What's wrong with cherry-picking?

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Joe W i n o g r a d
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What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#1 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » January 6th, 2019, 6:36 am

Asking for a friend.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#2 Post by Victor Hong » January 6th, 2019, 6:47 am

Baking a pie?
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#3 Post by Jason T » January 6th, 2019, 7:54 am

I don’t think of it as “wrong”. There are drawbacks - having less familiarity with how a wine performs in “lesser” vintages being one. I personally do not cherry pick- I’m happy to enjoy those producers I like across all vintages, and feel doing so better allows me to support the winery, allows me to be better informed overall, and opens me to appreciating how wines can perform across varying vintage characteristics.

And while one could argue that cherry-picking drives up the prices for cherries, perceived or real, that also implies that “lesser” vintages present a better value for those more likely to appreciate them.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#4 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 6th, 2019, 8:00 am

While it may seem appealing to go through life with nothing but peak experiences, I would argue that it’s a path to short-lived satisfaction.

It’s like a roller coaster. Wow, big hill! I would love to try a bigger one. Next coaster is even bigger. Holy cow, where is there a bigger one!? Very soon there are no bigger ones. Even the biggest become routine. Boredom sets in.

This doesn’t mean that it’s not worth pursuing some cherries, but they are not the ultimate meaning of a life with wine.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#5 Post by larry schaffer » January 6th, 2019, 8:04 am

I think it's important to put yourself on the 'other side' here - as a producer, it's always nice when your customers support your endeavors wholly. This is not to say that it should be done 'blindly' - there has to be a reason for them to do so. Personal preferences may mean that some will not want to take everything you offer - heck, I have one club member who loves my rose so much that that's all she purchases year round, and I'm happy with that.

The idea that customers would 'jump in' in a 'good' vintage or after a 'good' score is a little disheartening to me. I get it - I just wish it wasn't so.

I have more thoughts on the issue as a producer but I'll be interested to hear what others have to say . . .

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#6 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 8:15 am

I have no idea what you are asking. Should I buy wines I am not likely to like very much in preference to ones I am likely to love? Um, no. Not going to do that.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#7 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » January 6th, 2019, 8:19 am

I'm a Bordeaux fan so not sure how this applies to other regions, but in my experience, given how long celebrated vintages can take to age, and the difficulty of judging exactly when to drink them, your chance of a good wine experience can be greater with a so-called "off vintage".

Also, a celebrated vintage is usually all about "big fruit" and that is not the style one wants all the time.

There is often excellent value in supposed "off vintages".

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#8 Post by Jim F » January 6th, 2019, 8:41 am

So far, another aspect of cherry picking has been ignored. It is not necessarily about a given producer, but buying wine in a retail shop. Some shops really do not like being cherry picked of rare, or high-end, or well priced wines by those with no intent to generally support the store. Maybe very parallel to generally supporting a producer. But then again, especially with internet advertising, customer drop-ins should be expected, and maybe are even encouraged by the ads?

I have no problem with this notion of cherry-picking. I think it is on the seller to provide enough attraction to the customer to come back. Then, perhaps a mutually beneficial relationship can exist. I have long standing with a couple retail shops, and get the occasional special attention but also provide whatever steady business I can via beer, liquor or day-to-day kind of table wine.

With regard to, for example mailing lists, often for some very expensive wines, I also have no problem with cherry picking. But it is often difficult; there may be a wait list which presents a bit of a barrier to getting on, or thinking about leaving, a list that was important enough to get onto. And then there are those very small producers that some of us just decide to support year-in and year-out.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#9 Post by John S » January 6th, 2019, 8:46 am

I do not see anything "wrong" with spending your $$ as you see fit. Same with score chasing etc.

However as others have noted one loses much of what many of us enjoy learning about with such a narrow focus. One can miss vintage, winemaker, terroir effects and and inability to learn from different yearsetc. I know when I started I would chase more cherries. Now I focus on the few producers I have honed onto and buy those in most vintages. I think that is a fairly common path.

Certainly people who cherry pick generally pay higher prices to do so. Producers who you may buy direct from reward regular and broad purchases for obvious reasons.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#10 Post by Mattstolz » January 6th, 2019, 8:50 am

you really appreciate the cherries more if you eat them without picking them first. much more challenging.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#11 Post by Anton D » January 6th, 2019, 9:19 am

Cherry picking is fine. But I need to ask a follow up: how do you pick your cherries? By tasting and then loading up on what your palate thinks, or by acquiring the cherries you are told to pick? If it’s decided by the fiat of a number rating or thinking any one vintage is the cherry, then I think that sort of thing is for the uncurious and lazy type drinker who’s more interested in social signaling and trophy drinking and not being interested in the actual hobby.

