Top ten list of things gatekeepers could do a better job of explaining to consumers
People call people like me “gatekeepers.” Beyond the obvious definition of a person who controls passage through a gate, the more modern meaning of gatekeeping is a cultural one: according to Wikipedia, gatekeeping is “the process through which ideas and information are filtered for publication.”
In the wine industry, in addition to writers and critics, gatekeepers include any professionals who interface with consumers and can influence what they buy: sommeliers, restaurateurs and wine shop personnel.
I have always taken my position as a gatekeeper very seriously. But I’ll be the first to admit we don’t always do a very good job at giving consumers true, useful information about wine they can use to bust through stereotypes. I was reminded of this yesterday when I wrote my post about screwtops and somebody commented that screwtops would be a lot more acceptable to diners if sommeliers pushed or at least didn’t oppose their use. That led me to think, What else are we gatekeepers not doing enough (or doing too much of)? Here’s my top 10 list of things that gatekeepers could do a better job of letting people know:
1 screwtops aren’t just for cheap wine
2. the relationship between price and quality is not as absolute as most people think
3. just because a wine comes from a single-vineyard that is designated on the label means nothing
4. a high score does not reflect a wine’s affinity for food
5. a particular varietal that comes from a region famous for that varietal can be terrible
6. the weight of the bottle is meaningless and can be misleading
7. ditto the beauty of the label
8. ditto the faux wax seal which is often just an excuse to charge an extra $15
9. a wine described as “dry” can actually contain residual sugar that interferes with food pairing
10. the official alcohol reading on the label can be seriously off
I’m sure I could come up with others, but then it wouldn’t be a Top Ten List.