Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby Lyle Fass » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:09 pm

passetoutgrains33 wrote:Lyle,
You have made some good points, though I think the topic is a tremendously difficult one to tackle adequately, least of all codify. With your knack for making points, I would suggest that you try your hand at a more convention piece of journalism in order to better relate the problem that you see regarding american wine culture. Perhaps a story that follows two or three consumers of varying social or economic status, with their own struggle/immersion in wine culture.


Passetoutgrains,

Thanks for the response. It was a difficult subject, for sure, as there are so many facets, and I know I have only scratched the surface. That following two or three consumers thing is a great idea.
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby passetoutgrains33 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:29 pm

i am sure you could find some targets within your network. just a suggestion.
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby passetoutgrains33 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:20 pm

Oh, Lyle, I just thought: If you could capture the enthusiasm of the UK populace in the BBC show Top Gear within the parameters of the wine world, you would be on to something. Do not let it's lack of US popularity fool you. this is an amazing show. i think you would love it.
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby Ned Hoey » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:48 pm

I like the idea of following several wine lovers of various demographics as they make their choices over time, why they do and what they encounter.

Lyle,
When I find myself in your hood I will certainly look to meet up and down a few.
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby dbp » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:58 am

First, reading this I was reminded of talking to my boss just yesterday about wine, and he states, "I like wine... preferably three bottles at a time. But I can't really tell the difference between them." Basically, he's just the guy you describe in your first post.

Lyle Fass wrote:High end audio is a scam.


Was that really the point trying to be made? I find it quite interesting that you state this as fact, and give the Polk vs Wilson example. In fact it seems quite hypocritical to me, and contributes to the exact problem you're trying to solve. This is exactly how many people think of high end wine.

I generally completely agree with Ned's point vs High End audio, something I am also passionate about. But I hate walking into stores because generally the way they try and sell is by telling you that your $5,000 whatever is crap and you need what they have to offer. It's true that MOST high end shops I've been in use the approach of insulting the consumer to the point of hopefully humiliating them enough to guilt them into buying whatever wares they're peddling. That's not to say there isn't an actual difference between Polk and Wilson. Apparently you couldn't tell the difference, and that's fine. I don't believe my boss would tell much of a difference between a La Tache and a Village Burgundy. Does that mean that you and I wouldn't notice the difference? To us it'd likely be a great difference. I bet to him it'd be minor, because he isn't paying attention. Though admittedly, I too likely wouldn't have appreciated the difference if I hadn't geeked out on wine over the last number of years. Couldn't perhaps the same be true of high end audio? Are you really stating that there isn't a difference between some Polk whatever speakers and Wilson WATT/Puppies?

I make this point because you are dumbing down high end audio in just the way you say that people are dumbing down wine. Usually, because they don't understand it or aren't passionate enough about it to explore the differences. THAT is why things are dumbed down. You posting your disinterest of high end audio on a high end audio forum would probably illicit the same type of response you initially posted in this thread. Same thing, different game.

I enjoy the sound of SACDs. I think they are a marked improvement over most redbook discs. The format will never catch on in a society where 128Kbps mp3s sound good enough. But whenever I've found a friend wondering if they "can really hear the difference," I set them in front of the stereo, play the redbook layer, and switch to the SACD layer.. without fail, everyone has been amazed at the increased clarity, spacial definition, and overall enjoyment of listening. Worth the price of admission to them? Probably not worth the bother, but like with wine, once you open the door to them, and show them the difference, the people can perceive things. Thing is, most people just don't care enough to make the shift.

Of course, in both fields, you get the law of diminishing returns. Let me use the point system you hate, as an example. Obviously this is total BS, but let's say that most $3 Pinot Noirs probably would score 60. Since the scale starts at 50, that means that something "twice as good" should cost $6 and score 70, on average. Sounds fair... Okay, then something 4 times better should cost $12 and score on average 90, right? And something 5 times better would score 100 and cost $24? Probably not, due to this law of diminishing returns... same goes for high end audio. Yeah, the Wilson WATT/Puppy system probably won't sound 28 times better than the high end Polks, but will it sound better, and will the cost be worth it to those who have the money? To some, yes. Hmm... I really like this example, because the more I think about it, high end audio really is like Burgundy. Because you are right, the $10,000 amp may not sound better than the $5,000 amp (and the $200 Burgundy certainly may not taste better than the $100 one). However, generally speaking, as you approach the higher end of the scale, refinement does happen. Yes, installing that pure gold signal cable didn't double the enjoyment of my system, but it did add a few percentage points of refinement that made the overall experience more enjoyable.

