Bor­ing Wines

Life’s too short to drink dull, un­ex­cit­ing wines

Oi Vietnam - - Cheers! -

I KNOW THE TI­TLE IS likely to be con­tro­ver­sial and up­set some, if not many, but I am sim­ply tired of see­ing so much bor­ing wine! And what do I mean when I say “bor­ing wine”? Well, all the many wines, which are al­most­fac­tory pro­duced in mass quan­ti­ties, that have no per­son­al­ity, no in­ter­est (apart from the pur­pose of hav­ing a sim­ple drink or get­ting drunk), are noth­ing spe­cial or, in other words, un­ex­cit­ing and bor­ing.

If you walk into most of the wine shops in Viet­nam, or if you have a look at the wine list of many ho­tels and restau­rants in Viet­nam, most if not all of the wines listed would qual­ify as bor­ing, ac­cord­ing to me of course, and there is a very strong rea­son for it, ac­tu­ally a few.

It all starts with the winer­ies (which should be called fac­to­ries, as that is what they are); most of them used to pro­duce de­cent qual­ity wines, but at some point, and due to its pop­u­lar­ity, ei­ther had to mul­ti­ply their pro­duc­tion and/or they were bought by a mon­ster com­pany like Pernod Ri­card or LVMH, and the fac­tor­iza­tion of wine started in or­der to pro­duce cheap drink­able wine, which is not sold that cheaply be­cause a lot of money is ded­i­cated to pub­lic­ity.

There lies the sec­ond prob­lem: these ‘winer­ies’ be­come very at­trac­tive to im­porters be­cause they give them a lot of marketing money. This bud­get is then trans­ferred to the ho­tels and restau­rants, hence we wine lovers have to suf­fer bor­ing wines while pay­ing full price, and this is sad.

It is ac­tu­ally very sad be­cause there are thou­sands of bou­tique winer­ies out there pro­duc­ing in­ex­pen­sive but amaz­ing wines, which for var­i­ous rea­sons, in­clud­ing not be­ing able to af­ford marketing money, they never reach Viet­nam or most of the wine lists in ho­tels and restau­rants.

The third prob­lem is that many of the hos­pi­tal­ity pro­fes­sion­als in town don’t know much about wine and/or they give pri­or­ity to hav­ing a few free bot­tles of crap wine than to hav­ing a prod­uct of which they can be proud of and that their cus­tomers will love, this de­ci­sion is au­to­mat­i­cally linked to their sales of wine (and food): many wine lovers will not go very of­ten to a restau­rant whose list is full of com­mer­cial bor­ing brands, why should we when for the same price we can en­joy a bot­tle of good wine.

I of­ten get em­ployed to de­sign wine lists for restau­rants, and some­times I am close to scream­ing about the wines that were cho­sen be­fore, some­times be­cause the dis­trib­u­tor of­fered a free fridge, or spon­sored a party or… which al­ways ends in the cus­tomer pay­ing for it in­di­rectly.

Luck­ily some food and bev­er­age pro­fes­sion­als know what they are do­ing when build­ing their wine lists, just to quote a few have a look at Skew­ers, Lubu, Corto, Ole, HCMC Cafe or Mach House. Isn’t it about time that we, wine drinkers and hos­pi­tal­ity pro­fes­sion­als, say no to bor­ing wines?

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