After seven and a half hours I have conquered my inventory list at the store! If you could see me right now I have both my hands raised in fists, at least I did when I finished. One of the best things that we do here at Wine Republic is roll through out wines and switch them out on a regular basis. Think of it like a restaurant that changes it's menu. Pardon me while a take a sip of water and figure out what wine I'm going to have with dinner.
My body is recovering nicely from yesterday's workout but is a constant reminder that I do not have a healing factor like the fictional but totally awesome Logan/Wolverine. And while I am resolved to reading more actual literature this year I have read my fair share of comics, DC and others also for you comic fans thinking I only read Marvel. That would be like drinking just one wine. How incredibly boring is that?!
We'll jump into the Master of Wine question right away. Today's question is, "There has been a great deal of innovation in packaging design and formats in other alcoholic beverage categories. Why has the wine industry been slow to follow suit?"
The main reason is habit. Looking at the definition will help explain what I'm talking about. Habit is defined as: 1 "a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior" 2a "an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary" 2b "ADDICTION" 2c a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance."
People in general will fall into patterns because patterns are more efficient in terms of energy expenditure. You don't need to think about what to do because habits create neural pathways that make a certain actions or thoughts appear to happen instantly. If you sleep on your left side and always get up on the left, there will be a feeling of strangeness if you are forced to sleep or get up on the right side.
Now I will speak about the wine consumers in the US. America is growing per capita in wine drinkers compared to the world with China following close behind. In the US where prohibition changed the way people think about wine, wine is only considered "real" wine if it comes in a bottle. Take the humble boxed wine. Now boxed wine has certainly earned it's reputation as an underachiever but to say that all boxed wines are not worthy is a fallacy of the highest order.
On a personal note, when we have had boxed wine in the shop it has been harder to sell the wine because people come in with a preconceived notion that because the wine is boxed it can't be good. But because our customers trust us (my wife and I are trained by the Court of Master Sommeliers and the International Sommelier's Guild) they'll give it a shot and without fail they come back and love the wine.
There have been some wines that have come in cans that also garner little love. Once again in our store we have had these nonconventional containers and they were more difficult to sell. Even with the benefit of easier carrying and consumption. Not to mention that can are collapsable and can be recycled with ease. When describing these wines I had to go full somm and describe the FFEW: fruit, floral, bath and wood components with great care. There is also a difference in preference when wines in different containers are the same wine!
The second definition of habit was addiction, in capital letter no less. When someone is addicted to something be it drugs, sex or wine in bottles it will be extremely difficult to change their mind. How hard is it for someone to loose weight when they are in the habit of excess calories coupled with little exercise. The same can be said of the American consumer. And while I am speaking anecdotally, at our store there is a marked difference in the choice of wine and the package that they come in. So much so that we only carry a few boxed wines yearly and canned wines only in the summer.
Make no mistake at the quality of these wines, they are fantastic but people cannot wrap their head around the fact that good wine doesn't have to come in a bottle. The resistance that people show seems to be natural or else there would not be myriads of books dealing with habit. Creating the right habits, breaking bad ones. Certainly one of the main habits that wine drinkers have is the sexy glass.
Whether we're talking about the Bordeaux shape, or the Burgundy/Pinot bottle or the German reisling bottle. People will continue to buy more wine in bottle than in other options. One way this may be help is if the iconic vineyards like Lafite or Domaine Romanee Conti were to switch to boxes or cans. Would you still be hungry for a left bank Medoc if it came in a box? What if DRC came in a can? Would you still spend thirteen thousand dollars on it? I'm not sure I would but at this point I'd have to sell a kidney to buy a DRC, can or not.
Wine merchants and winemakers are bright people, so the reason that they don't change as quickly as other is that they know already that if they change the packaging they can expect a certain drop in sails. Even with the added cost to production with corks or screw tops, the bottles themselves and the special equipment it takes to put on labels I believe that wine makers will resist at least for the near future changing their beloved bottles.