Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Wine is processed grape food? Get over it

By Jessica Yadegaran
Thursday, November 5th, 2009 at 3:33 pm in Corkheads.

Welch's Grape Jelly

I was confused by Keith Wallace’s Daily Beast article, “How Wine Become Like Fast Food.” It’s about the fact that there aren’t as many actual wineries with physical addresses in the country as some wine consumers may have thought.

The headline reads like there will be some scandalous exposure of the wine industry, like jug merlot is the next pawn in our national war on obesity. In reality, we all know that big brands and cheap conglomerates make up the majority of wines purchased and consumed by average Americans.

Big deal. They’re drinkable and affordable, and unlike French fries or double decker hamburgers, fermented grape juice doesn’t clog your arteries and isn’t any better or worst for you if it’s made in the old Sutter Home facility (now known as The Ranch) or a Pomerol chateau.

The author goes on to “out” custom crush facilities like they’re something evil too. In reality, places like Napa Valley Custom Micro Crush at Judd’s Hill, Crushpad, Bin to Bottle, and The Ranch function more like cooperatives giving ordinary people the opportunity to smash grapes and make some freaking nectar.

What confuses me the most is that after exposing the ills of mass produced wine, the author ends by saying that there are actually plenty of wineries out there, and that there’s no need to despair. Even worst, he says you have to choose between authenticity and value. I do not agree.

The next time you visit your wine merchant, tell him or her you have $10 to spend on a bottle and want it to come from a “real” winery. You shouldn’t have a problem.

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