It doesn't bother me one bit that people think my interest in audio (which really isn't that at all... it's an interest in music) is silly, mythical, to them. Why do you care so much if our wine culture isn't mature, anyway? Does it really take away from your enjoyment of wine? To me, it's those worrying about the maturity of the culture that are the ones creating a feeling of immaturity. Do the French worry about the maturity of their wine culture? Of course not... I also doubt they even think about whether it's mature. It's a confidence of knowledge and experience that causes them to not even think about it. I definitely agree it's true, but I just try not to let it bother me, and will certainly discuss with anyone interested in learning more about wine.

David
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby passetoutgrains33 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:06 pm

David,
I feel your pain. I have struggled with high-end audio for sometime. The big difference, and i understand where Lyle's frustration comes from, lies in the unlimited computations resulting from the juggling of components. "Oh, you purchased the $3,800 tube preamp and there is not a noticeable difference, well that is because you need this solid state phono stage." "Alright, so you got the new phono stage and now you say your missing stability in your midrange? Well, that is due to the signal loss in your speaker cables. You need these $1,200 cables, take two of these and call me in the morning." That is were, for me, high end audio falls into the realm of charlatanism. You can take one bottle of wine as it stands before you as a single experience (though I know there are possibly analogies that one might still draw: ie, drinking one gevrey-chambertin does not do one a lot of good without drinking/experiencing several others examples, neighboring villages let alone clos de beze); yet there are an infinite number of combinations of audio components - it is much harder to argue the qualities of one particular audio interconnect compared to one bottle of chorey-les-beaune. Hell, I wish it were easier. And as an audiophile, you must agree, that you are only pleased with a particular component until you can afford to replace it. Wow is this a tiring subect/comparison. though do not get me started on audio sales people, give me a used car salesman anytime.
-p
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby Lyle Fass » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:36 pm

Audio sales people are the worst. Guys who all look like they live in their parents basement. I was in the audio stores in Boston, where I went to school, all the time and was very happy with my inferior, adcom, nad, polk audio system but could still appreciate the Krell, CJ, cary setup in the store. I knew I could not afford it. But just as with RC and La tache i don't think its worth the money. High end burgundy is a scam too. It is what it is.

And in regards to the article, I do enjoy wine tremendously, and your intimation that I don't is unwarranted. If you think I sit around and worry about our culture I don't. This is a wonderful example of the limits of the internet. I wrote a piece on something I was thinking about and wanted to flesh out, which just does not mean it is my whole existence. This article is based on being in the business for a while, many recent visits to Europe and sitting around shooting the shoot with people ITB.
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby home/made » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:29 pm

Like so many new things to our very young culture, Wine has been considered the province of the wealthy, because it is was the wealthy who first had the opportunity to be exposed to the European Wine (and other) culture, to admire, and desire to emulate it. To import it, and in the begining to afford it. This like all things is changing, in truth at an extremely rapid rate, although slow to those of us living in real time...

Yes, it is true that there have been pockets of wine in the US, but again distinct from Europe, The US is far too large to generalize in most authentic catagories... California has certainly had a wine culture for generations, even if only garnered attention circa "Bottleshock" era... Locally, the wine culture in California is very different than most of the rest of the country, because for the most part, wine (along with fresh produce, bread etc...) is not for the wealthy alone... As Michael Bauer (SF's primary F&W critic)once said "...in a city (SF) where every bike messenger can tell you the different greens in his salad mix, the bar is raised..." The rest of the country is catching up... we'll get there, sooner than you think, just not tomorrow! Viva la critical (wine) mass!

Cheers!
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby passetoutgrains33 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:33 pm

Lyle,
I appreciate your ideas. I think you need an editor.
-Passetoutgrains
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Re: Lyle Fass – Word on the Street - 7-1-09; Wine Mystification

Postby Lyle Fass » Thu Aug 06, 2009 2:34 pm

Ha! Know any cheap ones?
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