Wine fairs have always fascinated me. I totally get it from the buyer perspective. You have hundreds if not thousands of wineries to see all at once, you take copious notes, and you figure out how you can construct your offering within the realm of what the distributors are offering.

This is what is going to happen today with the Portfolio tasting I will be showing the Anuva Wines at in New York. Our distributor will have about 2800 (yes two thousand eight hundred) other wines to show at the same time. This led me to ask the question “how many wines are available in the USA?” The usual figure that I hear is about 70,000. And this makes sense on an intuitive level because of the number of wineries out there and the number of private labels as well.

But how are people supposed to decide between hundreds of different brands of a single kind of a singel varietal from a single region. This is where I think winemakers are making mistakes. Too often people follow the California model of putting varietal on the label. While varietal does tell the customer what they are getting, it also puts the product in direct competition with any other product that has the same varietal.

Today, under one single distributor, hundreds of industry professionals in one of the most competitive wine markets in the world will try to pick out what is best from 3000 (three thousand) different products. How do they do it? Well most of them already have an advantage over the consumer: they already spend most of their time worrying about and thinking about wine! They taste wine every day and they make a living picking good ones. They also will come with an idea of what they want to find. They know that on their list, they are missing a high end Malbec or a Sparkling so they will taste those first, then see what else is new.

How should the consumer decide? More on that next time.