September 9, 2020

I don't know how to start with the way to talk about a headline like this.

"Wine’s diversity issue starts with the way we talk about the taste of wine."

That's by Esther Mobley at the San Francisco Chronicle. She says "it’s becoming clearer than ever that the conventional language used to describe wine isn’t merely intimidating and opaque. It’s also inextricable from racism and sexism, excluding dimensions of flavor that are unfamiliar to the white, Western cultures that dominate the world of fine wine and reinforcing retrograde notions of gender."

There's a paywall after that, so you can just imagine the silly wine words that are open to race-and-gender critique.

90 comments:

Sydney said...

Jeesh. Up to now, I thought the craziest wine words I had ever seen was describing a wine as having flavors of gunpowder.

Jersey Fled said...

Racism. Is there anything that it can't do?

Paco Wové said...

Duckspeak from an outer party member (or wannabe).

Rory said...

The interesting aspect is that it's not racism or sexism at work - it's plain old snobbery. Now the upper class twits have these diversity disguises they put on, and they point at the target of the day.

rehajm said...

If Viticultural Ebonics isn't a major at UC Davis, it soon will be..

R C Belaire said...

Another industry about to be killed. If you like the taste of a certain wine, drink it. But don't try to convince someone else -- taste is very personal.

Todd said...

First. World. Problems.

If this is the type of things they are trying to "solved" then there is NOTHING to worry about. The pettiness of this type of thing shows these folks are both bereft of actual ideas and are BORED out of their minds and need to find an actual hobby.

Fernandinande said...

Hodgson continued to analyze the results of wine competitions across the state and found that the medals awarded for wine excellence "were distributed at random".
...
In a wine tasting experiment using 400 participants, Wiseman found that general members of the public were unable to distinguish expensive wines from inexpensive ones.[19] "People just could not tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine."[20]


++

I recently saw an article about detecting fake expensive wine, where people put regular wine in old bottles, or fake old-looking bottles: there was no mention of taste, just the bottles.

Jake said...

Read it here: https://web.archive.org/web/20200908215309/https://www.sfchronicle.com/wine/article/Wine-s-diversity-issue-starts-with-the-way-we-15544232.php

Mr. Forward said...

Put a cork in it.

Danno said...

Assuming the Imperial We?

Let these urban wine snobs drink Milwaukee's Best! That's a really cheap brand of beer if you didn't know.

Fernandinande said...

Newsweek congratulates itself on assisting anti-white racism in the wine biz with 23 Black-Owned Wineries Worth Supporting Right Now ...starts off with lies about the wonderfulness of St. Floyd, natch.

Kai Akker said...

Wine's diversity issue..... Dare we speak of wine's criminality issue? Its unwed-parenting issue? Its RA - cism issue??

BarrySanders20 said...

Woke words have poor mouthfeel, with hints of oak and charcoal and a rough dissatisfying finish.

Jamie said...

It's hard to make wine relevant, isn't it?

And I speak as someone who loves wine.

Browndog said...

Critical Race Theory applied.

Enjoy.

Jake said...

The real problem is that people feel the need to decide wine flavors at all.

Chris said...

White wine will now be problematic because White is bad. Soon to follow, Red wine because "Red" is offensive to Native Americans.

whitney said...

That's hilarious.
You know why alcohol products are called 'acquired taste'? It's because they all taste disgusting at first sip but you quickly 'acquire' the enjoyment of your altered state so you find a ways to 'acquire' and appreciation of the taste that speaks to the image you have of yourself

Mary Beth said...

This is how I taste wine. I'm a connoisseur!

Expat(ish) said...

What wine goes with popcorn?

-XC

Jeff Brokaw said...

Everything is “inextricable from sexism and racism” these days. Yawn.

Whatever. These people need to get another hobby.

rehajm said...

Bentley interior. New pollo mallet. Fresh cut fairway at Vidauban.

Mary Beth said...

This person shops for wine at stores that cater to pretentious snobs. She complains about the use of traditional terms, but I bet if she came across a wine seller who riffed on wine styles and tastes using common language and accessible terms, with a touch of humor thrown in, she would hate that it wasn't done with the style, elegance, and seriousness that was the norm.

