Inferior Good: Diminishing Marginal Stupidity in Action

Thursday, July 06, 2006

All wine is manipulated

Manipulation free, all natural wine isn't available in a bottle. Perhaps you can find it on a sun-drenched rock somewhere in the forest, but otherwise you’re SOL. Apparently, some people haven’t thought this through yet.

You see, planting vines in neat little rows is manipulation. Growing them in the desert using drip irrigation is manipulation. Picking and crushing grapes is manipulation. The use of oak is manipulation. Indeed, the wine making process is but a series of manipulations.

So please, let’s avoid using meaningless terms like "manipulated wine". For example, let’s stop arbitrarily classifying oak barrel maturation as natural, while considering the use of oak chips a manipulation. It’s all unnatural manipulation, darn it!

This is not to say one shouldn’t favor certain winemaking practices over others. For example, stand up and be heard if you only drink biodynamic wine, but don’t support your view with vaugeries. Rather, give some specific reasons why you like biodynamic wine.

Taste is a great rationale. But wine is more than just a sensory experience, so tradition and or culture might be good reasons too. Or maybe you believe biodynamic wine is produced in a more environmentally friendly manor. Or perhaps you feel biodynamic wine puts you in touch with Mother Earth. It doesn’t really matter, just know why you think what you think (and try to be intellectually consistent).

Whatever your reasons, keep in mind that taste and preference are subjective. For example, I’ll fully support your right to believe wine is best produced and consumed in terra cotta pots. But please, don’t start acting as though you are drinking wine the "right" way, while the rest of us poor idiots are drinking the "wrong" way. Remember, you don’t have the moral high ground and you’re not "right" in an objective sense.

Addendum: Vinography’s got a great article noting that many wines are not produced in accordance with some wine lover’s romantic standards. Said one commentor, "Perhaps [some wine lovers have] been drinking a fairy tale, passionately arguing in support of a perspective on wine that scarcely exists in the real world…"

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