Blog: Chris Brook-CarterWine, whine, wine

Chris Brook-Carter | 11 May 2005

The wine industry is, arguably, one of the most fascinating sectors to follow in the drinks business. The enthusiasm of the wine companies is infectious, the massive range of different wines is almost endless, and the potential available to wine companies around the World is intriguing to see.

But every now and then someone, or something, crops up that makes me despair of the wine category.

A panel of seven highly experienced wine critics was recently selected to pick out 15 benchmark wines for the Californian Wine Institute to unveil at next week’s LIWSF. Around 189 wines were tasted blind, and the list was whittled down to 15. One of only two wines unanimously (that’s unanimously) approved by the panel was the 2003 Blossom Hill Reserve Chardonnay from the UK’s top-selling wine brand.

It is not this fact, however, that causes shaking heads at just-drinks towers. It is the fact that one source told decanter.com that they were “slightly amazed by the results” and that the Blossom Hill decision “bordered on the embarrassing.”

Personally, what I find more embarrassing is the in-grained wine snobbery that continues to form such a barrier between the trade and the ordinary consumer. Is it really a surprise or an embarrassment that this hugely successful wine - and the leading wine brand on sale in the UK - should be a benchmark for success?


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