Kevin said...

Subject + diversity issue = paid article.

buwaya said...

Every language has different silly wine words.

And I'm speaking of the world's principal sources of wine - France, Italy, Spain.
Granted, the Spanish descriptives are less "creative" than what one will hear in San Francisco.

If some foreigner can't penetrate the cant of connoisseurs of Rioja, well, thats their problem.

stevew said...

Well, if I am going to try to describe the taste and smell of something like wine then I will use the tastes and smells I'm familiar with rather than the ones I'm not familiar with.

mikee said...

The old joke about the psychiatrist giving his patient a Rorschach test comes to mind. After describing a dozen ink blot pagess as showing the same image of a sexy woman seducing a young man, the patient is asked what he thinks this means. The patient says, "I think you're a real sicko, doc, showing me all these porn pictures."

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web had a category called "Fox Butterfield, Is That You?" wherein funny examples of the inversion of cause and effect by public figures or reporters were highlighted.

The “Butterfield Effect” is named in honor of ace New York Times crime reporter Fox Butterfield, the intrepid analyst responsible for such brilliantly headlined stories as “More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime,” and “Number in Prison Grows Despite Crime Reduction,” not to mention the poetic 1997 header, “Crime Keeps on Falling, but Prisons Keep on Filling.

This effect as described above is now exhibited by racists of the woke sort, who see racism in everything because it is all they see. They cannot figure out why the entire world is fractally racist, down to subatomic scale, when they themselves are working so hard to eradicate such evil.

hawkeyedjb said...

This is just setting it up for the diversity industry to get its hooks into the wine business and grift a few simoleons. You'll want that BLM logo on the bottle, next to the Certified Organic/non-GMO sticker.

tcrosse said...

It's not just wine. In the Food Industry there's an entire lexicon of terms to describe tastes, and a cadre of those who know how to use it.

buwaya said...

We have oceans of cheap wine here.
And I'm talking cheaper than Two Buck Chuck.

Sadly I am reduced to only the occasional glass.

Quayle said...

Let's talk about racism embedded in how we discuss the taste of wine.

(That will help us avoid admitting who lives the NAPA Valley owners house and who is picking the grapes. We abhor the slavery of the past. We're fine with oppressing the worker in their wages. All California valleys, whether NAPA or Silicon want to pay the very least and push to get the very most for it. But by all means, let's talk about how we're improving the world by mandating certain words in our polite society.)

Temujin said...

I've always looked at the Cabernet grape with some suspicion that there...there is something very racist about that purplish round berry. I always ignored it because, well...I love a great Cabernet Sauvignon. But I have to look at the larger picture now. We cannot just stand by and watch those vicious, loathsome grapes sitting there on the vines, mocking us and whispering racist things to each other. And who knows what they're saying about our Hispanic friends as they go around picking them off the vines? Can you imagine?

This has to stop. I implore all of you. Please remove all bottles of fine Cabernet from your homes. Please send them to:

Temujin
Sarasota, Florida, USA

We accept great Chardonnays as well. Racist white grapes that they are.

tcrosse said...

Presumably there should be a wine that tastes like fried chicken and watermelon.

buwaya said...

Wine is most definitely a white people thing.

Its orgins and initiation of regular production, and its trade as a commodity, are literally prehistoric.

Both its production and trade are built in to the culture and history of the Mediterranean and near East, the classical world - of white people.

Rocketeer said...

Oh for fuck's sake. Surely a majority is getting tired of this shit?

Temujin said...

By the way, the Woke Prince of California, Gavin Newsom, owns 3 wineries in Napa. Just sayin. Not sure what I'm sayin, but I'm just sayin.

buwaya said...

The workers in the Napa valley do not come from a wine culture.
Some of their patrons do.

Despite giving Mexico its genes, language, horses cattle and pigs, Spain failed to give the Mexicans the grape, or not in a widespread popular form. One can probably blame this on a Royal decree (17th century?) banning the making of wine throughout the Americas, in order to protect Spanish exports. I consider this one of the worst injustices of Spanish rule, and the restored empire I envision will eschew such barbarous policies.

