Reviews & Comments

R. Bark’R’s Reviews & Comments

Our own R. Bark’R provides his unique comments and reviews of the Wine Industry. Ever the rule breaker, R. has developed his personalized scale for your convenience, making assessment of anything Wine, that much quicker. The patented “IconoGlass” scale measures R.’s opinion and grades the universe of viticulture and enology. Look for the symbols which depict his conclusions:

++++ Is good.

booo! Is bad.

You get the idea right? Quite infrequently, there will be a special accolade given to that super idea or product, which R. has coined as the coveted “Bark’R”. It looks like this:


R. used his long, lost love as the model for this symbol of extreme merit.


October 2008: Grape Supplies Dramatically Reduced. Wandering through the vineyards of California’s north coast, and watching the grapes come off the vines, one thing is noted: there aren’t many grapes. Mother Nature decided that the last several years of bumper crops is enough; time to reduce yields in 2008. Good news for the lowly grape grower, as prices will firm up and increase, but not so good when you sell by the ton. And the tonnage is not hanging on the vines. Some growers experienced up to 50% reduction, while a few lost their entire crop to the spring time freezing wind. All part of the cycle, but still a real bummer! So when you open your next bottle of the good stuff, say a prayer for those in the vineyard industry. It’s not all as romantic as it seems.

June 2008: AIR in Wine. The use of an aerator, is a great idea, and all wine will benefit from putting air back into it after being cooped up in a bottle. Just try pouring a glass, taste, and then aerate the same wine….what a difference. There are many types of aeration devices on the market from silver funnels to unusual designs. One that receive a Bark’R is the Vinturi Essential Aerator, find it at . The device is worth the cost, and can be used to aerate a glass or a full bottle. Plus it has a really cool swishing sound when the wine runs through it. For those still hardened by custom, at least decant the wine before serving, whether using an aerator or not.

June 2008: Government Wine. In wine there is the good, bad and the ugly. All three coalesce in the State run alcohol systems; like Pennsylvania, among others. Wake up America, if your state runs your alcoholic beverage sale, then you are getting hosed to the tune of 30% more cost, minimum and also limitation on what you can drink. The government decides what products you can buy. Now that is bad idea. Free the Grapes America. So R. Bark’R given this idea a big…..


June 2008: Industry Consolidation. Have you read or heard about the big guys buying up the big guys. It seems every quarter or so, another one of the international wine and spirits companies acquire a former competitor. At this pace, there will be less than a half dozen major wine houses, all international, and all claiming their quality is ultra premium. Guess what, the larger the house the less the quality.

Wine is a temperamental creature, not subject to MASS production. This accounts for the growth of the small, high end, boutique, cult and handcrafted wineries. The good thing, however, is that overall, the wine industry has raised the bar on quality, and the consumer really is the winner.

So chose your wines carefully, but feel somewhat comforted by the fact that store bought wine today is far better that it was even ten years ago. And the small wineries take the industry to even higher levels of quality.