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Think you know wine? Think Again.

Oct 04, 2012 03:11PM

wine glass

Think you know wine?  Think Again.

By Martin Cody

Yes, you can spot wine and you may know the concept of wine, but you don’t know wine. I’m reminded of the difference between “listening” to Jimmy and “hearing” Jimmy as made famous in the 1992 classic (maybe “classic” is a bit strong) White Men Can’t Jump starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. So you may drink mass produced wine, but you don’t know wine. And let’s be clear, I’m talking about the wine you see lining the shelves of every grocery store, super-center or big-box outlet store. Those wines with the “tail” or the “Chuck”, the cute sandals or a “Leaf” or the charming kangaroo image on the label? The wines that are often bathing in direct sunlight as “end caps” on the beer aisles. Those wines taste identical every year, just like the genetically engineered apples, oranges, bananas and vegetables also filling the shelves of all these same locations.


There’s a reason why great chefs and the rest of us flock to farmer’s markets: quality and taste. When you inhale the aroma of fresh fruits or vegetables at a farmer’s market, fruits and vegetables which were probably in the ground or on the vine 24 hours prior, you know the difference of which I’m speaking. The same is true with wine and when you get close to wine and those making it you can know it. The problem is too often consumers are intimidated by wine. I’m here to tell you point blank—don’t be.


At a farmer’s market you actually meet the people growing the food. You get to talk with them, slow down, taste, learn and above all, share. They’ll tell you about the growing season or share their thoughts on the date of optimal ripeness. The farmers will also share great ideas on how to prepare the item or what to pair it with. They’re genuinely interested in your enjoyment of what you’re purchasing.


We thought this would be a great thing to do with wine so we founded Cellar Angels. We want you to know and love wine as much as we do. We want you to skip the lines and the hassle of the store, which is why the wine is delivered to your door. We want you to talk with and learn right from the winemaker which is why they’re available to answer questions. Cellar Angels is a virtual farmer’s market for wine lovers.  It’s a place where you can learn about the incredible giving of Josh Stein, this week’s featured winemaker and how he’s helping the children of the grape growers receive a quality education. (Challenge alert: If you can find a better unoaked Chardonnay than Josh’s at this price I’ll buy it for you). How cool would it be to speak with Jason Moore, founder of Modus Operandi, as you watch his video (we film a custom video of each winery or offer so you can meet the folks behind the wine) and learn about his style of winemaking? We think it’s very cool. Did you know he puts his cell phone number on the back of every bottle? Think your kangaroo wine company does that?


You can also read about many of the wines we feature from outstanding bloggers like Joe Roberts (who was recently hired by Playboy so now you can read the articles) or Rick Bakas. And if you want to learn the best wine industry information you may follow the fantastic Tom Wark. But if you want to learn wine right from the source, Cellar Angels is the place.


Maybe you’re interested in the Central Coast and the exploding wine region there. Definitely follow Matt Brown and his wife Annie’s blog, Hoot & Annie. It contains hundreds of down to earth tidbits of information on Paso Robles, Monterey, Santa Barbara and reflects the “local” take on what to do.


Do yourself a favor and push the shopping cart past the cute bunny rabbit adorning the bottle of wine and take pride in two things as a result of being a Cellar Angel: you’ll know more about the wine you’re drinking from talking with the winemaker and you’ll actually know where it comes from. It’s always better to be in the know.


I think I hear the opening bars of Purple Haze…


*** Martin Cody is the founder  and innovator at Cellar Angels. Cellar Angels helps US wineries connect with more consumers and provides access to great wines while simultaneously raising funds for select charities. For more info go to: