Kramer’s Contradiction

reverse osmosis

The usually cogent Matt Kramer is letting his logic slip. In an interesting post on the future of wine, which consists of reasonable guesses for the most part, he claims:

Natural wines, so-called, won’t exist. Why not? Because they will have been mainstreamed, that’s why. It will be normal for producers to create wines more or less along the lines that are deemed “natural” today. What will be different will be that these same wines will be universally well-made rather than today’s more hit-and-miss “naturalism.”

Perhaps, but then he claims:

Conversely, wines made using reverse osmosis and spinning cones to reduce alcohol will be ever more common and—here’s the kicker—producers will be forthright about it. Strange as it sounds to us today, it will be the new “natural.”

Here again, climate change may be the prime mover. If producers in now-warm and possibly-getting-hotter zones can demonstrate that judiciously removing alcohol with technology does not materially affect the remaining “naturalness” of the wine, then a new generation of tech-savvy and tech-accepting wine drinkers will say, “No problem.”

I don’t get it. Natural wine enthusiasts reject wines made with sulfur because it’s considered excessively interventionist and obscures the influence of weather and soil on a particular vintage.Why then would they be OK with reverse osmosis since it also is manipulating the character of the vintage? Why is it “unnatural” to protect wine from excessive oxidation by using sulfur but acceptable to modify it’s alcohol content using hi-tech machinery?

I doubt that the conflict between technology and nature will be so easily resolved by natural wine enthusiasts simply forgetting their commitments.

One comment

  1. Kramer has not gone off his meds. Merely demonstrated why needs some.

    This is not a vinous projection but a semantic debate that has no meaning. He is victim to slicing the onion so thin he can turn it around into a rose or dung heap.

    This illustrates the prevalence of spin in our language usage. Acceptance of de-alcoholized wine to mitigate the effects of over-ripeness due to climate change may indeed happen, but the label means nothing now, even to novices, and will continue to mean nothing. It is a marketing term, just like meritage, aimed to lend credibility with an invented verbal identity.

    This is also an illustration of our need to simplify branding into simple, iconic terms that distinguish an idea, a product or a service from its competition. It is the profit motive replacing true productivity.

    In Kramer’s case, it is an indication that he has run out of meaningful things to say. He should travel to India or stop drinking wine for a month and report on his own observations about himself and the world. If he is bored with reporting, if the world of wine does not continually open new aspects of his curiosity and thinking, then he needs a major re-invigoration.

    Too bad he has descended into this, but after working with Marvin Shankin, a true marketing genius (and I don’t mean that kindly but merely as a reportable fact based on growth, not productivity), for decades the autonomy of his intellect and accumulated knowledge has diminished.

    Like so many wine writers, he is not much of a thinker. And like so many Americans, he has abandoned his ability to think critically, of himself or his leaders.

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