It’s like we are sure exactly what we really want. We walk into the shop, especially the big ones, psyked. ‘I want wine and will decide which one when I get there, not a biggie’. When you get to the wine section, it gradually begins to dawn on you, the confusion, anxiety to make a decision quick…in and out like most men do with whisky or gin. Many unknowns habitate these vast shelves and you end up looking around you, desperately timing the nearest attendant to guide you through the stock of wines. Men suffer the most here.
Many bottles placed together confuse me!
You see, wine is bottled in a dizzying assortment of differently sized vessels. Not only does each hold a different volume of wine (750ML, 700ML etc.),but they also have varied names derived from stories, legend tales, historical figures and much more. In literal sense there is a bottle for every occasion and it helps to spend some more time in the wine section just to absorb all what’s in front of you.
There’s even a cheat sheet for all beginners to cover basic housekeeping rules – something you won’t often find in beers or spirits; it always gets deeper with wine.
The numbers reveal that about 31.4 billion bottles are bought and sold worldwide every year (Market Watch), the equivalent of 36 billion bottles of wine produced worldwide each year (FAO). This certainly does not tell us how exact types of bottles are in actual existence but gives a clear picture of the sheer volume of wine that makes wine consumers go crazy when they go select wine at the store.
From a winery’s perspective, this phenomenon somewhat makes sense. They create more brands hoping customer will buy them — supply and demand. Just like any other business, they look at what we are buying from a data standpoint and try to make more brands similar to those we already like. Larger wineries create multiple brands in bulk in an attempt to make money from both the high quality grapes and those of inferior quality. The end result is a flood of wine that we’re uncertain about, but we buy because it’s on display or because it looks like something we know or it simply has a good rating on Vivino app.
The Broader Picture
Maybe we can try broaden our wine horizons and just stop getting confused every time we stare at the store shelf. Like taking the bull by its horns, we can voluntarily take a quick trip around the world with guide books and cheat sheets. We can also attend some wine tastings available in your county, connect with sommeliers around town or simply follow industry leaders such as Wine Life Kenya, The Wine Story, WineNjiru Ltd., Domaine Kenya, The Wine Box, Galina Kenya, The Wine shop Kenya… (the list goes on); you will be surprised of the wine knowledge you can learn from these guys.
A little goes a long way with wine education in your journey of becoming less ‘Wine confused’!
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