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Well, I don’t believe in name calling … but Peterson, the co-founder and winemaker of Sonoma’s Ravenswood Winery has clearly gone mad. Loco. Insane.

Peterson has gone postal.

The cowboy with the bravado, the one who has long embraced the motto “No Wimpy Wines,” says he’s planning to make a white zinfandel, which is a decidedly wimpy wine by hardcore killer zin fanatics who see this sweet wine as a counterfeit, a fake a sham.

White zinfandel, for the uninitiated, is typically a sweet, pink-colored blush wine made from zinfandel, which otherwise produces a bold and spicy red wine. White zin can taste like fruit punch because of its high sugar content, which accounts for its popularity with the masses, most notably the novice wine drinker. Brazen zin stalwarts call it a “sell-out” wine.

Peterson said … in so many words … he’s back pedaling from his “No Wimpy Wines” stance because the economic downturn has made him a sell-out. At least that’s what I deduce from the following quote. What do you think?

“Our market research and focus group feedback indicates that most Americans prefer sweet, insipid, bland, oaky wines, which by definition are lacking in interest, complexity or character.”  He adds, “Obviously this is a very large market segment that Ravenswood had heretofore left untapped.  Given the onslaught of high-volume popular wines that reinforce this research, I have finally agreed that it is time to make a truly wimpy wine.”

According to Ravenswood’s release: “Effective immediately Ravenswood Winery will produce only large-volume, insipid, weak, lame, bland, dull, non-specific wines that have a full measure of sugar added.  Peterson notes, ‘Our research shows that many successful consumer products have corn syrup added to them, therefore, there is no reason why a successful wimpy wine should not follow the trend.’”  

The release says the first wine in the “Wimpy Wines Discovery Series” will be a cloyingly sweet white zinfandel. The package will be adorned by a new brightly-colored label, with Ravenswood’s iconic “circle of ravens” replaced by a ring of hot-pink flamingos which evoke a gentler image, free of character and conviction, and echo the candy-like sweetness of the wine itself.  Ironically, according to Peterson, this is the same type of wine that originally drove Ravenswood to adopt its “No Wimpy Wines” policy in the first place.

Enough? Yes, this is April Fools Day and you don’t need a second cup of coffee to realize you’ve been played. The upside? Peterson is not mad, loco, insane. The cowboy still has his bravado.

For curiosity’s sake … are you a white zin basher? Or are you in the other camp, a white zin enthusiast? Has this white zin bashing gone too far? Is there a place for white zin in Wine Country? Or should white zin be banished forever?