Making great Pinot Noir: it’s a Republican thing
Do you think that starting a successful winery is a conservative or a liberal thing to do? I don’t think it’s either. Only a rightwinger could interpret it in an anti-Obama way as a teabaggy example of all-American patriotism. Yet that’s exactly what some guy whose nom de blog is “weeklybito” did at a far-right website called RedState, which he titled “Pinot Noir and Capitalism.”
Seems weeklybito came across a Kosta Browne Pinot Noir, which he loved. He met with Michael Browne, who told him the story of how he, Michael, and partner Dan Kosta started their winery from very humble beginnings. Kosta Browne today has a high reputation in California Pinot Noir circles.
Lots of successful wineries (and lots of not so successful ones) were started by folks who had no money to begin with. Of course, lots of wineries also were started by people who had plenty of money to begin with. It’s always nice when somebody poor works hard and builds up a great brand. I’ve known dozens such, and have written about and praised many of them in my various books. It’s a lot harder to start with nothing and make it happen than to buy the stairway to heaven.
But why make political hay out of it? Some people just have to inject their politics into everything, and that’s what this weeklybito has done. He can’t just talk about the wine, the founders, the terroir. No, he has to see it all from a rightwing point of view. Here’s some of his Limbaugh-esque rhetoric, followed immediately by my refutations:
“From these humble beginnings American capitalism took root.” American capitalism? You mean they don’t practice capitalism in Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico, Zimbabwe? Under capitalism, goods and services are traded on an open market, hopefully for profit. There’s nothing “American” about capitalism. It’s a system, not a country. And it can be argued that our uniquely American form of capitalism is not exactly doing the vanishing Middle Classes any good.
“Dedication and endurance need to be returned to the American work ethic.” Tell that to the auto workers, 4,000 of them, who were just fired from the NUMMI plant, 20 miles south of where I live. They were dedicated, they endured hard work. Tell that to the 30,000 others who are likely to lose their jobs as the ripple effect of NUMMI’s closure sweeps across the South Bay. Why politicize Kosta Browne? If bootstrap “dedication and endurance” are so important to making great wine, then does that mean that Bill Harlan — whose wealth financed his Harlan Estate winery — was not dedicated, had not endurance?
Kosta Browne “documents why America is still a great country and gives us reason to celebrate American achievements in the face of adversity.” What does the success of a winery have to do with documenting why America is a great country? One of these days we’re going to hear about some sensational wines coming from a Caucasus country. Will weeklybito then rant about how great Ukraine or Georgia or Belarus is? Kosta Browne gives us a reason to celebrate achievement, not “American achievements.” Why chauvinize what Michael and Dan have done? Why do the rightwingers have to praise everything good as “American” and everything they don’t like as “anti-American”?
Okay, forgive me. I promised I’d try to refrain from politics on this blog and keep my political opinions to Facebook. But this post was about wine — well, a little bit. So I didn’t really break my promise. That would be, well, un-American!