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Why Wineology?

As a forever student, I’m drawn to the broad and yet all encompassing nature of the study of wine. Wineology is the study of all things in our physical world …biology (all living organisms in the vineyard), botany (vines and plants, I mean, obvi) , geology (soil) , geography (where vines are grown), history (who, what, where, when and why), chemistry (winemaking), climatology (climate change), weather (story of a vintage), the list goes on. How does one become an expert at so many things? The answer? You can’t. Wineology is a race with no finish line, it is an endless loop of knowledge. No matter your level of dedication to Wineology, you will never know all there is to know. You will always be a student.

In all my years working in wine wholesale, I have noticed there are three kinds of people who gravitate toward this industry…artists, athletes and business people and I’m a mutant combination of all three. We are great storytellers, highly competitive and perform well under pressure. We are also egotistical, arrogant and infallible. Hey, look, no one's perfect, amirite?

The 4000 year old wine industry is experiencing many challenges in the modern era. The most impactful is climate change, causing unpredictable and extreme weather events (fires, spring frosts, hail damage, autumn rains), longer growing seasons and hotter, extended temperatures, threatening to alter the quality of premium and super premium wines from cooler climates, such as Champagne, Burgundy, Mosel, and Barolo. As these weather events continue to reduce yields and commercial access, climate change is also forcing a viticultural renaissance of global proportions, as governing bodies and producers struggle to reduce their carbon footprint, and quickly convert to sustainable, organic and even biodynamic forms of viticulture. On a domestic scale, wine sales remain flat as consumer interests continue to shift to the seltzer and cocktail sector. As wine professionals, we are left grappling with a fundamental issue…with rising prices, low inventory and transforming consumer tastes, how do we get our community to drink more wine?

In my youth, I often felt there were wines I could and could not drink if I wanted to be a member of the metaphorical “wine club.” As it turns out, I was not alone. As the interest in wine education grew, so did attitudes of increasing exclusivity, with young wine drinkers left feeling unsophisticated or unintelligent for enjoying wines lacking a Somm’s stamp of approval. Look, Winelogosits! My personal tastes are as narrow as they come, but I still make it my daily mission to give my customers exactly what they ask for, regardless of its “coolness” factor. Our changing climate has stacked the deck against us, it is our job now to find a way to include as many drinkers as possible in our wine party. You're looking for that natty, hipster delightfulness…that Ca’ dei Zago Reformentato is freaking delicious. Oh, sorry, you just wanted the Barefoot Chardonnay you’ve been drinking 4 times a week for the last 30 years…no worries! It’s on sale! Just as growers and winemakers are in the middle of a renaissance in the vineyard and in the winery, if our industry is to survive, we also need a transformation in our attitudes. Whatever wine you’re into, it has a place here at Wineologists United. Who knows…you just might get turned on to something new!

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