Wine Industry

    • What does the Galloni purchase of Tanzer mean to wine criticism?

      It is, I suppose, the fault of the historian and logician in me that I’m always looking for the meaning of things. I’ve always thought that all things are connected in some mysterious way, and that certain events have implications, not only for how the future will unfold, but for trying to understand where we are now.

      STEVE HEIMOFF- 3 readers -
    • French attitudes toward Napa Valley, plus comparisons of winegrapes to meat?

      It’s too funny, really. When I first started out in this biz, you couldn’t give Napa Valley wine away to the French. “Mais non!” was their attitude. It was vin de table, merde, Algerian plonk. Some of us knew otherwise, and suspected that the French—so chauvinistic in the belief that no other culture could rise to their level, especially American culture—were simply whistli ...

      STEVE HEIMOFFin Cabernet Sauvignon- 2 readers -
    • Preserving trust in an era of distrust

      Wine critics are insulated from the buying public. They live in a sort of bubble in which popular tastes are shut out, and only their own impressions impinge upon their consciousness. Yes, there’s something solipsistic about being a critic—maybe even narcissistic. But that’s the way it should be, because the critic must remain immune to all influences except that of his own ...

      STEVE HEIMOFF- 1 readers -
  • End of the Run

    …. It is an important food culturally, nutritionally, and socially. Civilization as we know it in the western world sprang from the grapes on the vines. There’s a reason why it’s mentioned in the Bible and other similarly ancient texts. Wine production pre-dates literacy. We drink wine with others to have funny stories to tell our kids. I believe…

    Wine Country BC- 1 readers -
  • I’m the new “go with” wine guy

    … I went on a “go with” yesterday. That is (as I just learned) the jargon for a salesperson who calls on an account and brings “someone else” (like me) with him. In this case, I’m the “famous former wine critic” whom most of the accounts have heard of, and whose ratings might even appear on their shelf talkers; apparently, some of them at least…

    STEVE HEIMOFF- 3 readers -
  • What is a wine with “personality”?

    … and Chianti Classico Riserva were almost a commodity, wines that didn’t have such a strong personality, so they said we have to find a way to give a value to such products that are outstanding.” “Strong personality?” Is Mr. Zonin talking about the wine’s organoleptic qualities, or is he talking about the perception of the wine among the critical community…

    STEVE HEIMOFF- 6 readers -
  • O.K. , you have your social media data. Now, what good is it?

    … I asked it six years ago, five years ago, four, three and two years ago, and I’m asking it now. And it’s not just me: That bastion of U.S. capitalism itself, the Wall Street Journal, is asking the same question. In a five-column headline in last Monday’s Marketplace section, they wondered “What is all that data worth?” (The online version…

    STEVE HEIMOFF- 4 readers -
  • How do you know it’s not just a trend?

    … Back in 1999, a wine writer, Randall Murray, called Sangiovese “the next Merlot,” by which he meant that the red grape native to Tuscany was poised to become one of the leading red wines of California. Never happened, did it? Actually, by 1999, Sangiovese already had one foot in the grave. Ten years prior, one might have been forgiven…

    STEVE HEIMOFFin Pinot Noir Merlot- 4 readers -
  • The Wall of Wine, Stories, and Consumer Psychology

    …, the top of my little head exploded at that. You know that we’ve been talking about “stories” quite a bit here at steveheimoff.com. Stories are the new black of marketing: the latest, hottest trend in the industry. Until my experience at that tasting, I had not perhaps appreciated the power of a good story, told by a trusted authority figure…

    STEVE HEIMOFFin Pinot Noir- 8 readers -
  • DTC, snobs and marketing segmentation: A personal view

    … or Twitter account, they “recommend” appropriate wines. For me, they suggested three brands I’ve never heard of: a Wonderful Wine Co. red blend from Paso Robles, a Black Market Cabernet-Petit Verdot blend from Livermore, and Casa de Lila Airén, a white wine from Spain. Beyond these three wines, there are others on the website I could buy. They all…

    STEVE HEIMOFF- 5 readers -
  • Vintage 2014, and California declares war on small wineries

    … a month before normal. (This means that Autumn rains should not be a problem. If they actually come, which everyone is hoping they will.) A good crop, tonnage-wise, not a record, but then, it comes on the heels of two record-setting years (2012, 2013). Quality? Overall, pretty good. The wines should be plump and approachable. Several people commented…

    STEVE HEIMOFF- 5 readers -
  • What it’s like to be a #wine judge – part 2 #LACountyFair

    … with soaring confidence in my trusty palate. The winners of the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition are listed in a 132-page PDF that you can download from the Fairplex website. I wish to extend my most sincere gratitude to Jana Kravitz at Planet Bordeaux for the opportunity, to Renee Hernandez at the Fairplex for accommodating me…

    Señorita Vino- 5 readers -
  • A tale of two bars: dives and tasting rooms

    … 1. Is the dive bar doomed? I have two images in my head of the classic American dive bar. One is from the movies, where so many scenes of intrigue, drama and violence have occurred in them. I think of the Silver Bullet, the bar in Thelma and Louise, for example, with its country & western band, pool table and cowboy drifters chugging beer…

    Steve Heimoff/ STEVE HEIMOFF- 5 readers -
  • Tales from Content City, or How I Learned to be a Storyteller

    … on storytelling (if in fact that’s what I am). I set out to be a wine writer and critic. Telling stories didn’t seem to be a part of my job, but looking back, in retrospect, that’s what I was doing from Day One. It’s just that the concept and terminology of telling stories didn’t invade the wine industry until comparatively recently. Yet when I wrote…

    Steve Heimoff/ STEVE HEIMOFF- 7 readers -
  • The Empire Strikes Back: Laube Takes on IPOB

    … Brother Laube comes out swinging against In Pursuit of Balance, in the Sept. 30 issue of Wine Spectator. (Sorry, no link. The Spectator has one of the best firewalls in the business. No subscribe, no read.) I’d been wondering how long it would take him. After all, Jim is famous for giving high scores to ripe, plush wines that can be high…

    Steve Heimoff/ STEVE HEIMOFF- 2 readers -
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