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Are you an Agrarian or an Opulent?

I have been giving a lot of thought lately to a very simple premise related to people’s fascination with wine.

I believe that most people that crossover from being drinkers of wine to having general wine enthusiasm just before turning into a full-on wine elitist go through a sub-conscious process akin to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. 

In this process, you realize that there is something about wine that transcends what is merely in the glass.  It is the whole shooting match that goes with wine, particularly an orientation to lifestyle.  Like the hierarchy of needs, we eventually actualize and project our self-image outward and into wine as a vehicle for how we see ourselves.

So, here is what I have been thinking about: Do we think that wine and its associated lifestyle is more appealing from an agricultural perspective, or from a luxury perspective?

Oh, there is a huge difference. 

Do wine enthusiasts fantasize more about a winery as a cultured farm, or living the high life as a gracious ambassador to customers?

The difference is really the image of Dover Canyon versus, say, Ferrari Carano.

I know which way I lean, and it is not related to Fumé Blanc.

Maybe my preference for the rural activities is related simply to my own background.  I am only a generation removed from the farm.

Perhaps others who had a different upbringing are more predisposed to the bon vivant lifestyle associated in pockets of the industry.

What do you think?  And, more importantly, are you an Agrarian or an Opulent?

On a separate, but related note, please check out a beautiful post from Mark at  He is a fellow Hoosier wine blogger and has written an elegy to rural Indiana that everybody can appreciate.

The gist of it is, our version of agrarian, not wine-related, but instead a maple sugar farm, had a tragic fire in the last week. 

You can read his post here and see associated pictures here.


Posted in, Good Grape Daily: Pomace & Lees. Permalink | Comments (5) |


On 02/26, Stu wrote:

Jeff, what about those people such as myself who fall in between.  I live in New York City, so I am defenitly removed from the rural aspect.  However, I have a great respect for the art of agriculture, particular wine production.  That is half the enjoyment for me.  The other half is the luxury end, but more specifically, the history of some of these great estates.

On 02/27, Jeff wrote:


Thanks for reading!

You bring up a good point.  I’m mostly a New World drinker with a high level of appreciation for a sense of place, so in that sense, I have less context and understanding for Int’l producers and the great estates—i.e. Bordeaux.

Perhaps, that colors my perspective.

Maybe there is another category in there between Agrarian and Opulent, call it “Euro-Appreciation”—something that stradles the line.


On 02/27, Drink, Memory wrote:

Hmm, I think that I am also a straddler. I live in Brooklyn and don’t plan on moving to the country any time soon, but I have a deep appreciation for agriculture, especially wine making.I do often dream of owning a vineyard in the Hudson River Valley, but this may very well be a yuppie-fied self indulgent fantasy.

On 02/28, Robert McIntosh wrote:

I’m definitely an agrarian. One of the reasons I work in the wine business is that however much WE are removed from the field, very few of them are. There are plenty of big wine businesses, but even so the vast majority of those working in making wine will have a close relationship with the field.

It makes them more ‘grounded’ (forgive the pun) and makes them genuine (if not all easy to get on with).

It is this connection that makes it a rewarding business to work in, and to support through my own purchases.

I would never buy a wine JUST for the cachet

On 02/28, Drink, Memory wrote:

I would like to change my answer. I am also an agrarian, now that I have given it more thought.

I wouldn’t buy a wine for the cachet…but I would buy a wine to help a small producer, even if it’s not great.


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