Posted by: tomciocco | July 17, 2008

REAL PROGRESS AND THE FOIST

The Palstic Oeno Band

The Palstic Oeno Band

I reject the accusation that I am a Luddite. That said, I travel as many miles with my own feet as with any other mode of transportation (and I think this SHOULD be the case for a LARGE slice of the total population too). I do not use a cell phone, and I have no plans to start. The genie is likely too far out of the bottle at this point in the slog of human history, but I still believe the notion that ANYONE can buy ANY car simply because he or she’s got the money to do so is just ass backwards. For me, things like the cell phone and the automobile are examples of the foist, that is fundamentally specialty, “need to use” products marketed and sold with such force and/or lack of alternatives to them, that they come to be understood as necessities. The telephone? A truly revolutionary and useful invention. A telephone that actually attaches to the side of your head, and that remains in use for 10-12 hours a day? If I had told you that this would be you 25 years ago, what would you have said…I thought so. And with that, enough said there…

Let me give you an example of real (but not necessarily life-changing) progress with wine as the subject…It’s already happening, and it’s likely to continue, but REAL, HONEST wine is going to start showing up in ever increasing volumes in plastic bottles, obviously with a screw cap, like so many double liters of Tab, and this is no joke.

We’ve been conditioned to understand as a GIVEN that (“good”) wine comes in GLASS bottles that are this color or that shape depending on the kind of wine, and that are closed with plugs made of spongy Iberian Oak bark, and then in turn covered with colorful lead metal hoods (I’ve actually had customers reject bottles of wine that I’ve recommended simply because they had something other than a metal capsule! – Now THAT is snobbery rooted in ignorance!). When you think the concept “wine”, one of the likely images to emerge in your brain is the silhouette of that bottle. But if this were the year 1208 and not 2008, the image would have been a wooken cask, or keg, or MAYBE a demijohn

To cut a short explication long, I’m making the case not to shoot the messenger, or in this case the vessel. As long as the plastic in which these wines are shipped is as ABSOLUTELY inert as glass, and imparts no unwanted flavors or aromas to the wine, why get hung up on what the damned thing is made of, or what shape it holds? Plastic (the RIGHT plastic – and this is another issue…) is just as recyclable as glass, is cheaper to produce (less $$$ out of your pocket) and lighter as well (less $$$ again, AND less pollution too!), and is (nearly) unbreakable, so what’s not to like?! THIS to me is an example of PROGRESS: a clear step forward with little to no “side effects” to contend with as a result…

Listen, the loss of the “romance” of an emerald-glassed bottle of wine with a thick, dense, pliable capsule, a smooth, crest-embossed cork, and an elegant, colorful label is not lost on me, but a new conveyance for our favorite drink also gives lots of clever and creative folks lots of opportunities to be clever and create, and perhaps get the great gift of wine to more kinds of folks everywhere, more cheaply, and with less environmental degradation in the process. – To me, that scenario is the very ANTITHESIS of a foist – or not? Your thoughts?

TOM CIOCCO 

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