Similar to: hunters who go to a preserve and are driven up to a tied animal to shoot, people who would only listen to records that are a number one hit, people who only see Oscar winning films, or people whose favorite teams are this year’s champions.

That sort of cherry picking tells me someone can’t master the hobby and likely has a mundane palate and mindset.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#12 Post by Mike Francisco » January 6th, 2019, 9:32 am

For me, had I done this I would have missed some of the best and sometimes profound wine experiences I have had. Just a few that come to mind;
1964 Mouton (from a magnum it the 1980s)
1975 Beaulieu George de Latour (also in the 1980s)
From resent vintages
2008 Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape
2010 Heymann Lowenstein Vom Blauen Schiefer Riesling
All from none cherry vintages

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#13 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » January 6th, 2019, 9:38 am

Funny - I got nastily flamed on another thread recently by a poster who insisted one was a fool to buy any but the best vintages (not to mention only top producers, top crus etc.) because I suggested that there was a lot of enjoyed and learned from drinking lesser vintages and appellations. Happily, the flamer turned out to be a troll who is now gone from the board. :) And I will repeat what I've said, and support what some others have said here already - I think you will learn less from only cherry picking vintages. Anyone seriously knowledgeable about a region has drunk across the board: vintage, producer, level. You will also miss on some excellent experiences if you limit yourself. Just because I like 2010 burgundy in general a lot more than I like 2011, I've had some lovely 2011's that I've liked a lot and which have given me a different experience. I don't buy to hit only the highest of highs. Importantly, by tasting a lot of different vintages, you may end up finding that your tastes do not match with the common wisdom and you actually prefer some of those "lesser" vintages. I, for instance, far prefer Leroy in vintages not generally considered the best.

All that said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying and drinking what you like. Or in buying more heavily in better vintages, or not buying at all in vintages you don't like. Even with producers I buy every year, I buy more or less depending on vintage. Of course, those are producers I know very well at this point, bringing me back to the point about how much you can learn drinking across the spectrum.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#14 Post by GregT » January 6th, 2019, 9:58 am

I have no idea what the original question was about - taking only the wines of a producer that you think are better than others, or taking the "better" wines from a store, etc.

Why would anyone do anything else? Do you feel obligated to buy a second-rate car because the manufacturer had some design problems, or past-dated meat from the butcher or grocery store because you want to support the local business, or shoes that aren't finished properly and will hurt your feet because you want to see how the crappier versions "perform" and you're loyal to that brand?

It's pretty strange to knowingly take something you suspect or think is less than optimum out of some misguided sense of obligation to some principle. If a product isn't all that good, get a discount sufficient to make it worthwhile or pass on it.

Besides, what you think is a cherry might be second rate to someone else.

And no. Wine is not somehow different from every other product in the world.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#15 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 10:03 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 9:38 am
Funny - I got nastily flamed on another thread recently by a poster who insisted one was a fool to buy any but the best vintages (not to mention only top producers, top crus etc.) because I suggested that there was a lot of enjoyed and learned from drinking lesser vintages and appellations. Happily, the flamer turned out to be a troll who is now gone from the board. :) And I will repeat what I've said, and support what some others have said here already - I think you will learn less from only cherry picking vintages. Anyone seriously knowledgeable about a region has drunk across the board: vintage, producer, level. You will also miss on some excellent experiences if you limit yourself. Just because I like 2010 burgundy in general a lot more than I like 2011, I've had some lovely 2011's that I've liked a lot and which have given me a different experience. I don't buy to hit only the highest of highs. Importantly, by tasting a lot of different vintages, you may end up finding that your tastes do not match with the common wisdom and you actually prefer some of those "lesser" vintages. I, for instance, far prefer Leroy in vintages not generally considered the best.

All that said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying and drinking what you like. Or in buying more heavily in better vintages, or not buying at all in vintages you don't like. Even with producers I buy every year, I buy more or less depending on vintage. Of course, those are producers I know very well at this point, bringing me back to the point about how much you can learn drinking across the spectrum.
This all seems so obvious, I am still uncertain what the question is. You'll miss a lot of joy only buying the most famous labels in the most famous vintages, and you'll spend a fortune unnecessarily. The goal (and, really, the fun) is to find the less august names and vintages that are, in fact, cherries at reasonable prices. Is that cherry-picking? If so, put me down as a particularly purposeful picker.

If the question is whether it is wrong not to "support the retailer or producer" by buying overpriced dreck, the answer is hell no. Helpful hint: don't produce or stock overpriced dreck.

