Mark Squires' board)

Can't we require winemakers to produce wines that exhibit 'complexity' for all the good reasons? And there's nothing 'subtle' or desireable about Brett in my view...

Weird...and not something I can support...