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Wine Facts or Wine Opinions?

This blog entry is just a little Sunday reading, a rave or preaching. You can take your pick. While in Las Vegas for the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association Conference, we have met several sommeliers. Kathy asked one about the Pahrump wineries. The sommelier had visited the Pahrump Valley Winery several years ago. He was quick to say that the wines were not very good and vineyards shouldn’t be planted in Nevada. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. This is an example of just that, an opinion. When someone makes a comment about wine, the majority of times it is an opinion. In order to be a fact, there needs to be data to back up the comment. This is probably the easiest way to differentiate between a factual comment and an opinion. There is no data to back up opinions. Those who read about wine should be mindful of facts and opinions.

Now regarding the comment that the wines in Pahrump aren’t very good. A fact is that there are plenty of people visiting the two winery tasting rooms and buying the wine. True, some will not like it while others certainly will. The same can be said for the Bordeaux area of France. It is okay for people to not like the wines and to like them.

Regarding the comment that grapes should not be grown in Nevada, that comment is rather short sighted. Grapes are one of the most complex living organisms on our planet. They have adapted to countless environments. For new wine regions, one of their challenges is to discover the grapes that will do well in their particular environment. Nevada is relatively new to the grape growing scene and it will take years of experimenting to discover the grape varieties that will do well throughout the state.

We have met many growers. A frequent comment they make is that they were told, presumedly by knowledgeable individuals, that they can not grow grapes or a particular variety of grape in an area. Time and time again, growers have proved the knowledgeable people wrong. That doesn’t mean that growers don’t give up on a variety and pull it out to replace it with another variety. Gimblett Gravels is a wonderful example of this. The area in the Hawkes Bay region of the North Island of New Zealand was so desolate that 50 years ago no one could give the land away. Then someone decided to plant a vineyard and was told that he could not grow grapes there. Now it is nearly impossible to buy land in Gimblett Gravels to plant grapes. It is one of the best wine growing regions in the world.

Pahrump reminded us a bit of Gimblett Gravels. Give the growers time. Time to establish the perfect varieties to grow in Pahrump and time for the vineyards to mature. Then decide for yourself. Some people will like the wines and say they are good. Others will not like the wines and say they are not good. This is the way of opinions.


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