If thats what these whiners are complaining about....

Francisco D said...

You White Supremacists simply do not appreciate the wonderful floral aroma and lingering notes of fresh fruit and vomit that once finds in MadDog 2020.

Francisco D said...

You White Supremacists simply do not appreciate the wonderful floral aroma and lingering notes of fresh fruit and vomit that once finds in MadDog 2020.

buwaya said...

On the other hand, one could view the acts of the Spanish Crown as preserving aspects of native culture from yet another category of erasure by overwhelming hegemonic colonialism.

The Indios of the Americas could thus continue to make and imbibe their native liquors, their pulque and chicha, and so remain more themselves, however disgusting their tipple. To little avail, ultimately, as eventually the norteamericanos violently forced beer down their throats.

RNB said...

My former employer (large airline) had an article in their in-flight magazine patting themselves on the back for serving wines produced by Napa Valley's only black-owned premium winery. Not mentioned in the article was that the husband and wife who started and owned the winery were from Jamaica.

Mattman26 said...

I guess this is the beginning of the end for Whites-only wine fountains.

Todd said...

RNB said...

My former employer (large airline) had an article in their in-flight magazine patting themselves on the back for serving wines produced by Napa Valley's only black-owned premium winery. Not mentioned in the article was that the husband and wife who started and owned the winery were from Jamaica.

9/9/20, 8:49 AM


I heard tell that they all look alike, so as a famous Democrat once said "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

Fernandinande said...

as eventually the norteamericanos violently forced beer down their throats.

Especially Bud Light®.

Browndog said...

People need to start taking this seriously as opposed to dismissing it as a joke.

Critical Race Theory is about to govern your lives, at least sub-consciously, and everyone will wonder how we got here.

Who had "The government will paint BLACK LIVES MATTER on Pennsylvania Ave." 1 year ago?

Gad Saad
@GadSaad

Earlier today, I shared a post about wine being racist. Just found out that if white people have dogs, this is racism.


Need a list of things that are racist, and must be condemned?

Here's a list

Michael said...

In the words of the immortal Jimmy Durante, "Evvvrybody wants to get into the act."

madAsHell said...

Where da malt licker?

John henry said...

UC Davis has the world's formost wine program. Or one of them, anyway.

Back in the 90s they did a test of 20-30 people who claimed to be pretty knowledgeable about wines. ie; Wine snobs

They gave people red and white wines to taste and found that the ability to determine which was white and which was red was no better than random guessing.

The trick was that all wines were served in opaque, black, glasses so nobody could see whether it was red or white.

When I go out to dinner with someone at a fancy restaurant, and they go into the 10 minute ritual of selecting a wine, I always have trouble keeping a straight face.

I stopped drinking back in 84 but before that, I was as fine with a $2 bottle of Gallo as with a $50 bottle of Chateau Bullshit '03. Couldn't tell the difference.

John Henry

Roy Jacobsen said...

Borrowing from "The Incredibles:"

When everything is racist, nothing is.

Cato Renasci said...

wait until someone tells blacks that certain grapes have black juice - like Alicante Bouschet and Saperavi - you won't be able to buy wines from those grapes for love or money! The black glitterati will buy it all up!

Roy Jacobsen said...

I don't know how to start with the way to talk about a headline like this.

How to start? Point and laugh.

Yeah, I know we need to push back HARD against critical race theory. It's Marxist bullshit and it's tearing our society apart.

But that doesn't mean you should not also mock the ever-living shit out of it.

John henry said...

Buwaya,

Are you near Jerez? (Spanish for sherry)

I was in Rota Spain for a month in 69 and we used to go ashore and drink "Tio Pepe" wine in the various American bars outside the gate.

I remember it as being fairly good to my unsophisticated palate.

It tasted less good when I found out that the name translated to "Uncle Joe" Didn't have the same classiness.

Same way people who will get offended if I say "shit" won't bat an eye if I say "mierda" instead.

John Henry

CWJ said...

Expat(ish) wins the thread.

John henry said...

Blogger buwaya said...

