Despite recent (bogus) news that wine has outstripped beer as Americans' social drink of choice, it's pretty clear that in general most Americans know very little about wine. A recent study conducted by WineOpinions, a statistical research company focusing on the wine industry, rams that fact home with unnerving certainty. In a survey of 500 Americans who drink wine on at least a "somewhat frequent" basis, a full 66% of respondents had no idea what the vintage date on the bottle referred to. 17% thought it referred to the year the wine was made, 37% believed it referred to the date the wine was bottled, and 12% said they had no idea. The sobering thing is that among the people in this group who drank wine "regularly" the percentage of incorrect answers was still 54%.
Among these folks, a full 48% responded that they "strongly agreed" that the best wines are blends of different vintages. That's right. Not varietals. Vintage years.
Unless a huge chunck of Americans are drinking obscure solera-style wines or non-vintage Champagne, we've got some work to do. Most of these folks also cling to the notion that under all circumstances the older a wine is, the better it will taste. Given the choice between wines of one, three, and five years of age, 44% would choose the older wine, regardless of varietal.
So here's what we're going to do. I want every one of you readers to promise me that the next time you are out drinking wine with friends, you make sure you take care of them. Don't be pedantic, don't be arrogant, but should the opportunity arise to figure out how much they know about wine without making them uncomfortable or self conscious, I want you to at least teach them that the vintage date is when the grapes are picked and that many wines don't in fact get better as they get older. Then maybe they'll teach someone else, and they'll teach someone else, and at least we'll get this fact straight.
Introducing The Essence of Wine Book Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Vinography Unboxed: Week of November 24, 2013 Vinography Images: Down the Row Pinot Days Southern California 2013: December 7, Los Angeles When Should You Not Be Allowed to Be Biodynamic? Vinography Unboxed: Week of November 17, 2013 Vinography Images: Below the Clouds Don't Ask a Dinosaur for Directions California's Current Wine Revolution
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy