It’s time to drop the snobbery and embrace diversity in wine

By Guy Chatfield

IF someone were to say to you that a business is “wine credible” what does that mean?

I have heard this phrase uttered a few times recently and sort of nodded politely when it has been said. I think I know what it means, but I’m not sure it’s a good thing.
Okay, so I realise that in most innocent conversations this alludes to the quality of the products that the supplier delivers, but for me it has a subtext which, in my mind, presents quite a negative message when delivered by certain people.
In some cases, the phrase can have overtones of snobbery, laced with a touch of condescension. To me, a lot of the time, it infers that the business they are speaking about is ‘one of us’ or ‘not riff-raff’! If a wine vending establishment meets their criteria, does that make it more credible than a restaurant or pub that uses more “mass market” or populist wines?
I know I have been banging on about this before, but one of the things that truly gets on my wick is the arrogance that surrounds certain sections of the wine world. If a wine isn’t faulty, what right has someone to dictate that a certain liquid is not cool enough to merit their praise? Who is to say that some expensive smelly old Burgundy delivers more pleasure to a drinker than a great value for money Chardonnay with crisp clean fruit? One of wine’s biggest attractions for me is that it is such a wonderfully subjective topic.
The majority of people that I respect in the wine trade would run a mile from the term ‘connoisseur’.
These individuals would be delighted to share their knowledge and wine experiences freely, not spout off a load of nonsensical tasting notes and facts that belittle the average wine drinker. They, like me, take huge pleasure in talking about, training and selling wine to a vast array of different businesses. I’d also wager that they still absolutely love the feedback they get when someone likes the wine they’re drinking or they see a customer’s wine list performing really well.
The message from me will always be, on a personal level, to find what you enjoy but continuously challenge that idea by trying different kit. If you’ve got the right people supplying you, they will do that without prejudice and scorn if it’s something you don’t like.
With so many delicious drinking styles out there on offer from the trade, finding your ideal glass of wine will turn into a labour of love before you know it!

The Cork Dork Quote:
“Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.”
– Colin Powell, ex-US Secretary of State and retired four-star general