Home > Art, Life, Rants and Ramblings > How Art The Wine Is?

How Art The Wine Is?

December 9, 2021 Leave a comment Go to comments

<rant>

Wine is Art.

I always say this, and I’m willing to fight anyone who disagrees.

Same as a painting, a classical music piece, a sculpture, an architectural masterpiece, or an elaborate flower garden, well-made wine solicits the emotional response, hence it is an art form. Defining this art, there is one key difference between, let’s say, a painting and a bottle of wine – we only need to look at the painting to trigger an emotion – but we need to drink the wine to make it an ultimate art form.

A few months ago, a friend told me “I have a wine question for you”. He is a wonderful friend, but he typically drinks Bartenura Moscato, so the wine question? Okay, let’s hear it. So the question was about the wine and NFTs. NFT, which stands for Non-Fungible Token is a form of cryptocurrency, typically used to guarantee authenticity and ownership of unique forms of art or objects – this article might help if you want to learn more. So the friend was asking if he should buy NFTs of some obscure wine (there was a choice in the catalog) – and if not this wine, then maybe that wine.

Literally the next day I got a call from another friend who was asking if he should invest a good amount of money in the fund which invests in fine wines. Technically, you pay for the case (or 5, it depends on availability and demand) of unreleased wine (futures). The fund company will take ownership of that case, will store it in the proper conditions, and will report back to you a current market value of your case, so you can sell it when you think it is time – with a very large profit, of course.

It seems that these investments are flying out faster than hot potatoes in the hands of an amateur chef. That same friend called me to complain that because I didn’t give him good advice right away, the wine he was asking about was already sold out and he had to get on the waiting list for the wine of supposedly a lesser pedigree.

During last month I also heard about the same offerings from yet another friend, and then even received a direct ad in the Instagram stories, to invest in wine with a guaranteed incredible return.

Now, my question to you – a collective “you”, anyone who would spend time – is this how it should be? Yes, I get it, it is capitalism, supply and demand, of course, but the wine is made to be drunk, consumed, mesmerized upon, start crying, laughing, grabbing someone excitedly on the shoulder – but not just to be another form of the stock certificate?

Of course, there is wine collecting. There are people with access, who accumulate lots and lots of bottles, many of them very expensive and very limited, but I would assume that even the wine collectors acquire the wine to be consumed and enjoyed – not all of it, but at least some of it? This wine investment fund idea relegates wine simply to the form of another agricultural commodity – corn, wheat, cattle. Commodity trading had been around forever – nobody owns 100 bushels of rice, but anyone can make (or lose) money on it. But rice is not art – rice is simply a necessity, and yes, if you are hungry, it will solicit the emotion, but it will not be the same as when you are truly enjoying a glass of wine.

The latest entrant into the NFT craze – Robert Mondavi winery. Three of the star winemakers produced 1966 magnums of wine called MCMLXVI (that is 1966 in Roman numerals – 1966 is the year when Robert Mondavi winery was founded), Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Sauvignon blends from 2019 vintage. This wine will be packaged into specially designed porcelain bottles by the French porcelain designer Bernardaud, with each bottle having a unique QR code, and sold at $3,500. Now, when you will buy the bottle, you will get an NFT, which will assure your ownership, and there will be a connection between an NFT and that QR code on the bottle. In addition to the bottle of wine, each purchase will somehow include the generative artwork (you look it up – I guess it means a visual object/ painting generated by computer algorithm) by the artist Clay Heaton. Also, the QR code with NFT will serve as protection against counterfeiting – like the porcelain magnum bottle by itself is not enough.

So I wrote all of this, then took a pause and had to ask myself – what is your problem, dude? Everything sounds great in this picture – great winemakers, perfectly artful presentation of the perfect wine, guaranteed authenticity, and even a bonus in the form of the hot piece of art. What is my problem, really?

This wine is not created to be enjoyed as wine. This product is strictly a financial instrument. Star winemakers will attract attention. Unique packaging will attract attention. But then this is strictly sold as a financial instrument. NFTs are typically sold through an auction-like mechanism, so there clearly will be open bidding, with $3,500 being an initial price. There is also an opportunity to resell that piece of digital art, so all in all, this is strictly a money transaction. I wonder if any of these bottles will be ever open, or they will strictly exist for their monetary value.

Yes, wine is business. Yes, I’m naive. Yes, I’m romanticizing wine. Yes, you can call me old and stupid. That’s all fine. But the only way to enjoy wine is by drinking it. I love money as much as anyone else here, but still, if someone is buying wine only for its resale value, they don’t love wine, they only love money. Connecting NFTs to wine only amplifies the conversion of the wine into a financial instrument. And if wine is becoming only an abstract monetary instrument, one day someone will realize that it doesn’t matter what is in the bottle – any plonk will do. And then another day, someone will open that bottle… and… I really have no idea what will happen then. Or what will happen if one day, unhackable blockchain will be hacked, and all the NFTs will disappear – will someone then decide to drink that wine?

Wine is art. To be more precise, the wine in the closed bottle is only a potential art – or just another monetary instrument. Wine becomes art the moment it is poured into your glass. And that is the only reason for wine to exist.

</rant>

Am I missing something? Do NFTs have anything to do with enjoying the wine? Are NFTs really connected to the future of wine? Am I just jealous of the people with unlimited monetary resources? I’m ready to discuss…

  1. Mika
    December 10, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Oh, I think there is so much untapped (pun intended) potential here! Watch for someone to buy the rarest bottle and sell NFTs to it. Then post a video of it being poured down the toilet as proof of it being truly NF. I am sure you could make some serious $. Feel free to try but I want a very small commission if you do 😉

    • December 10, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Мика, не умничай.
      So I have a proposal for you. Mondavi goes on sale on December 15th. Go get the bottle and film your video, then make all the money. Added bonus – you keep the commission too.

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