So, WTF are we talking about?
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#16 Post by Greg K » January 6th, 2019, 10:09 am

As I say to my non-wino friends, buy what you like to drink. If you can afford to drink nothing but 1982 first growths, why not? I’ve only had a couple, but they’re pretty great! I don’t drink that way and can’t afford to, but I also don’t subscribe to buying all vintages. Some burgundy producers simply did badly in 2011 and produced green wines. Why should I buy those? It’s not a good product, nor do I think my understanding of Burgundy will be enhanced by buying bad wine. So while there may be some good 2011s, unless I have good reason to think a producer did well that year, why pay good money to take the chance?
But I don’t think that should apply to all vintages that aren’t “vintages of the century” either. In short, there’s a balancing act and I don’t think there’s a clear answer to this question.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#17 Post by Greg K » January 6th, 2019, 10:11 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:03 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 9:38 am
Funny - I got nastily flamed on another thread recently by a poster who insisted one was a fool to buy any but the best vintages (not to mention only top producers, top crus etc.) because I suggested that there was a lot of enjoyed and learned from drinking lesser vintages and appellations. Happily, the flamer turned out to be a troll who is now gone from the board. :) And I will repeat what I've said, and support what some others have said here already - I think you will learn less from only cherry picking vintages. Anyone seriously knowledgeable about a region has drunk across the board: vintage, producer, level. You will also miss on some excellent experiences if you limit yourself. Just because I like 2010 burgundy in general a lot more than I like 2011, I've had some lovely 2011's that I've liked a lot and which have given me a different experience. I don't buy to hit only the highest of highs. Importantly, by tasting a lot of different vintages, you may end up finding that your tastes do not match with the common wisdom and you actually prefer some of those "lesser" vintages. I, for instance, far prefer Leroy in vintages not generally considered the best.

All that said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying and drinking what you like. Or in buying more heavily in better vintages, or not buying at all in vintages you don't like. Even with producers I buy every year, I buy more or less depending on vintage. Of course, those are producers I know very well at this point, bringing me back to the point about how much you can learn drinking across the spectrum.
This all seems so obvious, I am still uncertain what the question is. You'll miss a lot of joy only buying the most famous labels in the most famous vintages, and you'll spend a fortune unnecessarily. The goal (and, really, the fun) is to find the less august names and vintages that are, in fact, cherries at reasonable prices. Is that cherry-picking? If so, put me down as a particularly purposeful picker.

If the question is whether it is wrong not to "support the retailer or producer" by buying overpriced dreck, the answer is hell no. Helpful hint: don't produce or stock overpriced dreck.

So, WTF are we talking about?
I think the question is essentially “what’s wrong with drinking nothing but 82 Bordeaux and 05 burgundy”.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#18 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 10:14 am

Greg K wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:11 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:03 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 9:38 am
Funny - I got nastily flamed on another thread recently by a poster who insisted one was a fool to buy any but the best vintages (not to mention only top producers, top crus etc.) because I suggested that there was a lot of enjoyed and learned from drinking lesser vintages and appellations. Happily, the flamer turned out to be a troll who is now gone from the board. :) And I will repeat what I've said, and support what some others have said here already - I think you will learn less from only cherry picking vintages. Anyone seriously knowledgeable about a region has drunk across the board: vintage, producer, level. You will also miss on some excellent experiences if you limit yourself. Just because I like 2010 burgundy in general a lot more than I like 2011, I've had some lovely 2011's that I've liked a lot and which have given me a different experience. I don't buy to hit only the highest of highs. Importantly, by tasting a lot of different vintages, you may end up finding that your tastes do not match with the common wisdom and you actually prefer some of those "lesser" vintages. I, for instance, far prefer Leroy in vintages not generally considered the best.

All that said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying and drinking what you like. Or in buying more heavily in better vintages, or not buying at all in vintages you don't like. Even with producers I buy every year, I buy more or less depending on vintage. Of course, those are producers I know very well at this point, bringing me back to the point about how much you can learn drinking across the spectrum.
This all seems so obvious, I am still uncertain what the question is. You'll miss a lot of joy only buying the most famous labels in the most famous vintages, and you'll spend a fortune unnecessarily. The goal (and, really, the fun) is to find the less august names and vintages that are, in fact, cherries at reasonable prices. Is that cherry-picking? If so, put me down as a particularly purposeful picker.

If the question is whether it is wrong not to "support the retailer or producer" by buying overpriced dreck, the answer is hell no. Helpful hint: don't produce or stock overpriced dreck.

So, WTF are we talking about?
I think the question is essentially “what’s wrong with drinking nothing but 82 Bordeaux and 05 burgundy”.
Oh. Ok.

Answer: not a fvcking thing if you can afford it and don't want any champagne.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#19 Post by Greg K » January 6th, 2019, 10:22 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:14 am
Greg K wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:11 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:03 am


This all seems so obvious, I am still uncertain what the question is. You'll miss a lot of joy only buying the most famous labels in the most famous vintages, and you'll spend a fortune unnecessarily. The goal (and, really, the fun) is to find the less august names and vintages that are, in fact, cherries at reasonable prices. Is that cherry-picking? If so, put me down as a particularly purposeful picker.

