Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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A wine competition for the people.
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Anyone familiar with wine knows that finding a great wine can be hard, especially if you are inclined that that wine also be a good value. I could enter into a polemic about the artifice surrounding the promotion of wine in the form of contests and reviews but it would be digressive. Instead let me propose one way of promoting the wines of a region that is honest and effective. May wine producing regions have festivals for the purpose of celebrating and promoting the local product, frequently this includes judging of wines by professional and amateur panels. A positive judging elevates the price of a wine substantially which frequently moves undiscovered great wines out of the budget range of many consumers. Inspired by the Scandinavian tradition of VolksRacing, I propose VolksWine, the peoples choice.

( A volks-racing event is one where all the cars are made available for sale at a fixed price at the end of the event. This keeps the cars at near parity and keeps money out of the sport, no tech inspections or build rules are required and competition is lively and amateur. Nobody can make a fuss and anyone can enter. )

VolksWine contestants submit samples of wine to be judged for sale in a fixed price category. The wines submitted must be of a fixed quantity and batched together in a tank. Although the wine lot does not have to be limited to the quantity entered in the contest, the quantity need be substantial and determined by the size of the festival/judging. Lets say 225 cases or 10 barrels. The samples are of wine in condition to be bottled (finished) but still in tank. The judges then select the best lot of wine from all the submissions in the category. For instance one category might be Chardonnay@20$ or Red Wine Blend @ 15$. This lot is declared the VolkWine and bottled by the festival under the label of the festival.

Why would this be great?:

1) Wines are judged blind, any wine should be able to win the contest.

2) The winning wine is captured for the consumer at a reasonable fixed price.

3) The winery gets the prestige of winning a contest with some real heft and merit.

4) The festival is motivated to get the best possible wine, take a bribe to choose a dog and you are stuck trying to sell it.

5) The costs of bottling and selling the wine are lifted off the winery. The ability to sell a great wine in bulk, without suffering a huge penalty in value is huge to wineries.

6) The consumer gets to buy a wine or exceptional merit for a fixed reasonable price.

7) As the wines selected as VolksWine gain reputation the region they represent also gains respect and prestige. Great wines and wineries are discovered on the level playing field. Since there is no limit on the pricing a prestigious area might include categories for wines at $50 and $100 if they could sell them.

8) Wine festivals would now have an unbiased way of raising money that helped to keep them honest.

WcW, Nov 06 2009




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