Costco comment horrifies wine snobs
The retailer's top buyer has the nerve to say that it's just 'a beverage.'
And that gives its top buyer, Annette Alvarez-Peters, a lot of power within the wine industry. But instead of waxing poetic about terroir and tannins, Alvarez-Peters is all business when it comes to wine. And that's giving some wine lovers heartburn.
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The controversy centers around a recent CNBC special on Costco. Alvarez-Peters was interviewed by Carl Quintanilla and told him she doesn't think wine is any more special than clothing or televisions.
Quintanilla suggested that wine is more personal than tinfoil or toilet paper. Alvarez-Peters disagreed.
"People can look at it that way," she said. "But at the end of the day, it's a beverage. It's a beverage. I think you either like it or you don't like it."
Cue the exploding heads. The Eater site called the CNBC special "a six-minute segment on wine ignorance" and said Alvarez-Peters doesn't understand why wine is any different from toilet paper. "Very sad," said a commenter on the site. "Show some respect, Costco."
The Bubble Brothers wine blog said Alvarez-Peters "secured her place in wine infamy" with her response, noting that Alvarez-Peters first worked for Costco as a car-parts buyer and came to the job with no knowledge of wine. But maybe that's a good thing. "I think everyone can agree that if you put the world's most passionate wine lover in charge of Costco's wine buying that that person would make a shocking mess of the business before long if he or she wasn’t first skilled in the often unsexy craft of trade buying," the blog noted.
But another viewer appreciated the sentiment. "I think far too often we lose sight of wine, beer or liquor as simply being a beverage, albeit a fun and tasty one most of the time," wrote the Bangers and Mash blog.
Alvarez-Peters clearly has knowledge of wine, although she was caught in the video writing "delicious" as a tasting note. She wouldn't be where she is today without having a thorough knowledge of the industry. The bigger question is whether she has to be outrageously and obnoxiously passionate about the "beverage." I think the answer is no.
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People need to get over themselves. While I'm not a wine enthusiast, I am a bit of a single-malt scotch and craft beer geek. That said, all alcoholic treats ARE beverages. What should make wine, beer, or fine whiskey special is how we as individuals enjoy them. If we let our opinions be influenced by anything other than the intrinsic quality of the spirits, we are cheating ourselves and are probably not as deeply in love with the hobby as we thought. It is also important to not judge other's opinions based on the norm of the subculture. Sure, I'll cringe when a house guest pours a dram of my Highland Park 18yr into a tumbler filled with ice. But, if they are truely enjoying it, they are drinking it right.
Wine folks... who freakin' cares? Having a skilled purchasing agent in charge at Costco will likely lead to greater availability of popular varietals and vintages, and probably greater discounts too.
They are jealous and in the end , its just rotten grapes
At least toilet paper is truly useful.
But yeah, she's right, it IS just a beverage...
Why is it that some fans (wine or anything else) feel so entitled to their opinion that they can't respect anyone else's? Just because the woman in question calls wine a beverage doesn't take anything away from your opinion - its just different. Unless you're so insecure about your beliefs, you should be able to simply agree that the world is made of up of lots of different poeple, and therefore, lots of different opinions.
Here's the bottom line: If MSN had never run this story do you think anyone would even care? Probably not. So whether you're a Wine Connosieur, Whiner or Wino - just relax and enjoy life - its too short to waste time on bickering about who's right and wrong about things like this.
Americans are too stupid to realize that good wine does NOT equal a huge price tag.
The fact that you can get a fantastic house wine or a local wine..ie... vineyard just outside town or village in Europe for a few euro is unheard of. Costco is making wine ..good wines from around the world more available to the average American who couldnt afford wines here jacked up in price. Is she being a bit oversimplistic..yes... but laughing all the way to the bank
Some people make such a big deal over getting their drink on. Let's be blunt here: How much beer, wine, and distilled product would be sold and consumed if they were identical to what is sold today but did NOT contain ethyl alcohol?
Some snobs go on and on about the taste, but without the buzz they don't go on at all.
Some people do not have the physiology to taste certain features. Don't bother them about it; if you like classier wine, then enjoy. Not everyone tastes it the same as you.
I grew up tasting fine wines, and can tell the difference fairly well... But I still go for nano-brews. To each their own, stop whining, and enjoy your beverage. Life is too short to snob out on beverages.
Appreciate what you have and what you experience; share the same with others. Enjoy.
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