rookie errors

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A version of this column originally ran here on the blog three years ago. I’ve updated it, in the hopes that perhaps it will help some new winery get off to a better start.

New wineries keep appearing, and sadly, many of them make the same old mistakes. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of learning from the past going on here, particularly among those who are setting up shop in a region that is off the beaten path (as far as global wine commerce is concerned), and who have not been working in the industry previously.

Nothing about either of those conditions should prevent these entrepreneurs from doing their homework, but whether it’s ignorance, apathy, or plain hubris, a lot of them clearly do not. So here you go, young wineries, from my lips to your bottom line. PaulG’s Top 10 New Winery Mistakes.

10) Designating a “Reserve” whose only attributes (besides a jaw-dropping price) are a massively heavy glass bottle and a long soak in new oak.

9) Creating a label that is impossible to read, hideously ugly, or crammed with inscrutable minutiae.

8) Releasing a truckload of a dozen or more different varietal wines before you’ve figured out how to do any of them well.

7) Buying really expensive grapes, bottles, corks, etc. and then pricing your wines to “cover your costs.”

6) Hiring a PR firm to write about your “passion for making great wine.”

5) Proclaiming that your just-planted vineyard has instantly shown its unique “terrior.”

4) Making 6 or 8 versions of a single variety, perhaps differentiated by clone, block, row, or cute vineyard name, but all tasting exactly the same.

3) Releasing wines with excess volatility, brett, or other spoilage factors that simply shout “bad winemaking!”

2) Shipping samples to the press with no technical, pricing or distributor information included.

and #1...

1) Submitting ancient vintages of your unsellable wine to me to be reviewed in the faint hope that it will magically get a great score and fly off the shelves.

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