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(RED AND) WHITE LIES

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The biggest fib in the wine industry: “there is no such thing as good or bad wine, it only matters whether you like it.” It’s a fib not because it’s a false statement, but because the people saying it often don’t quite believe it. Conscious or not, the underlying message of a statement like this is that the person to whom it is being said is clearly too innocent of what good wine actually is for the speaker to be bothered debating the topic with them.

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SIGNATURE STYLE

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As a non wine-obsessed consumer, one could be forgiven for thinking that the wine industry doesn’t have a lot of compassion for its customers. For example, a question as basic as what the name of a wine actually means has no consistent answer. In some areas of the world (mainly in the so-called old world, aka Europe) wine is named after the place it is from, as in Bordeaux, Burgundy or Barolo. Others (usually from the new world) trade under the name of their principal grape, like Shiraz or Chardonnay.

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YOU OUGHTA KNOW

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Though not something about which we have solid statistics, it seems likely that one of the biggest barriers to broader wine consumption in Hong Kong is the tricky question of how to store it.

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MIGHTY MILLENNIALS

Article imageBefore any parents reading this start composing sternly-worded letters objecting to this article’s subject matter, this isn’t an article peddling wine to fifteen year-olds. “Millennial” is a poorly defined demographic, sometimes described as those born post-millennium, but according to our ultimate millennial resource, Google, it is “a person reaching young adulthood around the year 2000.”

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RED AND SPARKLY

Article image 2Like a heavyweight champ donning a demure string of pearls, the concept of sparkling red wine strikes many as just a bit off. Pale pink and sparkly by all means, we seem to feel, but red and sparkly? Never!

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DON’T HIDE YOUR WHITE UNDER A BUSHEL

Article image 3It’s a rare person in the wine world or any other who can make the statement Bruce Tyrrell makes about Hunter Valley Semillon, which he calls “our gift to the world.” While to some that may sound too close to “God’s gift to the world,” for Bruce it’s simply an honest statement of what it means to carry the torch for a classic wine style that’s deliciously unique, yet doesn’t quite resonate with consumers.

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A SHIRAZ WITH LESS BANG

Article Image 5Anybody who brings up weight in the post-holiday months probably deserves a sack of coal next Christmas. Our culture’s fixation with bodies is such that we tend to apply body-related analogies even to phenomena for which they’re rather poorly suited.

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BIG BLADDERS

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In the minds of many wine connoisseurs, nothing is so shaded from this great elixir’s rarified glow than the idea of bulk wine. The very word “bulk” is deeply unsexy, more likely to bring to mind supersized packs of toilet paper than a treasured bottle you might share with your loved ones.

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COLLECTING DUST

Article image 6In the popular imagination, the archetypal wine collector is a creature of Harris tweeds, leather club chairs and crystal decanters, laced together with a whiff of Cuban cigar. To the wine skeptic, wine collecting has its own whiff: one of elitism, decadence and, above all, great expense.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SOMEWHERENESS

Article Image 8Anyone reading the paper lately can be left in no doubt that questions of who or what holds power are on everyone’s mind. In the realm of politics, it is hard for us to come to agreement, but the little world of wine tends to favor a more decentralized power. As wine consumers, we have come to prize above all things an essential “somewhereness” in wine (to dispense with the inescapably French term “terroir”), a term originally borrowed from politics.