Past THWR Articles

Go inside the mind and liver of Hanes through his past rants. Informative, trenchant and always digressive, you’ll be certain to learn something. Whether or not you wanted to learn that is up for debate...

The Internet, Where Content Is King!
A dollar, a dream and a high speed internet connection. How many wine lovers have been ambitious enough to conquer the internet with their mighty wine kung fu? Looks like too many.

A Confederacy of Redundancies
Is there anything new under the sun?

Can You Get To That?
Non-wine rant. We’re all guilty, only question is what will we do about it?

Investigative Market Reporting
To succeed in big business you need good market intelligence. Here’s all you need to know to crush the wine retailing competition in Concord, North Carolina.

Who’s Buying Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc?
Let’s follow the trending of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Is it still as popular as ever? Fading from fashion? A sleeping giant? Too Big To Fail? Hanes knows.

Painting With Broad Strokes
Is anything gained (or lost) when one employs a “vintage generalization” regarding a given wine region in a certain year? Maybe yes, maybe no. You make the call!

I’d Like To Speak With The Owner
When it comes to figuring out who really owns that cool, hip boutique wine store, it’s usually a safe bet to say not the person with the business card that says “Proprietor” on it. The saying goes “behind every good man there’s a good woman.” Well, behind every wine geek wine store owner there’s the guy with the money…

Battle for the Bottom
First everyone was wild about cheap Australian Shiraz. Lately it’s been Argentinean Malbec. What’s the next aspirant to the throne of best cheapest category of red wine? Some might say Spanish Garnacha…

Lagering Behind The Others
Hanes has been expanding his knowledge of beer as well as his gut. It’s kind of weird to shift from wine geek to beer geek. But, at the end of the day, you’re still drunk. So, it’s all good.

Get ’Em While They’re Cheap
There’s usually no lack of cheap wine out there but good cheap wine is another story. Portugal’s white wines remains one of the few established types of wine, especially European, which has not doubled in price over recent years. Chug quickly, while you still can!

It’s Good to Be The King
Everyone is feeling the pinch during these troubled economic times. Consumers, retailers, wholesalers, wineries. But life is a zero sum game, if someone is losing someone has to be winning. Who dat be? He with the most cash wins.

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Lo and behold, wine retailing is not the same all over this great country of ours! How the hell did that happen? Learn about some scintillating differences between floggin cheap swill in New York and North Carolina!

It’s Never Too Early for Tempranillo
What is it about the Tempranillo grape that makes it so reminiscent of Tempranillo? Hanes has the answer, whether the wine is expensive or cheap. Who’s buying?

High Prices Can Hurt Everyone
When times are bad, who in the wine business gets hurt the most? Who has to eat the price increases along the sales chain and who sees their margins reduced the most? What happens to the end consumer in recessionary times? How the hell should Hanes know? But he’ll try and answer anyway!

Make Some Room, You Damn Crocodile!
What information does one find on wine labels? What legally has to be there? What’s useful or not? Where are the recipes and pictures of missing children? As usual, Hanes answers all.

Tanked on Bubblies
What makes Champagne different from other sparking wines? What methods exist to make sparkling wines beyond those employed in Champagne? What are the qualitative results. So many questions!

Trained in Vain
Not all grapevines are created - or shaped - equally. As climate changes accelerate will it be back to square one for some vines? That’s scary!

You Get Thirsty on a Deserted Island
Wine geeks love to pose dumb hypothetical questions and debate stupid stuff like how many winemakers can dance on the head of a pin. In this spirit, what would you choose if you could only drink wines from one white wine grape and one red wine grape for the rest of your life?

A Wine Offer You Can’t Refuse
An untapped source of value and unique wines, Hanes often overlooks the wines of Sicily. No more. Complete with the usual tired allusions to the island’s most famous export.

What Age Maturity?
Hanes is tired of pulling duds out of his cellar, wines that don’t develop they way he wanted them to. Why must he even age wines? Can science rescue him? Why does he insistently quote movies from the 1980’s?

A Grape by Any Other Name
Watch Hanes flop around trying to figure out how to best accommodate the different linguistic names for grapes and wine blends while trying to structure a searchable and sortable database.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
Global warming remains a bad thing but lushes across the world can at least take heart in some benefits. Here, we explore the potential upside for the red wines of Germany.

Summertime and the Living Is Easy…
Summertime can be lots of fun for wine lovers. Here’s a few guidelines to help you maximize the unique opportunities the season presents.

Numbers Games
How come you can never find the wines Hanes reviews? Watch him skirt all blame via the usual linguistic gymnastics as he discusses wine production amounts and availability.

Nothing Micro About It
When is wine not wine? Depends on who you ask. How do you convince the world it’s high time to stop comparing apples to oranges? Slowly, very slowly…

Not On Hanes’s Dime
Naturally, it’s all a matter of personal palate preference (PPP) and wallet size, but here’s a brief look at the wines on which Hanes is least likely to spend his own hard-earned coin. Free donations of wine intended to change his mind, as always, welcome.

It’s A Slippery Slope Into Necrophilia
Wine collecting is not only expensive it is fraught with perils. Witness Hanes once more role model how not to behave and gain sage wisdom from his follies.

Zwei Go to All the Trouble?
It’s great that some grapes get to jetset all over the globe to put their roots down. But it’s also praiseworthy to maintain an interest in wines made from grapes grown in but a single or few countries. Here, we lavish that praise on certain Austrian grapes and the red wines they make.

Distributing the Praise and the Blame
Believe it or not, wines don’t just “end up” on the shelves of your local retailer or on the wine list at your local restaurant or wine bar. The United States cedes lots of power to the middle man, that being the wholesale distributor. What makes one different from the other? The hard stuff, baybee!

The “Black Wine” Makes a Comeback
As old favorites become more expensive we are often forced to look for new inexpensive wines to slurp. Sometimes these new wines have longer histories than we are aware of. Such may be the case with the fun grape called Malbec, today popularized by Argentina mainly as inexpensive quaffers. Journey into the past of the Malbec grape and see how it got to where it is today.

Boy, Peel Me a Grape!
It's so basic, how could one not overlook it? Yes, the very grape itself. Well, no longer. Explore the physical entity called the grape with your own personal Beatrice, Hanes.

I’ll Take a Chardonnay With That Latte and No Starch on the Shirts, Please
Hanes is all for unbridled optimism, minus the unbridled optimism part, but this is getting ridiculous. Just how many wine stores can New York City support? That’s the question Hanes ponders within.

Go West, Young Body Gendered Male!
The Australian wine industry has had many ups and downs in the past half a dozen years or so. Many successes with cheap wines as well as with “boutique” small-production wines. Then many problems with over-production and wine gluts. Throughout it all, the focus remains on South Australia. Well, no longer! Join Hanes for a quick tour of Western Australia’s wine regions.

What Was That Grape Again?
It’s never simple in the wacky world of wine. Just when you thought you could tell a Pinot Noir from a Merlot, Hanes asks can you tell a Pinot Noir from a Pinot Noir? Immerse yourself in the world of grape clones and become even more befuddled.

It Ain’t Easy Being Green
Hanes doesn’t have anything against ripe wines. He doesn’t have anything against fruity wines. But he does have an axe to grind with wines that lack “physiological ripeness” and thus have what’s called “green” tannins. Can anyone possibly satisfy this persnickety Hanes?

Color Me Impressed
Wine tasting notes wax poetic about this color or that regarding the wine in question. But the question is, does the color actually tell us anything about the wine? Here Hanes hems and haws on what information color imparts.

It’s The Thought That Counts
Witness Hanes at his snarkiest best, discussing the joys of helping people give the wonders of wine as holiday gifts. Where’s the grain alcohol and funnel?

Drawing a Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc Around the World
The “ABC” (Anything But Chardonnay) movement is lame and more or less dead so we cool people all need a new target to poke fun at beyond Chardonnay. Could it be Sauvignon Blanc?

Calibration, It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore!
Hanging onto every word of World Famous Wine Reviewers like Hanes is a wise and judicious course of action. However, reading wine reviews is most helpful when the perspective of the reviews remain consistent over time. Figure out the merits of palate “calibration” herein.

Let Campania Keep You Company
Although few know them well, Italy’s Campania region makes some delicious white wines. Get the 411 on them right here.

Even an Alcoholic Has Limits
The alcoholic content of wines just keeps going up and no one seems to care. Except, naturally, Hanes. Feel his pain.

Exploring the Standards for an "AVA" in the U.S.
Come explore the phenomenon of new American Viticultrual Areas and the Santa Rita Hills AVA in particular. Come!

What Types of Wine Gets Reviewed?
A gloss on how the wine industry looks at wine categories by price, quality, etc. versus how Hanes does so, all in order to explain what THWR is about.

Everyone Has Their Limit
Watch Hanes throw in the towel on trying to keep up with and taste the zillion of cheap Australian wines flooding the United States. The lousy wuss.

Rocks In Yer Head
What is meant when Hanes talks about minerality or stoniness or similar wine descriptors? Why do you need a driver's license to buy liquor when you can't drink and drive? OK, let's stick with minerals...

How Much Wine Is Enough?
Why does Hanes own so much wine? What does he plan to do with it? Herein, a cautionary tale and lesson for the wise...

Doing the Saint "Vitis" Dance
Are you aware that most grapes used in wine are not indigenous to the United States? Learn more than you need to know about indigenous Vitis grapes, indigenous hybrids and non-indigenous hybrids in the United States.

An Imprecise Balancing Act
How does a wine reviewer balance the needs of the neophyte reader with those of the learned expert? OK, but how does Hanes do it?

The Skinny on Wine Importing
Understand the trend of increasing consolidation in wine importing and figure out if Hanes should become a “boutique” wine importer/distributor.

The Current State of Californian Cabernet Sauvignon Hanes flounders on the topic of recommending good, inexpensive Calfornian Cabs. He throws in some history to try and cover up his general dislike for the wines.

