Wisconsin Wine Story Falls Short
This week, The Wisconsin State Journal ran an article titled, “Sales Continue to Lag at Wisconsin Wineries.” The story contains some interesting facts- Wollersheim produces 31% of Wisconsin wine and Wisconsin wine has about 5% market share in the Badger State.
However, the story is full of fallacious arguments and unsupported claims about Wisconsin wine. Here are just a few of the problems with the State Journal article:
Portraying Subjective Experience as Fact– Pointing out valid wine flaws is constructive criticism. Saying a wine is “bad” because it does not conform to your tastes is presumptuous and arrogant. For example, the article makes the tired argument that all sweet wine is bad. At what percentage residual sugar does a wine become “bad”? Please tell me, I’d really like to know.
Playing to the Popular Theme– We’ve all heard the following argument used in regard to Midwest wine: The majority of people like wine from California (or France, Chile, etc.), therefore California wine is good. Note to State Journal: Believe it or not, I once had a slimy bratwurst in Wisconsin that was full of gristle, but not all Wisconsin bratwurst is bad because of this one bad sausage.
Using Small Numbers to Make a Large Statement– From one interview, we learn that “the majority of Wisconsin wine drinkers, (who) avoid most of the stuff made from state wineries.” To really learn the opinions of Wisconsin wine drinkers would require a formal survey. My experience at Wisconsin wineries- and I have been to more than a few- is that customers like home state wine.
Argument by Selective Observation– This fallacy is similar to drawing broad conclusions by generalization. For example, the comment, “Botham added that he rarely encounters a state wine that is even remotely well-crafted,” forms the basis for an argument that Wisconsin wine is substandard. Granted, there are wineries making flawed wine across the region. We all wish these wineries would improve, but overall, quality is improving.
Here are some of the quality Wisconsin wineries that we’ve profiled in Midwest Wine Press. (These are by no means the only quality wineries in Wisconsin.) Wollersheim is one of the best wineries in the United States which shows the enormous potential for Wisconsin wine and Midwest wine.