Maybe, just maybe, stand for quality.
It’s kind of popular these days to be inclusive and accepting of opinions from all sides, to allow everyone his or her space to believe whatever it is that makes them happy. Sometimes, that becomes political correctness run amok, but mostly, it’s pretty great to let everyone be themselves. Unfortunately, when applied to the things in our lives – rather than our lives themselves – that open-mindedness gets out of control. [level-members]
It sounds like I’m digging myself a hole in calling for less tolerance at a time when we really need much more tolerance in so many areas. But what I’m really talking about is some kind of objective standards. Standards that say, yes, there are good wines and there are bad wines. (At nearly every price point, but that’s a different argument altogether.)
This isn’t to say that we rank Cabernet above Zinfandel, even though the former has many more fans. Or that California Pinot is better/worse than red wines from Burgundy.
Instead when I’m saying is that it’s OK to acknowledge that there really are good and bad wines at every price point and not just wines that you prefer but I don’t, or vice versa. There is something inherently better, even if that quality isn’t apparently to everyone.
My point is, you’ll go much further as an independent wine shop carving out a niche based on quality than you will trying to be all things to all people, or trying to placate those who think every wine is equally worthy of our attention.
Stand for quality, make it clear what that word means to you, and you’ll develop a following of customers who a) are similarly committed to quality and b) are looking for some guidance through what can be a too-complicated barrage of choices, even in the most well-curated shop.