Dear Virginia:

You are joking right? What exactly is the legal difference between a winery shipping to me and a winery using a third party provider to do their order fulfillment? Wineries, big and small, often cannot keep up with the logistics of packing and filling orders in their own facilities. There are issues of storage for all the wine, keeping up with compliance requirements, and being able to dedicate a full time employee to managing such matters. I understand that it can be less expensive and more convenient to pay other folks (fulfillment houses) to do this for you.

I tried to order from Wine Woot yesterday. I’ve ordered from them in the past, with no issues. Yesterday, I noticed Virginia was not on the list of approved shipping states. Baffling. Then I thought back to someone who tried to ship me samples last month…after shipping to me many times, they could not ship to me any longer. I didn’t think much of it at the time, it was an anomaly.  But now, after further investigation, I see that the Virginia ABC issued a circular to all wineries and other business licensed to ship alcohol to VA.  The circular basically states that it is not legal to use a 3rd party fulfillment house to ship wine into the Commonwealth (remember, we are a Commonwealth, not a state, something that routinely trips prospective lawyers up on the Bar…despite it being called the Virginia State Bar, you ought not to refer to VA as a state in your essays!) and all orders must be taken and fulfilled by the entity licensed to ship to VA.  You can read the memo over on the Ship Compliant Blog.

Apparently wineries and other wine industry groups have asked for clarification..or a change.  The Ship Compliant Blog reports that the VA ABC is well aware of the issue but will not budge in its interpretation of the law.  Though it may consider withholding the clarification ruling until 2011 in hopes the VA legislature will act and clarify the law.  Until it issues a new circular, the ban remains in effect.

I’m pissed. This is utter bullshit. Sorry, but it is.  I cannot fathom why VA would object to wineries using a 3rd party TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPLIANCE WITH VA LAW.  Needless to say, my state representatives are getting emails from me.  If you live in VA, I urge you to do the same.  Until then FREE THE GRAPES.

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I’d Rather Drink Water

Why? I’m uninspired. I’ve dumped more wine down the drain in the last two weeks than in my entire wine drinking career. Life is too short to drink boring, insipid, or just plain bad wine. It’s not worth the calories and where I used to fight my way through a bottle I didn’t really care for, I now just dump them down the drain and open a new bottle.  I’m not looking for a revelation or inspiration in every bottle of wine, but I do expect a reaction that’s more than just “meh.”

I shouldn’t sip a glass of wine and think, I might as well be drinking a glass of water, this wine is just about as interesting as comparing the differences between tap water, filtered water, and bottled water. Unless that sort of thing floats your boat, then, go for it, more power to you! But for me, I find it hard to get excited to write about a wine where I can’t even honestly say it would make a good inexpensive table wine.

Even though I find it hard to write about these wines, I do. I have a couple reasons why I review wines I find boring or even flat out bad. One, I think it’s important that you get a full picture of what my palate is. Perhaps you’ve been reading my blog for some time thinking, well, I’ve never had any of these wines Sonadora writes about, so I’m not really sure if I would like them. And then bam! I write a review for a wine you’ve had and loved and I loved it too. Or the opposite: I trash a wine you think is fantastic. I know that helps me understand the palates of other wine reviewers, so I hope you find it useful too. Two, if possible, I want to warn you about wines that are actually faulty.  If a Cabernet Sauvignon tastes like a Syrah, that’s just not right, and you should know that. While you might not avoid the wine, at least you’ll know you aren’t going to find a typical Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle if you do buy it.

As a result, I write about every bottle I open here on Wannabe Wino. The good, the bad, and the just plain ugly. The only time I don’t write about the wine is if it is corked or cooked.  It wouldn’t be fair for me to judge a wine I know to be a cooked or corked. Though I have written about ones I suspect to be cooked or corked in order to solicit your thoughts on whether my bottle really was off or if it’s just a wine I don’t like. And I appreciate your feedback on those!  It may take me a bit longer to get around to writing about the bad or meh wines, but I get there eventually. Frankly, it’s much easier to write about a wine I’m excited about, than one I chose to toss down the drain.

Do you find reviews about bad, meh, or uninspiring wines to be useful?