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wine in the news

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Written by Nikitas Magel   

NM: And on the subject of consumers, what advice would you have for those who are interested in wine, but might be a little bit confused as to how to learn about wine in general and discover what they like in particular?

AR: I think what you must do as a consumer, is to find a trusted source of wine recommendations.  Find that one (or few) that really clicks with your own palate.  Not everyone's going to have the same taste.  It's truly a subjective product — one of the most subjective products that I can think of — and everybody has their own personal preferences for flavor and feel and taste and aroma.  There are so many components to a wine, that not everybody is going to love reviews [from the same reviewer].  I know plenty of people who would never buy a wine recommended by Robert Parker.  And yet he is a big driver of wine sales in the nation.  So, I think consumers really need to dabble, and find that one reviewer or sample of reviewers that they can consistently rely upon to create recommendations.

Of course, also, a good thing to do is to tour wineries… but that's not always possible.  I think one of the reasons for the success of The Wine Spies is that we try as much as we can to bridge that gap between being there — having that in-winery experience, which is unrivaled — and buying online.  When we started this company, we shopped all our competitors.  And not only did they do a really bad job of describing and selling a wine, but in delivering it: the bottles were dusty and full of fingerprints, and with labels that were banged up… it's just not a pleasant experience a lot of the time.  So that's also been part of our focus… we take a lot of care with our shipments.  And we put fun into every shipment: each box is stamped with "Top Secret Wine Shipment" right there on the the outside of the box.  Inside, we throw in whatever freebies we can, we wrap the bottles in tissue paper…

But to get back to your question, I think customers need to find a trusted source [of recommendations] and I don't think they should find just one.  I should think they should dabble until they've honed in on one(s) that they can feel comfortable have consistently delivered quality wine recommendations.

NM: One last question.  Your final mission is on a desert island, and you're allowed wine from only one single varietal and/or region.  What would it be?

AR: {laughing} Oh, I'm glad you didn't nail me down to a specific wine…

NM: {laughing} No!  That wouldn't be fair of me!

AR: Okay, otherwise, I would have cried!  Okay, I'll give you the one varietal and region.  I'll say… California Cabernet Franc.

NM: Wonderful!  And unexpected!


And it's with those two words that I can't help but describe, as well, my overall experience in interviewing the sly and elusive Agent Red of The Wine Spies.  For more information, there's no better source that the website for the organization itself, The Wine Spies.

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wine in the news

Please make the Cache directory writable.

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