Wine Clubs and Small Winemakers (Essay #2)


 

I did my best to read about wine clubs today The information I found was very limited. I believe I found what I was looking for however. I am curious whether wine clubs can become a vehicle for supporting small winemakers and controlling the education and growth of winelovers.

The small winemakers usually make a very strong effort to produce wine by superior standards. The marketing of such wines can be difficult because of the limited exposure, the small quantity of production and the high cost of each bottle. Wine experts, such as sommeliers, are some of the best help small winemakers have had in promoting their unique small production wines and maybe of aid again. Since such wines are exotic and unique in style, the quantity is usually not large but the learning potential by exploring the wines is great. A wine club built around a specific wine theme can be a great buyer of the entire production of such wines as long as the wines fit the theme and the price is right. The small winemakers will be able to concentrate on making great wines knowing the entire stock of a successful wine will be sold off to the wine club. This guarantee is similar to what strong wine labels by large producers benefit from. The large distributors will purchase sizeable portions of the latter productions thus keeping the large winemakers in business. Wine clubs can do a similar job for small winemakers. The question is who will join the wine clubs and invest in these unique and little-known wines?

I think the answer is professionals in the field. I am sure status motivates hospitality professionals to join whatever association that makes them look more capable professionally. Status has always been a great motivator in sales of products and services that cost high. The membership in association of enough prestige will be sought after by many hospitality professionals. A membership fee for such association will be obvious but a more professional move will be to require joining the association’s wine club. The membership of a prestige wine club, that looks great for the job of the professional, can cost $50 to $100 weekly. This sum maybe high for a membership due but is reasonable for the select wine stock received. These unique and interesting wines are great for simple drinking, dining and building a smart cellar. A more professional use will be for serious learning purposes. The wine club membership could entitle the member to substantial knowledge about each of these wines by attending routine weekly studies by individuals or groups with help of the association. This wine tasting and study will be an ongoing activity of the wine club bringing great professional benefits to the members in the medium to the long run. The wine club cost will not be cheap but the prestige and career development will justify these weekly costs that also support small winemakers.

An active and bona fide hospitality professional will have to be a member-in-good-standing of such associations and wine clubs. That will be the hallmark of a real professional versus someone with a certificate or credential who just goes to work and pretends to follow the field. This will be systematic and real-world wine tasting and learning at professional standards. This approach does have some structure and rich resources are available to accompany the learning. A serious professional will develop substantial knowledge in wine areas of choice without a doubt. Any legitimate wine association can organize such clubs. And the costs? Wine education was never cheap anyway! If one is to call oneself a professional in hospitality field, the proof is such membership that follows the wine field.

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