A recent wait staff training at Ruth's Chris in San Francisco gave my batteries a needed recharge. It reminded me who the critics are that I should be concerned about as a winemaker - the people that drink them.
The wait staff loved my wines and they rekindled my love for them too. They tasted alive and fresh and were just what I hoped they would be.
Last weekend brought another recharge as I presented my upcoming 2013 vintage Napa Valley releases to our distributor in southern California. They loved them for their balance and refinement. That’s what I love them for too.
It’s not that wine criticism has no place, the issue is that some critics actually love a style of wines that most normal wine drinkers don’t prefer. Sugary, bloated and alcoholic should describe neither wines or critics.
My continued support and enthusiasm for wine commentary on wine blogs is that it comes from real people drinking real wine the way it is actually consumed in the real world. The average consumer is far more likely to get wines that match words on a wine blog than from a critic tasting hundreds of wines, in a matter of hours, on their own. That's like saying you have a better idea of what a tiger is all about by seeing one in a zoo rather than in the wild. It's odd that an activity that is pointless generates almost all the point ratings given to wines.
Winemakers have to try to remember that wine is about not about critics. It’s about people enjoying food and each other.
Hopefully we are on the edge of a pointless era for wine as it's time that the point of wine is not points. Points are for games.