You’ve seen them, right? Those Twitter campaigns by a national wine warehouse and its online division telling people how stupid they are to buy wine that costs less than £5 or more than £10.
And that if you spend much more than £10, then you are an utter fool because all you are doing is helping the winemaker buy a new, fancy Porsche. You know, that winemaker renting space in the corner of a winery who has to scrape together funds to show their wines in key export markets.
I’m not sure how telling consumers they’re stupid really helps them feel positive about a product. But wine carries so much social baggage – no one wants to look stupid buying the wrong bottle – that good old FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) must translate into sales. So, here’s my stab at telling wine drinkers where they’re going wrong…
ONE: Stop choosing wines by country. You’ve learnt to think this way because of how shops have traditionally segmented their wines, which is bonkers if you think about it. You can’t taste Italy. You can taste a light, silky Pinot Nero from Alto Adige or a full bodied, smooth Primitivo from Puglia. Which do you think you’d prefer? It’s smarter to understand and remember the regions you like. Better still, the styles.
TWO: Stop confusing fruitiness with sweetness. It’s not that hard. Eat a peach. Then suck a boiled candy. Hopefully, you can tell the difference and wine merchants will stop rolling their eyes at you. Feel free to slap any merchant who then confuses you with talk about “sweet fruit”.
THREE: Stop judging a rosé by its colour. Dark doesn’t necessarily mean sweet. Unless you are buying it in the pub or from the convenience store. Then maybe it does. Yes, the aesthetics of a pale rosé are lovely, but if it’s just about the colour, drop a bit of red food dye into your Pinot Grigio and save yourself the angst.
FOUR: Buy what you can afford – drink the best that you can within your budget. But if you can afford a decent bit of organic, grass fed ribeye and some artisan cheese, don’t insult it with some BOGOF plonk that’s got more additives than your entire dinner party food shop. (And if your guests do turn up with nice wine, serve it FFS.)
FIVE. Stop reading anything that tells you that you are wrong in your wine choices. Or that you are making mistakes that are so embarrassing you should walk around with a paper bag over your head.
Oops. Too late.