How to make California exciting
I wrote yesterday that the California wine industry has been a little less than exciting lately, and let me tell you, a lot of people disagreed with that. Hardy Wallace asked, “Steve- What would excite you?” Brendan, at pinotphiles.com, told me to “use your imagination [to] come up with a ‘wish list’ of sorts.” When I didn’t immediately respond, Charlie Olken weighed in. “Come on, Steve…List a few.”
Well, I’m not sure that any one thing would make California wine as exciting as it used to be, so instead of coming up with my own list, I turned to Facebook and asked my digital friends, “What are some of the most exciting, important things the California wine industry could do this year? Let your imagination soar!” As usual, they didn’t let me down.
I got dozens of responses. Here are some of the more interesting. I’ll comment in italics where I think it’s appropriate.
Pinot Noir is going to be declared ‘balanced’! [John Skupny]
Figure out Nebbiolo [Joe Herrig] Maybe toward the middle of the 21st century, but don’t hold you breath.
Blow up all the AVAs and recreate them based solely on geology/geography and not any political borders. [Joe Herrig] I could go along with this, but it’s not in the realm of reality.
Reduce reduce reduce: oak, m-l, SO2, mega purple, liquid oak, micro-ox, etc. [Beau Carufel]
Overthrow the 3 tier system. [Chris Donatiello] Tom Wark is doing his best.
Open up direct shipping! [Brook Drummond] cf. above.
Define an information system that encompasses farming, production, marketing, sales and compliance and make it freely available (i.e. open source) [Randy Hall] I have no idea what this means, but it sounds good, so I’m in favor!
Turn Lake Michigan into wine and invite everyone in for a party. [Steven Doyle] I don’t know what Steven Doyle is smoking, but I want some.
Lower prices of high end Cabs. Uh, sure. LOL [Jack Bulkin] It’s already happening.
Stop thinking of itself as an “Industry”. I have no interest in wine as a product of an “industry”. ]Ned Hoey]
A little less EGO please…it’s Rutherford not Pauillac. [Pearsons Wine Atlanta]
Move to Ohio! We need the money! [Tom Day] Not until you get rid of that awful John Kasich.
Study and encourage the practice of sustainability at the winery level, [J.C. Milam]
Grenache! Please! [Stefan Blicker] There are some good Grenaches, but good Grenache will not be a game changer for California.
Prohibition is OVER – stop with all the ridiculous legislation and give marketers the ability to actually engage with their customers! [Brigid Joyce Harris]
Celebrate diversity of wine styles, from the austere and elegant to the big and bold and everything in between. [Christopher O’Gorman] I’ll drink to that!
Try to make some quality tempranillo. What I've tasted out there that is done here has been mediocre at best. [Nickolay Todorov] See my reply to the Nebbiolo comment.
For the industry to start taking the millennial wine drinker more seriously. [John Tyler Wines] Memo to Joe Roberts: make this happen. Now.
Convince the average consumer to have fun with their wine purchases and be more adventurous. [Valerie Reichel Moberg]
I have enjoyed how social media has made the wine community stronger..allowing for more support for what others are doing…spreading the word together so to speak. I am hoping more will use social media to interact with their neighboring winemakers and promote this great wine region together..not on an island. [Gloria E. Marckesano Schaefer]
All close their doors for the month of July. I have no idea why or what it would mean, but I’m pretty sure it would create a LOT of excitement. [Duane Bowman] Don’t they already do that in Europe?
Get our crop in without it being frost-damaged!!!! [Larry Schaffer]
Create a plan to go back to dry-farmed vineyards. [Stephanie Trotter-Zacharia]
How about all CA wines sold in carafes only, without labels, to be put onto tables around the country and just consumed . . . NOT over-analyzed . . . (-: [Larry Schaffer, ibid]
Adopt classification/quality certification standards (that have teeth) for reserve and grand reserve that consumers can trust and appreciate. [Rich Reader] I can get behind this one.
Find a spoken of the caliber of Robert Mondavi to speak for the need for qualitity wines. [Calstar Cellars] Robert Mondavis, unfortunately, don’t grow on trees.
[This is Steve again] If all the above happen in the next ten years, California will indeed be an exciting place, probably the most exciting wine district in the world.