A guest post by Jamie Goode
Jamie Goode is a London-based wine writer who is currently wine columnist with UK national newspaper The Sunday Express. He contributes regularly to a range of publications worldwide. His first book, Wine Science, was published in 2006 with a second edition released in 2o14. Jamie is also a highly sought after wine lecturer, presenter and judge. He holds a PhD in plant biology and publishes the leading wine blog, Wine Anorak. Follow Jamie on Facebook and Twitter.
Dear (insert name)
I have heard that you don’t like natural wines.
I can understand that this must be quite distressing for you. But do not worry: I am a doctor (a plant PhD, not a medic, but who cares? This is the internet) and I am here to help.
You have spent a lot of time and money on your wine education. You have learned a great many objective facts about wine: its production, its history, its global spread and how it is supposed to taste. You have a finely honed palate and can differentiate among poor, ordinary, good and great wines. So I can understand how upsetting it is when some of your colleagues (who should know better) begin championing wines that fall outside this frame of reference. It just won’t do.
The first thing I need to tell you is that you matter. You are one of the top wine authorities/emerging stars of the wine world/top restaurant critics (select as appropriate), and people are intensely interested in what you have to say. They want to know what you had for breakfast, your favourite sports teams, your taste in music, your preferred tailor and recent novels that you approve of. And of course which wine styles you consider to be legitimate or illegitimate.
Because you are truly important, people are especially interested in hearing about things that you don’t like. It’s different for me. There are quite a lot of things that I don’t like. They include butter in my sandwiches, The Archers, The Rolling Stones, greed, Manchester United, Dermot O’Leary, UKIP, The Daily Mail, queuing, most Chilean Pinot Noir and cheapness. But I’m not like you, and I don’t think my readers really care terribly much about my dislikes.
Now that I have reassured you about your significance, the next step is that I need to encourage you to tell as many people as possible about your dislike of natural wine. It is important that someone of your stature should do everything they can to help stop the spread of this terrible movement.
The idea that people should be free to make up their own mind about which wines they prefer to drink is a dangerous delusion, and could lead to lots of people drinking bad wine and thinking that they enjoy it. You know all about wine faults, and from what I hear from others, pretty much every natural wine you have had has been faulty (by your definition). Unfortunately, most consumers haven’t had the sort of wine education that you have, and there’s a very real threat that they might not realise that as they drink these wines, they are enjoying wines that are flawed.
The nightmare scenario? That people should bypass gatekeepers like you altogether, and begin to explore and enjoy wines without the sort of essential guidance that you offer. They will begin making their own minds up, and that could be disastrous. You have heard about the RAW and Real Wine Fairs that have been held in London over the last few years. The rumour is that these fairs have been rammed with normal consumers who have had a great time drinking natural wines. I suspect (and hope) that this is just propaganda from the organizers, and that the few people who made it to them couldn’t find anything even half drinkable.
So you need to keep telling your readers how bad natural wines are. Really scare them. Tell them that they are cloudy, feral, stinky concoctions, packed full of wine faults. Suggest that the people who make them are deluded hippies with long beards and no clue about wine. Liken them to rough farmhouse ciders.
I realise that this is a distressing time for you. There are people – smart people even – who like things that you don’t. Please surround yourself with like-minded colleagues who share your insecurities about the rise of natural wine. Poke fun at the natural wine movement and its supporters at every opportunity. And remember: confirmation bias is your friend. You are smart, and some of your smart friends agree with you, so you must be right.
I have a tactic for you. If people complain about your negativity towards natural wine, then act as if you are the one being persecuted. Complain that others are insisting you should like these wines. How dare they suggest that your palate isn’t sophisticated enough to enjoy them! Stop forcing these faulty wines on me! It is extremely unreasonable for others to suggest that if you don’t like natural wine, then you should just leave others to enjoy it without pointing out how wrong they are. You can’t stay silent!
Natural wine is just a fad. Give it a year and it will all have gone away, and things will be just as they were before – the nice cosy, compartmentalised, tidy wine world that you learned about in your studies.