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Friday, 28 February 2014

The Force is with me. And so is Robert Parker Jr, Promoter of Natural Wines

Wow! the Universe really is Infinite and Abundant, and it seems to be looking out for me. This time it's delivered a huge helping hand to me (and other 'naturalistas') via Robert Parker's latest pronouncement on natural wine. Here. Basically, he predicted (along with 14 other predictions for the wine world in 2014) that natural wine would be exposed as fraud. Extraordinary! At first I couldn't believe that he, obviously a very intelligent and knowledgeable man, could say such a thing. But then I just couldn't believe my luck. Publicizing the existence of a category of wines called 'natural wine' to all his followers and subscribers! An advertising campaign with a similar outreach would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars - certainly beyond the marketing budgets of any natural wine producer, distributor, outlet or association. All I can say is "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"

Now there will be thousands and thousands of wine consumers who have been exposed to the phrase 'natural wine' and some of them will be curious to find out exactly what it's all about. And some will actually go out and taste some. And some will like it and become customers!

I feel that I should also address RP's claim that 'natural wine is a fraud', but I'm at a loss as to how to do it! I am in fact having difficulty understanding how he can possibly be serious. I mean, there are thousands of genuine, hard-working, sincere producers, distributor and retailers out there, and possibly tens of thousands of consumers who genuinely enjoy natural wines for many valid reasons. Are all these people members of some giant conspiracy to hoodwink the unsuspecting public? Obviously not. Are they all being brainwashed into admiring the emperor's new clothes? Obviously not.

But maybe RP was just referring to some silly claim possibly made by some individual natural wine proponent at some time in the past? I don't know. The quote in the post doesn't go into details.

Or maybe he was referring to the semantics of the word 'natural', along the lines of Tom Warks's numerous posts on that topic? Again, I don't know. But if this is the case, then I've already addressed the semantic question in some of my own previous posts here and here.

The most puzzling thing for me though, is why do intelligent and knowledgeable men like RP and TW make these absurd claims? My latest theory is that they in fact really know nothing at all about the reality of making natural wine, or about the reasons that it's made, or the reasons why so many consumers like to drink it; I believe that they've just synthesized a whole complete natural wine fantasy world in their own imaginations from out of nothing (or maybe from out of a few scraps and anecdotes); and they now really believe that there really is a natural wine movement out there, with its leaders, champions, dogmas, beliefs, and of course a team of evil marketers, constantly scheming to deceive the public. A great fantasy for sure, but nothing to do with the real world!

Another theory I have, (or rather, a related theory) is that the Infinite and All-Powerful Universe is using all the means at its disposal to promote natural wines, and therefore environmentally friendly viticulture and chemical-free products for human consumption. And that includes using the words of supposed adversaries, who are in fact helping us! One thing that's clear, though, is that the Universe works in mysterious ways! Who would have thought that the world's most influential wine critic would actually help the people he most disparages.

Another thing that has become clear to me is that at last I've found my place, direction and mission in this life; and it's also become clear that critics like RP or TW, far from being adversaries and enemies, are in fact allies who are helping me and others all the way.

My mission, I now know, is to make as much and as many wines as possible, from native grape variety vineyards, from as many different places as possible; to save, preserve and give productive, and profitable and sustainable use to these vineyards, to keep alive and thriving as many grape-growing and wine-making and cultural practices as possible, all this by means of partnerships and agreements with local grape-growers; by means of making many, different, beautiful, delicious, complex, terroir-expressing, minimum intervention, comment-worthy, natural wines; by means of promoting, marketing and selling all these wines honestly and transparently to people who appreciate such wines and efforts; and all this by means of sustainable, non-polluting, environmentally beneficial viticulture.

I just need to carry on doing what I've been doing all these years; just keep going with the flow; now I just need to find a model that will allow me to produce more wines from more vineyards, but without losing the quality, genuineness and singularity that I've attained and maintained so far over the last 11 years. Now I need to somehow expand my one-man-band operation and make arrangements with local grape-growers, and other players to make all this happen.

Anyway. Enough. here's to the future! :)


  1. 'Natural wine is a fraud' is the new 'relaxing cup of coffee', isn't it? }:-)



  2. Douglas Adams at its best: the most unpredictable marketing campaign ever... :)


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