One can probably blame this on a Royal decree (17th century?) banning the making of wine throughout the Americas

Yet Argentina and Chile are both known for their high quality wines.

there is a winery here in Puerto Rico. It imports frozen wine concentrate from Argentina in 55gallon drums, mixes it with water, adds some grain alcohol to get the alcohol content right and bottles it.

They sell tons of the stuff as FINE ARGENTINE WINE

(And in very small print "Bottled from concentrate in Puerto Rico)

In 2001 I had been asked to write an article for one of the wine producer trade magazines. I had dinner with the editor in Las Vegas and learned more than I ever needed about the wine business. Especially the production/bottling side.

Then he sent me 2-3 years worth of the magazine so I could learn the style. Very interesting. The barrel business alone is fascinating.

John Henry

tommyesq said...

In fairness, the "conventional language used to describe wine" arose in Europe back in the days when travel to exotic lands was lengthy and dangerous (think sailing ships, for example) and much of the non-European world had either not been discovered by Europeans or had been visited, colonized, whatever, by very few Europeans. The people who developed the language of wine had no access to the flavors the author deems to be improperly excluded - it was not racism that led to their exclusion.

I have no idea what the author might have meant by "reinforcing retrograde notions of gender."

Sam L. said...

I am, like TOTALLY, not caring about this.

Bill R said...

Here's a wine review selected at random...

"This full-boded red offers aromas evoking blue flower, baked plum and pipe tobacco. The firm but polished palate shows concentration and structure, featuring dried cherry, steeped prune and licorice set against fine-grained tannins"

Basically word salad, right?

Here's some critical race theory selected at random...

"critical race scholars join feminists and queer theorists in the project of unearthing the social, cultural, and legal constructions of identities. They study the inflection of racial identities by gender, call mistaken the assumption that race and gender can simply be analogized, expose the social receptiveness to negative images of Black women, and identify the failures of liberal law reform to address the complex features of oppressions..."

More word salad.

But merging the two genres. That's genius. Genius I tell you!

Joe Smith said...

I know more than a bit about the wine business, especially from the grower side of things.

I've seen the industry evolve (not for the better) over the past fifty-plus years.

The old days of the family farmer/winemaker are almost entirely gone. There are still a few places that do it the right way but they are getting harder to find.

Instead of mom and pop and the family growing grapes and making wine, it's Google engineer #28 who doesn't give a damn if he makes money or not.

Small farmers and winemakers can't survive this influx of huge dollars.

Just as well...I remember it in my mind.

Frank said...

What sad stuff. Unhappy angry people talking pure gibberish into an echo chamber. Why anyone gives this nonsense any credibility defies understanding. When EVERYTHING is racism, nothing is racism.

Skeptical Voter said...

I guess white wine is just too white. This lady should get a little jar of squid ink. A couple of drops in a glass of white wine and she will have fixed her problem. Of course she could drink a glass of Pinot Noir and self identify as a Sioux indian.

buwaya said...

"Are you near Jerez?"

No, in the Basque country, Bilbao.
Our next-door wine region is La Rioja. Tons of it here.

Granted, I am a sucker for a proper sherry - a dry Solera from Jerez say.
That stuff has very little in common with a supermarket sherry.

Tio Pepe was a mass market but decent quality brand intended mainly for export.

mikee said...

John Henry: In central Texas there is a thriving wine industry, conducted almost exclusively for tourism. Wine tours from winery to winery abound. Almost every winery has a few acres of vines fronting the highway. And almost every winery makes its wine from tanks of grape juice or trucks of grapes shipped in from California. Some of it tastes pretty good, even if "Made in Texas," as the techniques and machinery for industrial scale wine making are now pretty standardized.

The tourists sip their wine, eat their cheese & crackers, get back on the tour bus and are all drunk before noon. Sounds like fun.

buwaya said...

The Spanish concept of "classy" is weirdly proletarian.

Not a lot of being stuck up.
The culture is ... how can I put it? Personally reserved but earthy?

People used to fight (to the extent of an extensive market for specialized lawyers) over hidalguia, about like patents of nobility. And then the hidalgos would hang out with bullfighters.

