Category Archives: Musings

The Wine Grouch is Back….

By Michael Eigen

New year, same ideas?

As the earth finishes its annual trip around the sun, it makes everyone crazy with reflection and introspection. In the wine business we tend to look only at how much wine we sold last year as opposed to this year, and how much more wine we can sell this coming year. Yeah, pretty single-minded folk, we wine sellers. That’s because Continue reading

Summer Q&A

Here are some answers to questions that we get asked a lot. I’ve also included some statements that people make that they really should phrase differently. These are also answers to questions that should be asked before making bold pronouncements.

Q: Is this wine dry?

A: Yes. With very few exceptions all wines sold in wine stores are dry. What does that mean? It means that all Continue reading

Have you ever sat next to this guy at a dinner party?

By Michael Eigen

I wish I can take credit for the term I’m about to write about but I can’t. I had lunch with an old friend and a new friend the other day and the new friend was conveying the story of a dinner party she attended. Her sister and her “oenophile” husband were there as well. The husband was quite anxious to share his love and “knowledge” of wine with the rest of the table. He proceeded to Continue reading

“Natural” Disaster

By Michael Eigen

I’m going to dip my toe into the natural wine discussion. I will say off the bat that I’m not a fan. I will also say that I’m not being a hater. Which of course brings me to my usual way of doing things: the long and difficult way. It will include some profound philosophical questions, some glib comments, and maybe some hipster-bashing.

First we have to start with a definition: what is “natural wine”? Continue reading

The shocking Vodka Expose you’ve been waiting for

By Michael Eigen

So I’ve been selling wine and spirits for a while now and I have observed many things about human behaviors. Nothing has interested me more than the brand loyalty that people show towards their vodkas. No other category has such a fiercely devoted following. I can get people to try almost any wine that is similar to what they like. I can introduce them to a new bourbon or scotch with generally happy results, but nine out of ten times there is no way Continue reading

What NOT to ask in a wine store

By Michael Eigen

I think the most frequently asked question I get asked in the wine store is this: Which of these two wines is better?

It’s not a good question at all, but I sort of get the logic to it. “Which is the better one? Is it worth the money?” These kinds of things border on the philosophical. They also border on the insane. Honestly, how can you create this type of qualitative equivalence? It goes back to a broader issue, and understanding this one issue can help you become a better drinker of wine. Continue reading

The Real Deal With Wine Ratings

There are many things that are interesting to me from the retail side of the wine business. Some of you know some of the things that I obsess over such as brand loyalty and vodka. There is another “wine thing” that I am continually amazed at and this is the phenomenon of “rating” a wine, especially the American 100 point system. Continue reading