I have to admit, I didn't think we would be THAT successful with changing people's opinions about Merlot.
Merlot has been a bad word since the movie "Sideways" came out in 2004, and even the people who buy the few bottles we sell every year seem embarrassed about picking one up. They usually offer up an excuse of some sort. "I hate Merlot, but this bottle is actually pretty good" or some similar explanation. I've got news for you, you like Merlot and that is ok.
People think that liking Merlot makes them an uncultured rube. I've actually had people come up to the tasting bar in our wine shop excited to try the red and white we are pouring that day, just to change their mind once they see the word "Merlot" on the label. With a wave of their hand, they say "no thanks, I don't drink Merlot," as if they caught us in a trick at the last moment.
Imagine how surprised we were when our "Much Maligned Grapes: Merlot" class sold out! We packed 26 people into our classroom and fed them 5 different Merlot's from all over the world as they listened to me rant about "Sideways" and Juniper Cooper from Mutual Distribution talk about each wine.
The amazing thing was, the attendees really liked the wines! We sold out of the bottles we brought in for the event. Looking at our inventory afterwards you would think we had been robbed. It was the most Merlot purchased in one day since we opened our doors six years ago.
Did we change the course of wine history? Have we officially ended the stigma of drinking Merlot? Only time will tell, but yes.