A WINEMAKER WROTE last week, asking me to refrain from speculating about what his company might or might not do in the future. . . .
That got me thinking. . . .
Isn't a lot of what's thought, said and written about wine based on speculation? Even the most basic assumptions? . . . .
We hear it all the time from winemakers. . . .
"Our vineyard manager thinks this will be a great place to grow Viognier because of the soil, exposure and cool marine influence". . . .
"WE'LL USE DIFFERENT rootstocks and grape clones to ensure complexity in our wines". . . .
"Phylloxera won't be a factor". . . .
"French oak is expensive, but it's a better match with Zinfandel than American oak". . . .
"It looks like we'll have a huge crop". . . .
"If the weather holds, we'll pick in a few days". . . .
"Rain's in the forecastwe'd better pick tomorrow". . . .
"THIS RAIN WON'T do much damage" . . . .
"The grapes are perfectly ripebring 'em in". . . .
"Red Mountain has a nice ring to itand the label's really cool". . . .
"We'll start out smallwith just a few hundred cases and a mailing list". . . .
"We'll grow slowly, so we don't lose control of quality". . . .
"We'll never make more than 2,000 cases". . . .
"I'LL ALWAYS BE in charge of the wines". . . .
Of course, wine critics engage in speculation, tooit's part of the job description. . . .
"It should be a great vintage". . . .
"These wines will drink well for the next six to 10 years". . . .
"PRICES CAN'T GO much higher". . . .
"Now's a good time to stock your cellar". . . .
"There's no better time to sell". . . .
"There's no reason to think these wines won't age well" . . . .
"It was a better year in Russian River than Carneros". . . .
"California wines don't age". . . .
"Zinfandel's gone forever". . . .
"The 1989 Bordeaux reds are overrated". . . .
"The 1990 Bordeaux reds are underrated" . . . .
"SANGIOVESE WILL BE the next hot wine". . . .
"Oregon's climate is just like Burgundy's". . . .
"Burgundy is the only place you can make great Pinot Noir". . . .
"Cabernet won't ripen in Mendocino". . . .
"Long Island is perfect for Merlot". . . .
SPECULATION MAY DRIVE some winemakers zany, but without it wine would be a much less stimulating subject. . . .
Were critics and our speculations suddenly to vanish, it wouldn't be long before winemakers would miss the conjectureand the criticsmore than they'd expect. . . .
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions