I have done my best this year to investigate a panoply of wines from a price point and geographic perspective. While there have been a few wines that are horrific the general rule I am finding is a sense of general acceptability and lack of daringness. Go for the safe offend nobody and keep sales attuned to the supermarket buyer in Europe or Canadian liquor monopolies and you’ll make a decent profit. It is as if these “flying winemakers” are not heroes but purveyors of sameness.
At year end I take a gander at my scores and most are in the 86-89 range. Drinkable wine and much of it at a reasonable price considering the Draculian governmental taxes but as savvy wine drinkers this is getting mundane.
We wine drinkers are somewhat captive to large supermarket chains or liquor monopolies making our wine choices their wine choices.
And there is not much we can do except to circumvent the monopoly and look to direct shipping from producers which is often strangled by governmental powers seeking to extract maximum tax revenues. For example, in Canada there is a federal freedom of inter-provincial shipment of liquors that in effect is up to control of provincial liquor monopiles. Contradiction? Indeed.
We are cut off here in Ontario from Liquor Control Board of Ontario decisions of what can be imported into LCBO outlets and it is blah blah blah sameness. California is safe and sure for revenue. Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Brazil, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, United Kingdom, Croatia all are risks to profit.
The huge bright light in the tunnel is British Columbia in Canada which astounds with innovation and risk but the state liquor monopolies play the game of prohibition for products that do not assure profit so hey as a resident of other than British Columbia you can private order and be welcomed into the yoke of expensive and paternalistic liquor monopoly.
The LCBO performs a huge disservice to Ontario and other Canadian wineries preferring the easy buck off California juice.
About the only exciting trend this year is the bravado and courage of British Columbia wineries that delightfully confound the taste buds. But they face the challenge of the SAQ/LCBO if they dare challenge the profit model of these liquor monopiles that don’t give a shit about consumers but always about their profit. The LCBO and SAQ are anti-Canadian wine forces.