Ever notice how just as you get comfortable with something, someone wants to go ahead and change it? Now I'm not opposed to change or making things better, but every so often I get the feeling that in the wine business, like so many other businesses, people aren't content with the same ole same ole.
Like I said, I embrace new technology and new ideas in both wine and many other areas, but it seems of late that I'm seeing more and more articles, advertisements and the like for the next new and greatest wine region, grape varietals etc. A while back it was the Finger Lakes in New York (so far I'm about 50/50 on that one) then there's Umpqua Valley (haven't heard of it? You will.) in the Southern region of Oregon. Sicily isn't exactly new, but the region around Mount Etna is starting to draw closer attention (watch for next Mondays Wine of the Week). Even Michigan is starting to get a few nods along with the Czech Republic and some more obscure regions in countries such as Spain, Australia and even in little tiny New Zealand.
Again, I'm not saying we shouldn't explore, I love to find new and exciting wines, but it seems like when one of these new areas emerges, it's like a runaway train, you can't stop the locomotive from advancing and seemingly take everything and everyone along with it. The last really big push I remember is the Finger Lakes region in New York. When it started it seemed as though everyone and their cousin started talking about it. Interestingly, the reviewers who were, shall we say, pushing the region, didn't give the wines that great of scores to begin with. While not rolling as fast, the Umpqua Valley in Oregon is getting a whole lot of play of late. Haven't had any wines from there yet, but I'm sure I will see more of them very soon.
What brings me to this whole issue at hand is I have to wonder what is really at the center of these movements. Having been on this Earth for a while, and being a little sarcastic (really?), I have a tendency to believe it is (if you haven't guessed it already) MONEY! Another, less sinister, reason would be that they want to be out front with regards to new regions or are not content with the tried and true.
I don't want to be too critical or slur(acious) (that's a new word I just thought up) but I hope that this isn't strictly about people writing about this or that because they've been given something to promote the area. Although some might just consider that marketing or salesmanship. I like to believe that if wine being made in a particular region of the world is drinkworthy it will catch on. Think Australia and Chili of recent times. Direct to consumer marketing seemed to be the way these regions caught on. Cute critters on the bottle and wines being sold at very reasonable prices.
Again, maybe it's just the people in the wine biz looking to gain some sort of hold on new and more business by telling people about this wine or that from seemingly exotic, but far less known, regions around the world. I guess I just question, why they seem to come together almost at the same time.
So there you have it. Me on my soapbox and bending your ear for a moment or two. Thanks for reading this and