Wine reviews: Like looking for a needle in a stack of needles!
Wine is awesome, wine is delicious, and wine is fun! Yet when it comes to choosing the right wines, we are faced with a huge amount of choices and vague guides that promise to help us find a bottle we will love, but often fail to do so. One way of discerning a great wine, from a good wine, from a mediocre wine is to read a review of that wine, but with hundreds of bottles on the shelves in front of our faces who could possibly have time to wade through all those reviews which have become full of non-sensical gibberish to the wine amateur. Lets face it, when we are looking for wine, even with everything we have to try and help us, its like looking for a needle in a stack of needles.
You see them everywhere, from magazines, to newspapers, blogs, and entire platforms dedicated to wine. From the lifestyle section of your daily read, to media outlets who's sole focus is to review wine. One of them, Wine Spectator, claims to review 15,000 "readily available" wines every year. A conservative estimate would be that there are around 25,000 different bottles of wine available in the United States alone, so even the great Wines Spectator is missing 40% of the wines that are available to us. While some say their could be as many as 500,000 wines available for sale in the United States, maybe even 1 million! And herein lies the problem, with all those wines, even with all those reviews, the way that the we in the industry present wines to you the consumer is just statistically irrelevant, and utterly useless. Like Bighead from Silicon Valley, we mean well but we just seemed to have failed our way into continuous success.
Here is the challenge we propose to you. Go and read a wine review, then go and try to find that wine. You may go to 10 different stores before you find what you are looking for, if you find it at all! Even popular wines, say for example The Prisoner, Orin Swift Wines, or Charles Smith will not be in every store you go to. You could search online, and find a store, but for many in the United States shipping wines can be a pain in the behind. In short, you read about a wine, then get your heart broken because you cannot find a wine, and forget about the wine. This is not good for the consumer, and since when has this ever been good for a business?
The problem is, for those writing about wine, we have failed the consumers of wine because we care more about the wine than we do about consumers. Wine reviews, and ratings systems, have become so ingrained in the industry that they are often gamed by wineries looking for somebody with enough of a following to fall in love with their wine. Put your wine in front of enough judges, critics, and someone will write a glowing review. Sometimes even the most recognized voices will have very different opinions about the same wine. The reason is that taste is subjective, and the way we approach reviews is more focused on the writer's opinion rather than what people might actually enjoy. It's about them, their tastes, their style, their palette, and not at all about the average wine drinker.
So how do we change the way we talk about wine to be more centered around the consumer?
Ah! That is the big question is it not? Here at Vynl our mission is to design the ultimate wine guide and education experience, not just for you to learn about wine and play the wine expert card at dinner with your friends (though if that is what you want to do, then by all means please do) but to help you the average wine consumer enjoy every bottle, every glass, every sip of wine that you could partake in. It is not going to be easy, but we have some ideas on how we think that can be achieved, and it starts by getting rid of bottle reviews and replacing them with something you could actually use!
We started off with our Wines that Rock, introducing people to different grape varieties that they may or may not have tried, but otherwise were overlooked. Wines that Rock is a guide that is there to encourage exploration of the massive world of wine, getting you to try out new varieties of wine, from different regions, and giving you more than enough reason to fall in love with that wine. The other side is, by giving you occasions to match that wine with, you will begin to see and find things are your local wine store, a restaurant, a bar, or wherever wine is being served that you would be more inclined to try out and see if it does indeed grab your heart and never let go.
There is so much more to talk about though, as we have found out and the real future of Vynl is in sharing wine with you, instead of just drinking it all ourselves (MINE! ALL MINE! ALL THE WINE....sorry, don't know what got over me there). There are stories to be told, from regions of the world, to the rockstars making your wines, to the best places to go and drink wine, or what to order when you are on a date, getting ready for a party, chilling with friends. Real wine situations, for real people, doing real things. At the heart of everything though, is you, and of we can help you discover a hidden passion for wine then our mission is successful.
So stop looking for a needle in a stack of needles, and start looking for the wines that you can actually find. Learn a little bit more about the wines, have fun, be brave and explore. In doing so you will be rewarded with a lifetime of good wine.