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07.29.2005

Vinography on Wine vs. Beer

Here at Vinography, I try to bring you news that's worth talking and thinking about. There are lots of news stories in the world of wine every day. Roughly about 400 by my estimate. And most are junk, or at least "yawners." I tend to skip things like the recent declaration by US and European wine producers to protect the valuable appellation names. It's just sort of a non-story if you ask me. I was also going to let the recent announcement that wine has overtaken beer as America's drink of choice pass without comment as well, because it's only just a statistic, and statistics can mean whatever you want them to.

But then I actually read the story that's behind the link in the last sentence by writer Robin Abcarian, and I got really pissed off.

In particular it was this quote that got me:

"Is the slippery-floored college keg party going to be replaced by civilized gatherings with string quartets? Will American guys trade their beer and baggy board shorts for Petite Sirah and man bikinis? Is our country, in other words, on some ineffable road to effete?"

Of course, Robin's tongue seems to be at least partially-in-cheek throughout the piece, so I'm not going to rant about irresponsible journalism here, but I can't let it pass without noting this is a perfect example of how to perpetuate the class-based, elitist, moneyed status of wine in our country.

I don't have all the answers, or even a few of them, but we need to figure out a way to stop talking about wine in an "us vs. them," "women vs. men," "high class vs. low class" way. It's just plain wrong, even if it is lighthearted and funny.

Or maybe I just got up on the wrong side of the bed.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud