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run awayI recently came across a winery whose motto is “if you like it, it’s good”. That motto is a really good reason not to visit this winery. The wine is unlikely to be worth exploring.

“If you like it, it is good” assumes there is nothing beyond your merely liking something that accounts for its quality, nothing more to be discovered and nothing more to be enjoyed beyond what you already like. It assumes that  you have no reason to recognize the limitations of what you like or search for something better. It is a shame to encourage such an attitude in wine drinkers.

People in wine education, of course, know this is misleading—that is why they put in the work to gain expertise. But they pretend otherwise because customers want their palates validated and are perceived to be intimidated if wine becomes too serious. Granted, not every situation is a “teaching” situation and sommeliers/merchants must be sensitive to what the customer is looking for. But to dismiss the possibility of educating a palate is irresponsible.

Of course, we can appreciate a wine for all sorts of reasons that are only modestly related to its quality—when relaxing after work for instance. Enjoying what is in front of you regardless of merit may be all that matters in some contexts. But it is to be hoped that a winery is striving for some sort of excellence; that some of their wines meet a less subjective standard in which discovery, learning, and insight can be gained from drinking their wines.