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Vin de Napkin - eHarmony and Wine

Inspired by a comment I received from Josh at Pinotblogger in response to my review of a BioD wine (found here).  He raised the question, a very valid question, about whether I would enjoy the wine as much if I tasted it blind.  He’s right.  How much is my tasting the “vitality” in a BioD wine related to my own psychosomatic predisposition to being intrigued by BioD wines made with natural yeasts?

But, just as soon as you start to go down one path of mental resolution, you open up a $22 bottle of BR Cohn Silver Label Cab and a Trader Joe’s $5 bottle and you realize that the TJ’s wine is better.  A normal predisposition would say the more expensive wine is better.

It’s all subjective; fortunately I’m a sales and marketing guy with a liberal arts degree so I don’t have to get bound up in quantifying the science in it all.  This subjectiveness is illustrated as much by our desire to date to attractiveness (or, in my case, marry) demonstrated by eHarmony (it don’t mean a thing without the picture).  Blind tastings and personalities matches are great, but, yeah, I guess the label does matter.



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


On 05/06, Josh wrote:

Great cartoon Jeff. Totally agree, it’s what on the outside that matters! grin

As you allude to, legit studies indicate that people actually *enjoy* wine more when the price is high. I’m sure its the same with seeing BioD on the label. So no argument from me about the subjectivity of wine quality.

Where I think the issue of BioD gets tricky is from a producer’s standpoint. To me the science is extrememly important because I need to know what actually increases quality that I can measure and control, so I can do more of it. I will do almost *anything* to increase quality. But I don’t want to waste my own time or be disingenuous.

Winemakers are the intermediaries between the consumer and the vine. We’re have a duty to be good stewards and to be transparent about what we do and how we do it.

The worst thing I could do as a winemaker isn’t to use reverse osmosis or velcorin or commercial yeasts. It’s to use those techniques and then lie about them.

And to me it’s equally egregious to break that trust with the wine lover by using and marketing BioD when I don’t believe in my own heart that it even works.

To me that’s the test that matters, and the whole thing will contine to simply be a matter of opinion until we actually test.

Great discussion! The industry needs more of this.

On 05/06, Noble Pig wrote:

Great discussion..let me throw in my two sense…the natural yeast debacle…

We all know that after about a few percentages of alcohol raised we know natural yeast that is not S. cerevisiae, dies off because it cannot handle the increased alcohol levels.  The fermentation is then finished off by S. cerevisiae, once it takes hold and which is already present in the winery. 

I always think it’s a less than true claim to report “fermented with natural yeast”...when it’s the same yeast everyone else is using, but the winemaker did not purposely innoculate. 

I feel the unknowing consumer is made to believe something special was imparted into these wines that is terroir based, which could not be further from the truth. 

I guarantee tasting blind one wouldn’t be able to taste the difference in the natural yeast vs. a purposeful innoculation. 

Sorry, I just had to throw that all in since the topic of tasting blind and knowng the difference came up.  Also, I feel the same about BioD.  In a blind tasting, I have never been able to pick out BioD wines over wines not labeled that way. 

I guess marketing is drive here?

On 05/07, Arthur wrote:


My brother is doing the e-dating thing and he can relate.

I wonder how much of this can be applied to the brand equity of the AVA ojn the label? For example: Napa.

On 05/07, Arthur wrote:


Is this why winegeeks to this day recoil at the notion of the 2005 Charles Shaw Chardonnay winnin Double Gold at the CA State Fair? The fair has rigorous judging and scoring standards, there were tons of wines submitted and the wine is very good.

But people can’t accept that because Fred made it in vats the size of the fuel tank of the space shuttle.

On 05/07, Jeff wrote:

Hey Cathy and Arthur,

Thanks for the comments.  It’s a complex, subjective issue isn’t it?  Frankly, I move with the wine, er, wind on this.  I understand where Josh is coming from, I drink Two Buck Chuck, but I am enamored with the idea of BioD and natural yeasts.

What does this all mean?  I don’t know, but it’s good conversation.

All the best,



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