Last week on the “eBob” bulletin board a question was posed regarding the marketing of wine. More exact, the disclosure of winemaking techniques (with regards to its marketing). The concern of the post was whether or not it is ethical to present a wine with all its romantic ideals coming from a particular place if the wine was manipulated to taste in such or such a way.
The Devil's Advocate debate was: does it really matter?
Will disclosure actually diminish one's perception of wine? Will there be buyer's remorse or more importantly, will you not purchase a wine that used fish bladders for clarifying purposes or added water and acid during fermentation to achieve optimal results? [Note: the addition of water and acid during fermentation not only can produce more of a wine, but also can lower potential alcohol levels and help produce a healthy fermentation if grapes are harvested, over-ripe, slightly dehydrated and out of balance.]
A similar, political example to this is: last year, you may recall the outcry against Brunello di Montalcino producers who were cutting their wines with juice from other regions of Italy to alter the wine's taste and/or production levels. Remembrance of this issue can be found here.
Governments have gotten involved, wine has been confiscated and as a result consumers are stuck holding an empty bottle. But has your taste and enjoyment of these wines changed? Do we need Governments to get involved to protect against these indiscretions? If you once enjoyed Brunello and stocked your cellar with some, do you now feel cheated? Are you heart-broken? Are you smashing bottles of Brunello and dumping them down the drain? Are you not buying Italian wine anymore because one is a reflection of many?
There are many questions to be asked about this debate of disclosure and many opinions to be heard. On the subject of regulation, in the recent issue of Decanter an interview with Tom Black, a Tennessee businessman, mammoth collector and investor in Alto (the NYC restaurant) made a pinpoint argument against regulation. He says, and I quote, “We scream free trade to the world but don't allow it. I'd let people buy direct from the winery and have it shipped home.”
On the Parker boards regarding the above disclosure debate, the ugly comment was reared, “[you assume] the geeks that inhabit this forum resemble the normal wine consumers.” I hope not to degrade anyone reading this by reposting that comment, but let's hear it – what are your thoughts about disclosure and/or regulation?