“Try Before You Buy” is a Great Way to Discover New Wine

2 Nov

          I got a call yesterday from David Maggard, the “Wine Man”.  David is a fellow Houstonian who markets wine in what is, to me, a somewhat unique way.  As I understand it, he finds little known, underappreciated wines he likes, negotiates distribution contracts and markets them directly to consumers.  He does not, as I understand it, maintain a storefront.  He donates wine tasting lunches and dinners to charity auctions where he showcases his wines – most of which are quite reasonably priced.  He is a fabulous cook, a charming guy and his events are wonderful.  Once you are a customer, he sends emails of new offerings.  Last night he called and offered to bring a few bottles that he thought we might like to our house for a private tasting.

          There’s something about the image of a “door-to-door” wine salesman that I find intrinsically appealing.  First, I always enjoy an opportunity to experience something personally before I buy it.  There are many great wine reviewers out there and I often value what they have to say.  But sometimes my preferences are different than the “experts”.  That really plays to my advantage, because wines that receive wide critical acclaim have price tags that reflect their good fortune.  Research shows that I’m not unique, but am rather part of a nationwide trend.  A recent study of top U.S. wine retailers conducted by Napa Technology found that “76 percent of retailers agree that wine buying customers are savvier than they were 4 years ago.   Today’s consumers are willing to pay more, when given the opportunity to sample wine before they buy”[i]

          Secondly, wine sometimes seems so clouded in an aura of mystery and intimidation.  As with any commodity, quality, rarity and demand influence price.  I love fine wine and I love fine food.  But just as I would not choose to dine at the French Laundry every day, I do not choose to indulge in elite wines every day.  Living in Europe part time has opened my eyes to the culture of wine as a part of everyday life.  In Italy, good quality local wines are readily available at very reasonable prices.  I love to apply the “comfort food” approach to wine.  I like to invite it into a meal like family, where it can, like family, fade into the background and contribute positively to the overall experience simply by being itself.  And if someone wants to come to my door and introduce me to “family”, I think that is perfect.  It was so perfect, in fact, that I bought 4 cases.  Thanks, David for a lovely evening and making the discovery of new wines so easy and enjoyable.

David Maggard

The Wine Man



[i]Top 40 Wine Retailers Weigh in on Trends; Napa Technology Survey Shows Retailers Adding Tasting to Aisles and Profits”, World news Report October 19, 2011 (http://www.einnews.com/247pr/241842)

photo from http://www.wineman.biz/about.html


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