DEEBEE said...

Seems like CRT is definitely a hammer and everything to its proponents seems like a nail. Wondering what is the sickle.

Kevin said...

We have reached a new level of whine supremacy.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"Wine's diversity issue..."

The WINE has a diversity issue? Not the people discussing the wine? Mix the wine with beer; diversity issue solved.

"...excluding dimensions of flavor that are unfamiliar to the white, Western cultures that dominate the world of fine wine...."

Communication in our group will be improved if we toss out the words we are familiar with and use new words that few in the group understand.

Jupiter said...

"The real problem is that people feel the need to decide wine flavors at all."

Yeah, kind of like climate science. Once you decide that you need to know something that it is not possible to know, you are in the hands of the charlatans.

Michael K said...

I stopped drinking back in 84 but before that, I was as fine with a $2 bottle of Gallo as with a $50 bottle of Chateau Bullshit '03. Couldn't tell the difference.

Back many years ago, Gallo made a wine that it called "Hearty Burgundy." It was so good, it was all I drank. A lot of people agreed with me and they stopped making it. It was cutting into more expensive varietals.

n.n said...

"Full-body" obviously applies to the female sex and feminine gender. "Dry" obviously applies to the male sex and masculine gender, especially when he is "mansplaining". "Fruity" obviously applies to the transgender spectrum, the Rainbow, exclusive of black, brown, and basking in gay indulge of the shredded remains of white. "Flat" obviously refers to a Fetal-American after she is Planned: reduced, reused, recycled.

traditionalguy said...

Cherchez la vino.

Rick.T. said...

"They gave people red and white wines to taste and found that the ability to determine which was white and which was red was no better than random guessing."
----------------
I've read similar stories. I can't get past people familiar with wine not recognizing that the red wines generally have much higher levels of tannins as opposed to little to none in white wines. It's a very distinctive taste as well as being astringent.

Rick.T. said...

"Bentley interior. New pollo mallet. Fresh cut fairway at Vidauban."
----------------
Thread winner. I am so stealing this concept.

Todd said...

Bill R said...

More word salad.

But merging the two genres. That's genius. Genius I tell you!
9/9/20, 10:18 AM


So what you are saying is:

"These full-boded critical race scholars join the red feminists and queer theorists in projects offerings of aromas evoking blue flower, baked plum and pipe tobacco involving social, cultural, and legal constructions of identities. They study the firm but polished inflection of racial identities by gender, call mistaken the assumption that the palate shows concentration and structure, set against fine-grained tannins that assume race and gender can simply be analogized while featuring dried cherry, steeped prune and licorice, working to expose the social receptiveness to negative images of Black women, and identify the failures of liberal law reform to address the complex features of oppressions..."

Fernandinande said...

When EVERYTHING is racism, nothing is racism.

The idea of racist wine-words is totally gay.

Yancey Ward said...

Again, parody is dying before our eyes.

donald said...

When you drive through wine country and you stop anywhere, the person serving you or talking to you or helping you would be destroyed knowing that all those words are racist. Seeing as how I never met one
Person who wasn’t nice, I still don’t care. You voted for it kids.

Unknown said...

Wine talk is for sure silly, but not because it is racist. Anyone is free to learn the lingo and get into it. The writer I think does not believe that minorities are capable of learning that lingo, so you decide who is the racist.

Do you think blacks can't be snobs? Try dissing Beyonce or saying Michael Jordan wasn't so hot. Anyone can be a snob. Who cares about the wine snobs? Not me. Leave em be

hstad said...


Blogger Rory said..."...The interesting aspect is that it's not racism or sexism at work - it's plain old snobbery..."

So true! But it's a lesson that all Lefty writers need to be viewed as 'cool' and with the current narrative that everything is "racists".

I believe AA said it best some weeks or months ago - "...if everything is racist, nothing is racist..." Hope I said it correctly AA?

hstad said...

It's like all Liberal Narratives of the moment - it completely misses the massive changes in wine consumption trends.

Right now, we’re seeing the United States dominate in pure consumption, with Portugal drinking more per capita. However, we’re also seeing China quickly rise up the rankings (#5), at least in terms of pure consumption.

John henry said...

One of the things I learned when writing the article was that every one of the 50 states has local wine production from locally grown grapes.

Even Alaska.

That was 2001. I have no idea if it is still true.

John Henry

John henry said...

Or Elvis, unknown. And I didn't even diss him. I only said I was not a huge fan.

To a lady in a store checkout line on Beale st in Memphis. She asked me "didn't I just love Elvis?"

I said I could take him or leave him and got berated for 5 minutes for not being a huge fan.

John Henry

StephenFearby said...


AA wrote:

"...There's a paywall after that, so you can just imagine the silly wine words that are open to race-and-gender critique.'

Since I rarely wander over to read the San Francisco Chronicle, I guess I haven't used up whatever number of free views they offer before the paywall goes up. But then I decided to see if Outlook.com works on the site.

Seems to. Their link to the full article: https://outline.com/ZbLrH7

Joe Smith said...

@StephenFearby

Re: Paywalls...Safari with private browsing works for me. Just copy/paste the URL and go. I think it is similar with other browsers...use the incognito mode, etc.

Bunkypotatohead said...

I used to have a reference book about the regions and producers of French wines. The author used the word "fecal" quite often when describing a wine's characteristics. He didn't seem to be using it in a derogatory fashion, either.
If I were to ever taste a wine that smelled of shit, I would not continue drinking it.

Gospace said...

Wine comes in 3 varieties for me.

A. I like it.
B. I don't like it.
C. It's drinkable if there isn't any good stuff around.

Yes, some have complicated tastes.And I can pick some of those tastes out in some of the wines I drink. But I really don't care about them.

They're all either good, bad, or so-so. I think the most expensive Bordeaux I've ever purchased is about $20. a bottle. I like it as much as the $6.00 Malbecs or Merlots I drink. One of these days I'm going to go out to the liquor store I buy most of my wines from and get 5 bottles of Bordeaux from $15 to $99 and invite a select few over for some wine tasting. Unless I win the lotto in the meantime, I'll leave the $500 and up wines on their shelves. The initial tasting will have to be small samples. I suspect wine is like beer in one respect. After the first 2, it doesn't matter what swill you're serving to your guests, as long as you keep serving.

Unknown said...

Why is there white wine and no black wine? Discuss.

Stephen St. Onge said...

        I see that Unwoke stole that list from Titania Mcgrath, the most woke person who ever lived. It's better to view it as she originally presented it. Important thread!

SensibleCitizen said...

We often confuse white privilege with majority privilege. The majority, since the beginning of time, create the systems, including a system of language, for a given political system (country, state, province, city, village etc).

Within political systems at the micro level, minorities of the larger system have the power to organize into a majority at the local level, and creates their own systems. Washington DC and New Orleans are examples of micro level political systems created and controlled by an ethnic minority group.

That is sociologically one reason why minority ethnicities self-segregate -- to create a local base of power so that they can create a system sympathetic to their world view.

The subset of American Blacks who descended from slavery, have self-segregated to a large degree but relinquished their power to the Democratic Party which is dominated by a white majority power structure which they push down to the grass roots.

ColoradoDude said...

Here's the problem per Esther Mobley: “[C]onventional language used to describe wine … [is] inextricable from racism and sexism....”
In describing wine herself she says she wants “to get at the most exact word to describe what I'm tasting....” She admits, though, “[W]ords like that can be so perfect that they become unhelpful....” She admits “the temptation … to err on the side of specificity.” She concludes by accepting the goal of diversifying the wine industry and “its consumer base....”

Yet the diversity imperative falls shy. Mobley seems to match other efforts to eradicate racism and sexism. That's because she (and they) cannot advance a specific pathway that assures inclusiveness.

I spent a decent chunk of my formative years outside the US. I admired their cultures. I worked hard to learn their languages. So diversity is dear to my heart, and meeting others “where they are” continues to be a life goal for me. True diversity, at its best, is never a one-way street. It takes all sides eschewing “blame games” and agreeing that universal standards are out there.