All wine producers like to show, talk and boast of their top wines, but what about the other end?
TKR has visited many a small producer cellar door that has a low-priced cash cow, often not very good but good enough for visitors to feel they are spending something for the privilege of tasting the more expensive wines on the tasting bench.
Larger producers have smart tasting rooms at the front, but out the back B-double trucks are departing in convey, loaded up with casks.
There was an interesting article worth reading in the National Post Eating & Drinking section (Canada) by Calum Marsh, on 15 June. Some extracts:
“Brights Pale Dry Select does not often appear on lists of recommended wines in magazines. It is scarcely lauded by critics, rarely endorsed by aficionados and regularly overlooked by awards bodies. Most serious wine drinkers, I expect, have no idea it exists. But in its own unlikely way, Brights Pale Dry Select is ubiquitous in this country – as much a fixture of our national diet of drink as the beloved Caesar. We simply don’t hear about it, because Brights Pale Dry Select happens to be enjoyed almost exclusively by the homeless.
“In the summer of 2006, I took a job as a part-time sales clerk at Wine Rack, the retail division of Constellation Brands Canada…. I learned about Pale Dry Select on my first day. Pale Dry Select, I was informed, was the Wine Rack’s most popular item by far.
“Our homeless clientele – regulars who lived on or around Elgin, mainly, and who would shop with us two or three times between when we opened mid-morning and closed late at night – would drink nothing but Pale Dry. Nobody else even looked at it. So entrenched was this routine that if someone who did not appear to be homeless came in and asked for Pale Dry Select we were instructed to refuse them, because ordinarily this meant a homeless customer who had been denied service previously had asked for it to be bought on their behalf. We kept it out of sight but within reach. Our supplies were replenished constantly. Not once in the time I worked at Wine Rack did I sell a bottle of Pale Dry Select for anything other than a handful of loose change.”
There is a lot more, and in our opinion it’s well worth reading. The idea is that one needs to understand more about the industry/business of wine and alcohol, not just the posh bits.