Some thoughts on being in the wine business. Some may be truer than others:
1. I never, ever considered getting into this business. It just kindasorta happened. My first job outside of highschool was working in an Edinburgh wine bar [Whigham’s], so maybe there’s a connection there, but somehow I doubt it.
2. A common lament of smart people in the wine trade, is the utter lack of smart people in the wine trade.
3. Too many bloody vineyards, not enough bloody retail and distribution outlets. And there’s not a single person in the trade who knows what to do about it.
4. The average Brit drinks four times as much wine as the average American. Yanks like their beer and cocktails more.
5. If you want to sell wine, you have to create brands that have real meaning to people. That’s not quite the same as creating brands that have real meaning to you and your pretentious, “undertones of blackcurrent” asshole friends.
6. Wine retailers must learn to have authority, and use it to have real dialogue with their customers, as opposed to outsourcing it to the wine critics in the media. The Americans understand this better than the Brits. The Americans understand The Kinetic Quality better than the Brits etc.
7. The wine trade is about putting liquid into bottles and convincing somebody else to give you money for it, at a profit. It’s not about retreating to the boonies and doing the midlife-crisis-loser-hippie-downsizing-vineyard thing.
8. The retailers are so utterly flooded with choices that their brains are permanently fried by it.
9. If your wine is not outstanding [for the price point it occupies], you’re dead meat. It’s just as hard to sell a $10 bottle of wine as it is to sell a $100 botle of wine. At least if you want to make any money, it is.
10. Seems like both Stormhoek.com and gapingvoid are starting to get read by a lot of people in the wine trade. They rarely leave comments, but prefer to lurk. I guess what we did got their attention.