Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Three-Tier System, Part 2

So I bring up this subject because I am a small player in this game and I have recently been reminded of how little I matter to the big players.  Large distributors cater to large retailers and to chain stores and restaurants.  That's their bread and butter and it's easy money once you're in.  If you are small you are sort of irrelevant and perhaps a party to be humored by the real players.  I think I understand the game. 

The smaller distributors share their stature with small producers and small retailers and restaurants.  They have been locked out of the chain stores and chain restaurants.  So it makes sense that smaller players do business with each other. In my case, being a retailer who hand-sells, I can sell wines that many venues cannot because the product is put on the shelf in the large stores with no one to recommend it.  I must admit, some large distributors know my talents and long history and deal with me fairly.  Others don't.  C'est la vie.

There is an errant assumption at work for many wine consumers though, and that is that the large brand names that are prominantly placed in chain stores and big box stores are better than small unknown brands.  I understand the psychology.  It is better to hedge your bets and play it safe and get the mass marketed product because they wouldn't have gotten to where they are if they don't make good wine. 


But...if the whole truth be known, it's the smaller producers who remain true to the idea of what wine should be and that is that it should reflect its origins.  Mass marketed wine reflects a poll-tested idea of what a given wine should taste like.  It is safe.  It won't offend anyone.  You don't have to think about it. 

Small players want you to think about it, to experience it, to get that the stuff has origins and what you are tasting is the historic product from that place.

Please join us at the store Friday September 27th between 5 and 7pm for our regular weekly tasting. 

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