If the question is whether it is wrong not to "support the retailer or producer" by buying overpriced dreck, the answer is hell no. Helpful hint: don't produce or stock overpriced dreck.

So, WTF are we talking about?
I think the question is essentially “what’s wrong with drinking nothing but 82 Bordeaux and 05 burgundy”.
Oh. Ok.

Answer: not a fvcking thing if you can afford it and don't want any champagne.
Exactly. Drink what you like. We’ll assume that hypothetical person also drinks 88 Salon :p
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#20 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » January 6th, 2019, 10:38 am

I like the creative answers (thanks Matt & Victor!) and appreciate the legit responses that expose some of the different contexts where this comes up (winery/collector direct purchase, retail/collector, collector/collector at offline, maybe importer/winery too).

To be clear, I am thinking of social norms and the implications for the parties on both sides of the relationship and was intentionally open ended because I am trying to puzzle how the implications differ in the various scenarios.

The most obvious analogy is:

"A host puts out a bowl of fruit cocktail. A guest helps themself to a plate of just the cherries."

The analogy seems to read in a pretty straightforward way on offline etiquette. As Larry suggests, some of the other scenarios are less clear. It seems to me like an interesting thing to talk about. Sorry (Neal) if it was too open ended.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#21 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 10:43 am

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:38 am
I like the creative answers (thanks Matt & Victor!) and appreciate the legit responses that expose some of the different contexts where this comes up (winery/collector direct purchase, retail/collector, collector/collector at offline, maybe importer/winery too).

To be clear, I am thinking of social norms and the implications for the parties on both sides of the relationship and was intentionally open ended because I am trying to puzzle how the implications differ in the various scenarios.

The most obvious analogy is:

"A host puts out a bowl of fruit cocktail. A guest helps themself to a plate of just the cherries."

The analogy seems to read in a pretty straightforward way on offline etiquette. As Larry suggests, some of the other scenarios are less clear. It seems to me like an interesting thing to talk about. Sorry (Neal) if it was too open ended.
No reason to apologize at all, but I see absolutely no connection at all to your analogies. At a party I am a guest and I have to (want to) be considerate of my host and other guests. At an offline, the very purpose of being there is to share with friends. At a retailer I am a paying customer and I am only concerned about myself. There is zero connection between these circumstances.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#22 Post by Nathan V. » January 6th, 2019, 10:50 am

Importers aren't really able to cherry-pick producers. Just as if you purchase directly from a CA winery, I doubt you'd last long only buying the cherries and not the whole range (e.g. "hostage wines").

Retailers are not able to cherry pick from wholesalers, because the wholesalers must buy an entire range of a portfolio from importers or producers in order to get the cherries from that portfolio.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with cherry picking; however, this is why the prices of the cherries get so high. So, if you think it is OK, then you can't complain about being priced out of certain wines. It is a vicious cycle though and taken to its logical conclusion will create a world of cherries and loss leaders without much in between. Buy hey, isn't that just late stage capitalism in a nutshell.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#23 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 10:53 am

Nathan V. wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:50 am
Importers aren't really able to cherry-pick producers. Just as if you purchase directly from a CA winery, I doubt you'd last long only buying the cherries and not the whole range (e.g. "hostage wines").

Retailers are not able to cherry pick from wholesalers, because the wholesalers must buy an entire range of a portfolio from importers or producers in order to get the cherries from that portfolio.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with cherry picking; however, this is why the prices of the cherries get so high. So, if you think it is OK, then you can't complain about being priced out of certain wines. It is a vicious cycle though and taken to its logical conclusion will create a world of cherries and loss leaders without much in between. Buy hey, isn't that just late stage capitalism in a nutshell.
If importers or retailers could cherrypick, do you think they would?
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#24 Post by Nathan V. » January 6th, 2019, 10:57 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:53 am
Nathan V. wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:50 am
Importers aren't really able to cherry-pick producers. Just as if you purchase directly from a CA winery, I doubt you'd last long only buying the cherries and not the whole range (e.g. "hostage wines").

Retailers are not able to cherry pick from wholesalers, because the wholesalers must buy an entire range of a portfolio from importers or producers in order to get the cherries from that portfolio.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with cherry picking; however, this is why the prices of the cherries get so high. So, if you think it is OK, then you can't complain about being priced out of certain wines. It is a vicious cycle though and taken to its logical conclusion will create a world of cherries and loss leaders without much in between. Buy hey, isn't that just late stage capitalism in a nutshell.
If importers or retailers could cherrypick, do you think they would?
Maybe. It wouldn't be much of a business model, you need to have a whole range of wines to make a business. I think it would make the whole wine economy highly volatile and not much of a sustainable business for anyone.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#25 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 11:00 am

Nathan V. wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:57 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:53 am
Nathan V. wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:50 am
Importers aren't really able to cherry-pick producers. Just as if you purchase directly from a CA winery, I doubt you'd last long only buying the cherries and not the whole range (e.g. "hostage wines").

Retailers are not able to cherry pick from wholesalers, because the wholesalers must buy an entire range of a portfolio from importers or producers in order to get the cherries from that portfolio.

There is nothing wrong, per se, with cherry picking; however, this is why the prices of the cherries get so high. So, if you think it is OK, then you can't complain about being priced out of certain wines. It is a vicious cycle though and taken to its logical conclusion will create a world of cherries and loss leaders without much in between. Buy hey, isn't that just late stage capitalism in a nutshell.
If importers or retailers could cherrypick, do you think they would?
Maybe. It wouldn't be much of a business model, you need to have a whole range of wines to make a business. I think it would make the whole wine economy highly volatile and not much of a sustainable business for anyone.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#26 Post by Jeff Leve » January 6th, 2019, 11:10 am

There is nothing wrong with cherry picking.

I only have so much money to spend on wine. I have a cellar that does not continue expanding like the universe. I can only drink so many bottles per week. That means I focus on the wines I want in my cellar from the producers I prefer, that were made in the vintages I favor.

Wines are priced at different levels, allowing everyone to be choosy with the wines they want to purchase and add to their cellars.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#27 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » January 6th, 2019, 11:13 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:43 am
At a retailer I am a paying customer and I am only concerned about myself. There is zero connection between these circumstances.
Are there really no relationship considerations? Don't retailers/distributors/wineries/etc steer their most prized wines to their best customers?

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#28 Post by Mark Golodetz » January 6th, 2019, 11:15 am

Do people then have a problem with retailers putting together cases of wine from one producer reflecting what he, the retailer, has to buy in order to get a few cherries? Mix might include if we take Burgundy, Bourgogne, village wines, premier crus and a couple of cherry Grand Crus.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#29 Post by larry schaffer » January 6th, 2019, 11:19 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:15 am
Do people then have a problem with retailers putting together cases of wine from one producer reflecting what he, the retailer, has to buy in order to get a few cherries? Mix might include if we take Burgundy, Bourgogne, village wines, premier crus and a couple of cherry Grand Crus.
And the same could be said for a winery that offers a club offering of 'sought after' wines with others that they offer because they make them.

Please sit back and look at all scenarios folks . . .

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#30 Post by James Billy » January 6th, 2019, 11:22 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:15 am
Do people then have a problem with retailers putting together cases of wine from one producer reflecting what he, the retailer, has to buy in order to get a few cherries? Mix might include if we take Burgundy, Bourgogne, village wines, premier crus and a couple of cherry Grand Crus.
Great way to offload otherwise unsellable wines to clueless people.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#31 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 6th, 2019, 11:29 am

James Billy wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:22 am
Mark Golodetz wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:15 am
Do people then have a problem with retailers putting together cases of wine from one producer reflecting what he, the retailer, has to buy in order to get a few cherries? Mix might include if we take Burgundy, Bourgogne, village wines, premier crus and a couple of cherry Grand Crus.
Great way to offload otherwise unsellable wines to clueless people.
Not always so. Not even close. There are producers who make fine wines up and down the cru levels. Mugneret Gibourg is a great example, though maybe everything they make is now considered a “cherry.”
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#32 Post by Greg K » January 6th, 2019, 11:34 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:15 am
Do people then have a problem with retailers putting together cases of wine from one producer reflecting what he, the retailer, has to buy in order to get a few cherries? Mix might include if we take Burgundy, Bourgogne, village wines, premier crus and a couple of cherry Grand Crus.
I don’t have a problem with it, but I wouldn’t buy those wines if I didn’t have to.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#33 Post by Greg K » January 6th, 2019, 11:35 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:29 am
James Billy wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:22 am
Mark Golodetz wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:15 am
Do people then have a problem with retailers putting together cases of wine from one producer reflecting what he, the retailer, has to buy in order to get a few cherries? Mix might include if we take Burgundy, Bourgogne, village wines, premier crus and a couple of cherry Grand Crus.
Great way to offload otherwise unsellable wines to clueless people.
Not always so. Not even close. There are producers who make fine wines up and down the cru levels. Mugneret Gibourg is a great example, though maybe everything they make is now considered a “cherry.”
I feel that way about Fourrier which I buy at all levels. But I think you’re suggesting the exception rather than what Mark was thinking of. I.e, buy Olivier Bernstein if you want DRC.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#34 Post by larry schaffer » January 6th, 2019, 11:42 am

Let's turn this around a bit.

Let's say that you're on the SQN mailing list and you get your offer - and you say that you only want to get the syrah, because it got 100, but not the Grenache, because it only got 97. Do you think that Manfred would be cool with that, or do you need to take a 'package'? And then let's say you are allowed to do that but it's noted - and next year, when the wines are offered again and you want both because they're now 100 points, SQN says sorry, you can only get 1 of the 2 wines because of your actions before. Is that fair?

I know that there had been much talk in the past about 'hostage' wine offerings where you had to take specific wines you may not have wanted in order to get the ones that you really wanted and folks were not happy about this. You know that happens with distributors / importers with their accounts, right?

Just trying to make sure we are all on the same page and looking at this from other sides . . .

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#35 Post by Markus S » January 6th, 2019, 11:54 am

Well, there's the possibility of getting your hands dirty if you squeeze the cherries just-so and you may have to rinse off the pesticide residue, particularly if they are not organic, and you risk the fall off of a ladder if you get dizzy or are scared of heights, but otherwise you have the benefits of fresh air and manual labor which could lengthen you lifespan, so overall, I'd say a positive. [smack.gif]
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#36 Post by Markus S » January 6th, 2019, 11:57 am

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:43 am
... I am a paying customer and I am only concerned about myself.
History of America in a nutshell.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#37 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r » January 6th, 2019, 11:58 am

larry schaffer wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:42 am
Let's say that you're on the SQN mailing list and you get your offer - and you say that you only want to get the syrah, because it got 100, but not the Grenache, because it only got 97. Do you think that Manfred would be cool with that, or do you need to take a 'package'? And then let's say you are allowed to do that but it's noted - and next year, when the wines are offered again and you want both because they're now 100 points, SQN says sorry, you can only get 1 of the 2 wines because of your actions before. Is that fair?
It would be nice as a consumer to know that is how it works beforehand, but no issues with that. I had a winery email me the first offer of a new small production wine they made with a note that if I pass, I won’t be offered it again next year. I appreciated the notice.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#38 Post by larry schaffer » January 6th, 2019, 12:08 pm

Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:58 am
larry schaffer wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:42 am
Let's say that you're on the SQN mailing list and you get your offer - and you say that you only want to get the syrah, because it got 100, but not the Grenache, because it only got 97. Do you think that Manfred would be cool with that, or do you need to take a 'package'? And then let's say you are allowed to do that but it's noted - and next year, when the wines are offered again and you want both because they're now 100 points, SQN says sorry, you can only get 1 of the 2 wines because of your actions before. Is that fair?
It would be nice as a consumer to know that is how it works beforehand, but no issues with that. I had a winery email me the first offer of a new small production wine they made with a note that if I pass, I won’t be offered it again next year. I appreciated the notice.
Chris,

I think you're a lot more understanding than most based on previous threads [snort.gif]

And I'm heading back to Harrisburg next week to meet with the PLCB buyer to try to get a few more wines into the system - wish me luck [drinkers.gif]

Cheers.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#39 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » January 6th, 2019, 12:10 pm

I don't think anyone is suggesting that people should buy bad wine or wine that doesn't please them. I know I'm not. It's more complicated than good versus bad most of the time, though. Take Keller, a producer I have bought every year so far. If I tasted and disliked the wines, I wouldn't buy. Probably if I heard from people I trust that the wines weren't good, I also wouldn't buy. On the other hand, I heard from various sources that 2011 was a relatively weak vintage compared to 2010, though good producers still made good wines (in my opinion this is often the case, btw). I still bought some 2011's and have enjoyed them and am not at all sorry to have them, even though I liked the 2010's better.

What I AM saying - based on my interpretation of the question, which might have been wrong - is that making choices based on common wisdom (this a "bad" vintage, this is a "good" vintage) about a name or number is problematic and can have drawbacks. And we do do that - make judgments based on common wisdom. How do we start to categorize a vintage as good or bad? By what people are saying about it, largely. There's nothing wrong with that - few people can taste broadly enough to decide entirely for themselves. Using this common wisdom as a firm guide has two problems. First, it assumes you will agree with the common wisdom. Since wine cannot be as easily labeled as working or working the way an electronic device can, that's a poor assumption. Second, the common wisdom is almost always painted in broad strokes, and leads to thinking that judgement of an overall vintage applies to every producer or site within that vintage. My point then, is that if you cherry pick based on common wisdom you might miss things you like very much. More generally, you might miss out on a chance to develop your own sense of what you like.

Analogies are always flawed to one degree or another, but the one I'm thinking of is going back to the bowl of fruit. If someone puts a mixed bowl of fruit in front of you, and you know you only like cherries, then by all means only take the cherries. If someone puts a bowl of mixed fruit in front of you, all of which you like, and says "the cherries were consistently good this year, whereas the strawberries were varied" and then you only take the cherries, you might miss some great strawberries.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#40 Post by Anton D » January 6th, 2019, 12:26 pm

Would people prefer to go have wine at someone's house who only purchased 100 point cherries, or to someone's house who had taken the time to search out what he/she found interesting?
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#41 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 12:29 pm

Joe W i n o g r a d wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:13 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:43 am
At a retailer I am a paying customer and I am only concerned about myself. There is zero connection between these circumstances.
Are there really no relationship considerations? Don't retailers/distributors/wineries/etc steer their most prized wines to their best customers?
They do. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s their business. If they put the wines on sale, I’m buying the ones I want and not giving the matter another thought
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#42 Post by Matthew King » January 6th, 2019, 12:31 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:00 am
Nathan V. wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:57 am
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:53 am


If importers or retailers could cherrypick, do you think they would?
Maybe. It wouldn't be much of a business model, you need to have a whole range of wines to make a business. I think it would make the whole wine economy highly volatile and not much of a sustainable business for anyone.
When you go to buy a car, do you ask to see whatever the dealer hasn't been able to move?
I’m sure many people do, looking for a bargain.

The dealer may have to reduce the price of the ugly-duckling brown car to move it. Most people wouldn’t choose dark brown as their first choice for a car — or a suit for that matter. But some are happy to drive them off the lot if the price is right.

Same with Santenay! [wink.gif]
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#43 Post by R. Frankel » January 6th, 2019, 12:37 pm

Clearly every person here is a cherry picker. We are thoughtful and selective about the wines we buy and drink. So there’s nothing wrong with it - if it’s standard Berserker behavior then it’s by definition good!

I also have no problem with retailers packaging wines or requiring X to buy Y as long as it is clear and upfront.

When I first got into wine I focused on ‘top’ vintages and top producers. The more I drink the more I learn about how limiting a strategy this is. Not only is it expensive, but it also means I miss out on many utterly yummy happy satisfying bottles. Over the years my tastes have widened and my average bottle cost has plummeted.

One thing I really like about Bordeaux is how prices very with perceived vintage quality. So basically one can find ‘discounts’ if you do some homework. I just bought some 2004 Malescot St. Exupery for $70 that I’m really looking forward to, for example.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#44 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 12:42 pm

Matthew King wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 12:31 pm
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:00 am
Nathan V. wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:57 am


Maybe. It wouldn't be much of a business model, you need to have a whole range of wines to make a business. I think it would make the whole wine economy highly volatile and not much of a sustainable business for anyone.
When you go to buy a car, do you ask to see whatever the dealer hasn't been able to move?
I’m sure many people do, looking for a bargain.

The dealer may have to reduce the price of the ugly-duckling brown car to move it. Most people wouldn’t choose dark brown as their first choice for a car — or a suit for that matter. But some are happy to drive them off the lot if the price is right.

Same with Santenay! [wink.gif]
Totally agree with that. But I’m not buying the shit brown car with plaid interior at full price because I feel sorry for the dealer.

So many different things going on in this thread. Point chasing, hostage wines, free markets and party manners. When a commercial transaction is involved, the seller structures the offer however he or she wants, in her best interests. The buyer decides whether the offer makes sense to him. If it does you buy. If not, leave it for someone else. Pretty simple in my view.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#45 Post by Nathan Smyth » January 6th, 2019, 12:54 pm

Jim F wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 8:41 am
Some shops really do not like being cherry picked of rare, or high-end, or well priced wines by those with no intent to generally support the store.
That used to be a big problem about 15 years ago, but with prices off in the stratosphere now, a retailer has no one but himself to blame if he's publically displaying an item for sale at below market value.

I can [reluctantly & begrudgingly] understand the need to reward "Big Lumber" customers who keep the store afloat, and maybe give them a few weeks heads up [via a secret email] about the arrival of an extremely rare wine.

But once it's out there for public display, my guess is that in many jurisdictions nowadays it might even be illegal to refuse to sell it to an arbitrary customer.

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#46 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r » January 6th, 2019, 12:55 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 12:08 pm
Chris,

I think you're a lot more understanding than most based on previous threads

And I'm heading back to Harrisburg next week to meet with the PLCB buyer to try to get a few more wines into the system - wish me luck
Good luck!

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#47 Post by Anton D » January 6th, 2019, 12:58 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 12:42 pm
Matthew King wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 12:31 pm
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 11:00 am


When you go to buy a car, do you ask to see whatever the dealer hasn't been able to move?
I’m sure many people do, looking for a bargain.

The dealer may have to reduce the price of the ugly-duckling brown car to move it. Most people wouldn’t choose dark brown as their first choice for a car — or a suit for that matter. But some are happy to drive them off the lot if the price is right.

Same with Santenay! [wink.gif]
Totally agree with that. But I’m not buying the shit brown car with plaid interior at full price because I feel sorry for the dealer.

