Wine Consumer

Magazine

POTUS, SF Wine Merchant Say: Drink Kool-Aid, Not Trump Wine

Wine Consumer Magazine, Sean Piper
03/14/2016

Last Saturday night, my Facebook newsfeed was blowing up with people posting political links and rants. This was understandably the case following the sabotage of the Chicago Trump rally. Since many of my "friends" on social media are from the wine and food world, I will typically see a wide range of political opinions and most are usually of the left-wing ideology. One post that dominated the evening hours of Saturday night was spawned by our very own POTUS, President Obama.

Obama was at some kind of fundraiser and made a speech bashing Trump Wine - a wine brand formerly owned by Presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, and now currently owned by his son, Eric Trump.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Obama said:

"Has anybody bought that wine? I want to know what that wine tastes like,” a laughing Obama said at a Democratic Party fundraiser Saturday. “I mean, come on. You know that’s like some $5 wine. They slap a label on it. They charge you $50 and say it’s the greatest wine ever.”

Wine consumers, sensible folks, Americans, I urge you to look beyond politics and personal bias for just a minute to consider what it means for the U.S. President to joke about this. It isn't a comedian, a Sommelier, or a wine critic saying this...it's the first time that I've ever heard a sitting U.S. President disparage and malign (for political gain) a U.S. company that legally produces a U.S. product. It's also the first time I've heard a U.S. President talk shit about wine. Obama implies that nothing of real worth can come from wine grapes grown in Virginia.

It got me mad.

It's rather ironic, isn't it? Obama, who has never created anything other than an incredibly unpopular government healthcare system, has by many accounts made the cost of healthcare more expensive after "slapping" his name on it. Some wine consumers might even say they're better off relying on the health benefits of drinking wine instead of Obama's healthcare Kool-Aid. At least, with wine, nobody forces us to drink it. Trump certainly doesn't force anyone to buy his wine.

Just so you know, wine people I respect have tasted Trump wine and really liked it: Exhibit A, Exhibit B.

The La-La Land of the Facebook newsfeed would have me believe that most of the wine industry is living in a left-wing fantasy world. The truth is, just like in real life, there are two worlds of political thought in the wine industry and on social media.

In one world, I have found that the vast majority of people who don't produce wine, but rather only sell it (and/or talk about it) like Sommeliers, marketers, retailers, and critics are almost always aligned with the leftist ideology. They make sure we all know about their views. Interestingly enough, these are also the folks who are used to getting the most free things like wine samples and other perks. Disagree with them = get insulted and get unfriended. That's how they roll.

In the other world, wine makers, growers, agricultural workers, viticulturalists, and people who are generally in the business of producing a tangible product I've found to be more centerline politically and - for the most part - more conservative about sharing political opinions online. I've also found them to be less confrontational and more accepting of others opinions.

One of my left-of-center wine industry "friends" shared an article from the Daily Beast saying that Donald Trump's wine is "Built on Acre of Lies" because the Trump Vineyards website claims they are the largest vineyard in Virginia. Well guess what...THEY ARE THE LARGEST VINEYARD IN VIRGINIA! The Daily Beast unfortunately doesn't understand the difference between being the largest winery by production/gallons/case sales and being the largest vineyard by way of acres planted to vines. But these details and facts are of no consequence to the liberal media source, and the facts certainly don't matter to the wine person who shared the article on Facebook either. Thirsty for Kool-Aid, anyone?

It brings me back to the reason I'm writing this. The article about Obama thumbing his nose at Trump Wines and the Virginia wine country was shared by a San Francisco wine merchant-slash-numerical wine rater, Kerry Winslow from the SF Wine Trading Company.

Winslow kindly responded to my comment on his post by telling me to drink Kool-Aid and calling me hopeless. He added clarity by explaining Kool-Aid is in reference to some guy named Jim Jones. I found it all very interesting.

Yes, there's an interesting irony in the fact that Winslow is a peddler of super expensive wine for the very rich, yet those are exactly the successful folks whom the progressive-left love to hate. And Winslow is also a wine point scorer, YAY! So shouldn't he be objective about wines rather than dismissing them based on who the producer is? As a wine consultant, which he claims to be, I would think that he'd appreciate the many unique wine growing regions of America, not deride one of the oldest and most historic: Virginia. He's willing to ignore those conflicting points in order to make his political point. That's not wine excellence.

Winslow thinks Obama's joke is funny. Here's what I think would be hilarious...I trick Winslow into drinking Trump wines in a blind taste test in which he must also numerically rate the wines. I'd throw in some other wine brands, of course, just to make it more interesting. He'd call out arbitrary number scores, like all the critics do. "I give this one an 88," he'd say. And that's when I'd jump out from behind a fake tree, point at him and yell "You just got Trumped!' Ha-ha!!! The look on his face would be priceless after he realized Trump was just in his mouth. *Roll the shower scene clip from The Crying Game (1992)*

Like Winslow, Obama's attitude is sadly that of an elite throwing the snobbiest of shade, for political gain, at a family-owned agricultural-based business, which - whether you like it, or not - Trump Vineyards is. Yet, the President would rather make jokes at the expense of hardworking Americans instead of making America great again. That's not American excellence.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't criticize The Donald. He is in the political world now and fair game, and no politician is beyond reproach. What I am saying is that of all the criticisms one might choose from, creating commerce, farming land, growing vineyards, employing people, and making WINE should not be on anyone's list, not if we love all things great about America and all things great about wine. Unless, that is, someone's thirsty for Kool-Aid. I think Obama and Winslow just slapped their names on a fresh batch.