Monday, September 25, 2017
The Wine Advocate sake story, one year later
I discovered that this company, The Taste of Sake, had connections to RobertParker.co.jp, and to the former employer of Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the Wine Advocate's Editor-in-Chief. Here are the two original posts: the first one and the followup.
After my first post, Ms. Perrotti-Brown wrote, "We are investigating the facts behind these allegations ... What we need to establish is if that company had access to any of the sake notes or scores prior to publication, which is a situation we take the utmost measures to avoid. Even the suggestion that this could have happened is a matter we take very seriously."
A year has passed. I have been asked by many people if I have any more facts on the investigation. I do not. The Taste of Sake site was taken down and is not up today.
I wanted to know if The Wine Advocate has progressed with its own investigation, so last week I attempted to contact Ms. Perrotti-Brown. I do not have a direct email or phone number for her, so once again I tried to send an email through the company contact page. That email has received no response other than from a web administrator acknowledging receipt. Ms. Perrotti-Brown answered no questions about the story last year, and to my knowledge has answered no questions about it for any publication, ever.
Monday, September 18, 2017
Napa Cabernet, Yellow Tail and the anchoring effect
I'm reading the fascinating book "Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, which explains, among other things, how our intuition affects our judgment in ways we don't consciously realize.
The anchoring effect is well-established through repeated studies around the world. You will protest that it does not affect you: so did many of the subjects to whom it was proven that it did affect them.
What it means is that if you are shown a number, even a completely random one, and then asked to estimate another number, you will be strongly affected by the number you were shown.
Before I get to an obvious wine-price corollary, here's a fascinating study of German judges that demonstrates the idea. "German judges with an average of more than 15 years experience on the bench were asked to read a description of a woman who had been caught shoplifting, and then asked to roll dice that were loaded so that every roll resulted in either 3 or 9," Kahneman writes.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
China wine market update: Cheaper wines taking over
It has also changed immensely in a short time, mainly because of who is buying wine now: 45% of Chinese wine drinkers are under 30 years old. Sales of expensive wines continue to slide, while unlike in the U.S., the greatest sales growth is in the cheapest price ranges.
I learned this and more because I had the good fortune to attend a seminar put on for Wines of Argentina by two Chinese wine experts: Dorian Tang of the importer ASC Fine Wines, and Karla Wang of Lady Penguin, a successful social-media wine site, wine club and wine importer.
|Karla Wang (left) and Dorian Tang|
Here are a few key points from the presentation.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Tiki pioneer Trader Vic's still makes a fine Mai Tai
However, Trader Vic's is big in the Middle East. Of its 18 locations internationally, 11 are in the Middle East, including several in countries where drinking alcohol is, in theory, prohibited. You might think this is a hurdle for a restaurant chain that made its name with powerful rum-based cocktails, but in fact, that's the appeal.
Trader Vic's has 6 locations in hotels in the United Arab Emirates, where alcohol is allowed only in hotels. It also has restaurants in Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, where drinking is limited in similar ways; locals can go get their buzz on, and then return to piety. There is a Trader Vic's in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but it serves only alcohol-free "mocktails."
"When we started the concept, in the (19)40s and '50s, you couldn't get to places like you can now," Trader Vic's director of beverages Nicholas Ascenzo told me. "People came to Trader Vic's for something exotic. Now you can fly to Polynesia. But in the Middle East, they don't go to Hawaii and the South Pacific, so we are still exotic."