Monday, August 9, 2010

Can't Get Enough of Those Wine-Criticism Crisps!

Past readers of this blog know I enjoy looking at how criticism operates in non-art fields, and that wine reviewing is one area where I've found some past analogies or lessons for art criticism. Reading Billy Munnelly's lastest book, "Billy's Best Bottles 2010," I've found a few more. It's not too hard to see how these excerpts from Munnelly's "20 wine things I've learned in 20 years" could also perhaps apply to the visual field:

1) There will always be more good wine than any of us can drink.

3) The more you know about wine the harder it is to be open to new experiences. We develop expectations and shun surprises. Don't be a knower.

7) There is too much shine and glitz in winemaking. Too many overworked, perfect wines. A little imperfection and individual expression can add interest and make a wine feel real.

15) Wine culture is closely aligned with cafe culture. Wine needs to be readily available, low-priced and down-styled. It needs to be inclusive. Magazines which celebrate exclusive, high-priced wines in high-end settings deliver the wrong message.

19) While some might wish that there were less variety in wine, it's the variety that makes it exciting. And allows us to connect to life's endless variety of times, situations and moods.

Myself, I find #3 a particular challenge. But a worthy one!

Granted, there's a lot about Munnelly's approach that does not fit in with art criticism, like his tendency to classify wines according to mood and utilitarian function. In any case, I appreciate his straightforward and friendly approach--he "never uses wine jargon or confusing gobbledygook--wines are described in everyday terms." He definitely walks the talk on inclusivity.

Image of the Wine Sugar Crisps Bear from Boing Boing

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