Friday, February 11, 2011

Thanks Robert Parker

Many of us have heard the news that Robert Parker is no longer going to be reviewing California wines.  As a person that makes a goog portion of his living working with California wineries, I want to thank Mr. Parker for his incredible support.  I am not sure that there is any single person that brought greater recognition to such a broad array of California wines as Mr. Parker.

That being said, Mr. Parker is just one man with a particular pallete.  There are many serious wine drinkers that disagree with his taste and the particular styles of wine that he lauded high scores upon.  However, no other critic or publication came close to his sway over the high end wine buyer.

Without a doubt, many wineries created wines specifically for these scores.  This is neither Mr. Paker's fault nor do I blame the wineries.  For both Mr. Parker and the wineries that got the high scores, this made economic sense.  While a vast wave of consumers enjoyed the styles of wine that Mr. Parker lauded, many wines did not fit this style and some consumers palletes did not match with his.

With the changing of the guard at e bob, it is a great opportunity for wineries, other critics and wine drinkers.  It is an opportunity for wineries to step back from having to create wines for Mr. Parker and to create wines that may be more appropriate for the vineyards and the type of grapes that grow there. It is an opportunity for critics to revise their expectations and to allow for this variation.  Finally, it is a chance for wine drinkers to seek out critics that have a similar pallete to their own and to rely upon good local wine shops, online retailers and their favorits wineries to source these types of wines.

Thank you Mr. Parker for doing so much for California wine, for your love of wine in general and for brining so many great wines to the attention of the world.  We will miss you, but change is good, and I look forward to the industry's and the consumers' next phase.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mediation in the Wine Business

I really want to echo the sentimenets of a recent Wines & Vines article. The winery and vineyard industry has undergone some dramatic changes in the past few years.  With the demand for grapes and bulk wine dropping, there have been a handful of winery failures and a lot of reductions in volume.  This has invetiably lead to some disputes.

As a lawyer, I often counsel my client's to try and resolve their claims as quickly as possible.  If you have not taken part in litigation, it is often eye opening as to both the sheer cost and the time that it takes.  While it is often the only sure way to get a resolution, it is generally not a productive use of time and money.

If you find yourself with a handful of disputes with your suppliers or customers, try and resolve these matters before they wind up in litigation.  If you can't, try and get them into a mediation as soon as you can.