So many different things going on in this thread. Point chasing, hostage wines, free markets and party manners. When a commercial transaction is involved, the seller structures the offer however he or she wants, in her best interests. The buyer decides whether the offer makes sense to him. If it does you buy. If not, leave it for someone else. Pretty simple in my view.
I took the question as relating to what our "wine process" might be.

You buy more than one bottle every few years, so the car analogy is crap. (Apologies.)

Neal, do you taste and buy, try new things, make up your own mind; or read the ratings and reviews and buy cherries as you are told?

Most of us "cherry pick" by purchasing what we taste and like, not via Parker or WS assigning us our shopping list.

I guess there is a corollary...would you rather drink ten bottles of the same 100 point wine, or ten different bottles of what you have chosen for yourself as 'good wine?'

It's seems to me that a cherry picked cellar would be more dull than only being allowed to buy reading material via the NY Times Review of Books.

Cherry picking reminds me of that old joke about the gauche billionaire who walks into the art gallery and says, "Which way to your most expensive art?"
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#48 Post by Nathan Smyth » January 6th, 2019, 1:04 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:53 am
If importers or retailers could cherrypick, do you think they would?
Nathan V. wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 10:50 am
late stage capitalism
We once had a device in this country, called "The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890", which was supposed to have criminalized most of this behavior.

But because our politicians are all bought and paid for by "late stage capitalists" [and/or aspire to become late stage capitalists after leaving office], I doubt they even teach the SAA of 1890 to children anymore.

[We had to learn it in 9th Grade "Social Studies" class.]

And they sure as hell don't seem to teach it to anyone in law school.

[Which is not meant to imply that lawyers would give a damn about what the law actually says.]

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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#49 Post by Neal.Mollen » January 6th, 2019, 1:19 pm

Anton D wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 12:58 pm
Neal.Mollen wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 12:42 pm
Matthew King wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 12:31 pm


I’m sure many people do, looking for a bargain.

The dealer may have to reduce the price of the ugly-duckling brown car to move it. Most people wouldn’t choose dark brown as their first choice for a car — or a suit for that matter. But some are happy to drive them off the lot if the price is right.

Same with Santenay! [wink.gif]
Totally agree with that. But I’m not buying the shit brown car with plaid interior at full price because I feel sorry for the dealer.

So many different things going on in this thread. Point chasing, hostage wines, free markets and party manners. When a commercial transaction is involved, the seller structures the offer however he or she wants, in her best interests. The buyer decides whether the offer makes sense to him. If it does you buy. If not, leave it for someone else. Pretty simple in my view.
I took the question as relating to what our "wine process" might be.

You buy more than one bottle every few years, so the car analogy is crap. (Apologies.)

Neal, do you taste and buy, try new things, make up your own mind; or read the ratings and reviews and buy cherries as you are told?

Most of us "cherry pick" by purchasing what we taste and like, not via Parker or WS assigning us our shopping list.

I guess there is a corollary...would you rather drink ten bottles of the same 100 point wine, or ten different bottles of what you have chosen for yourself as 'good wine?'

It's seems to me that a cherry picked cellar would be more dull than only being allowed to buy reading material via the NY Times Review of Books.

Cherry picking reminds me of that old joke about the gauche billionaire who walks into the art gallery and says, "Which way to your most expensive art?"
As I have said, the OP confused, and continues to confuse, me. You are suggesting that the OP wanted to know if we are sheeple. I buy what I want which is not usually the stuff that gets big scores from the critics. There was a time, however, when I listened much more closely to their views because I was a newb and still learning what I liked. I don't really try a huge number of new things because in the nearly 45 years I've been drinking wine I pretty much have learned what I like, and given the fact that I only 3-4 bottles of wine, max, a week, there aren't enough nights for me to drink those bottles.

But I did not see the OP as asking these questions. I thought (and many others apparently did too) that it was asking whether there was some moral or ethical restraint on buying what one wanted -- whether there is some compunction to do the retailer a solid by buying stuff you wouldn't otherwise buy because, you know, they have it on offer. That seems to be an alien concept to me.
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Re: What's wrong with cherry-picking?

#50 Post by Nathan V. » January 6th, 2019, 1:21 pm

The way it ends up working is that there are 2 classes of customer. A long time customer who has a relationship with the store and buys regularly will generally be offered "cherries" at a standard mark-up. Other folks (and the internet) will generally be offered "cherries" at market price. So, you could sell 2015 Fourrier CSJ for somewhere around $375 as a standard mark-up, but no way I'm selling it at anything less than $600 (W-S low) to someone off the street or on the internet. If no one is mad about having to pay $600 so they don't have to buy anything else from me, then everyone is fine. The problem is that people want market efficiency to only work in their favor.
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