The Haves vs. Have Nots

The Haves vs. The Have Nots:  Premium vs. Mass Produced Wines. Do you ever wonder what makes a “Premium” wine premium? Or what makes a mass-produced wine consistent in quality?

In the world of wine, there are the “Have’s” and the “Have Nots”.  Numerous wine experts and organizations rate wines using a point system.  Does this mean a wine with less than a 90 point rating is not good and that you should not purchase it, or even like it?  Of course not!  Ratings are based on each specific varietal or blend’s purest characteristics based on a number of criteria from aroma, flavor, balance, age, vintage and stylistic choices by the vintner.  Price should also not be used as a basis for your decision on which wines you do or do not like.  There are some great wines for well under $10!

What DOMSOM wants to emphasize is that there are differences in all aspects of a wine’s lifecycle, not that they dictate whether a wine is deemed good or not or whether you should like a wine or not.  Ultimately, they impact what goes into the bottle.  Let’s compare two different experiences we’re calling the “Have’s” of wine with the “Have Nots”:

The “Have’s”The “Have Nots”
  • Likely higher end or premium wines
  • Steep Slopes / Ideal Sun Exposure
  • Porous / Well-drained Soil
  • Old Vines / Lower Yields
  • Hand Farmed & Harvested
  • Single Vineyard or Appellation
  • Vintage dictates flavor profile
  • Likely Mass-Produced wines
  • Flat valley floor
  • Fertile soil / Irrigation
  • High Yields
  • Machine Farmed & Harvested
  • Blends / Multiple vineyards / growers
  • Alterations – Sugar / Acid
  • Consistent flavor profile dictated by “Brand”

What does this mean to you?  That depends on what you want from a wine!  Navigating a wine store or a wine list can be a huge challenge!  The “Have’s” make it even more difficult as many of the influences going into the final wine are outside the control of the winemaker, or vintner.  Grapes grown on the exact same vines, processed in exactly the same way by the same vintner can result in tremendously different wine!  How on earth?  We’ll get into that shortly!  Many great brands and even specific wines manage these influences in the wine making process resulting in near identical wines year after year after year.  Through this course you will gain an understanding on how this goal can be achieved as well.