The Unexpurgated History of the Mourvèdre Grape Everything you wanted to know about Mourvèdre but were afraid to ask.

The Wines of Long Island, NY Hanes steps up to the plate and delves into the winemaking regions of Long Island, New York. Adds new depth and meaning to "taking one for the team."

The Romance of Searching for New Wines or "Not!" It may seem like a lot of fun to travel the globe in search of new wines to import to the United States. "Seem" being the operative word. In the end, it's just a business like any other.

"G" Is for Gewürztraminer All sing the praises of the mighty grape we call Gewürztraminer! OK, maybe not sing, just enunciate clearly.

Hanes's Holiday Wish List Hanes concocts his list of things he'd like to see in the world of wine. Knowing full well it'll be a cold day in hell before more than a couple are realized...

Defending the Honor of Beaujolais Too many times people think all Beaujolais tastes like Beaujolais Nouveau. Hanes steps in here to prove this assumption horribly flawed.

The Shake-Out on Sediment Why does sediment occur in a bottle of wine? What are all those things floating around in there? Don't worry, it's safe to go back into the water...

What Is This Guy Trying to Prove? More delving into the mysteries of THWR in the hopes of explaining some aspects which may be confusing to the new reader or any rational person.

Paying for the Zins of Others Hanes opines on his love of the Zinfandel grape, throws in a little history and 'splains why he drinks fewer of them than he once did.

Hanes's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test No scientist he, but Hanes makes a good faith effort at explaining what acidity in wine means and how it effects flavors, aging and shit like that.

A Romp Through Italy's Alto Adige Wine Region Few imbibers of the vine have taken the time to grasp how diverse the wines of this region are. If you read this article you will not be one of them!

How to Order Wine in a Restaurant Here's some tips for sifting through a restaurant wine list and finding the winners. You'll pay too much anyway but probably less than you might have otherwise. Learn to be a recluse like Hanes already!

The Beauty of Viognier Hanes sings the praises of the wonderful Viognier grape. Read this once and be converted for life!

The Platonic Form of the Wine Bar A topic dear to Hanes's so-called heart, he provides the key ingredients to the perfect wine bar. That is, the kind of place you'd probably hate.

Digging South African Wines They make a lot of wine in South Africa. Maybe you've tried some. Maybe not. In any event, read about them here.

The Official History of THWR Hanes answers the usual lame questions of how he got into wine and started inflicting his mindless wine rantings on the world. Thanks, Hanes.

Sparkling Wines Under $20 If you're a lousy cheapskate or just a street grifter like Hanes, what are your options for inexpensive sparkling wines? Hanes spills the beans.

The Wines of New England and Upstate New York It's bucolic and they have wines. What the hell else do you need???

Embrace the Unknown Hanes blathers on about something or another. What the hell was he thinking?

Exploring South American Wines Hanes leads a guided tours of the major viticultural areas of South America and explains what grapes are grown where.

Decanters and When to Decant a Wine What types of decanters are best? What types of wines should be decanted? Get your answers here!

Drinking a Lot of Wine Catch Hanes in another moment of reflection as he ponders how much wine he consumes on a regular basis.

Exploring White Bordeaux Wines Too often ignored, Hanes sings the praises of the white dry table wines of Bordeaux. Who can ignore them now?

A Rosé By Any Other Name Learn how rosé wines are made and where they come from. And how we can make them go back.

Buying Wine Futures Did you know you can buy certain wines as "futures"? Uhh, well now you do. Especially if you read this!

Just Desserts Travel around the globe with Hanes exploring the dessert wines each country has to offer. Sweet!

Fluctuations in Wine Prices Why do the prices of wine change so much? What drives this? How can I help? Hanes knows.

New Year's Resolutions Hanes shares his super-lame resolutions for the new year. No comment as to whether or not any of them were fulfilled…

Understanding Spanish Wine Labels Can you read very small print? If so, you are in luck with Spanish wine labels as most of the useful information is in tiny print. Hanes provides a magnifying glass here for your reading pleasure.

Single Varietal Wines Versus Blends Are wines made one single varietal/grape better than blends of different grapes? Or vice versa? Who knows? Why, Hanes, of course!

Selecting Wedding Wines Prodded on by the occasion of his sister's wedding, Hanes offers sage advice on choosing wines for a wedding or other similar special event.

More Hanes Navel Gazing Even more most excellent Hanes sollipsism, here he ruminates on why he seems to have stopped drinking inexpensive wines.

How to Use a Corkscrew Well, it sure sounds easy! Maybe yes, maybe no, depends on if you are Hanes or not…

An Embarrassment of Riches To know Hanes is to be embarrassed by him! Learn how Hanes frequently ends up with egg on his face if not wine on his head.

Understanding German and Austrian Wine Labels It is a little known fact but German wine label designers get paid by the word. Hanes analyzes these wine labels to separate the wheat from the chaff for you, dear reader.

Confessions of a Wine Reviewer Just how glamorous is the life of the wine critic? What is the process of analzying a wine and creating a tasting note? Here's the most revealing curtain pull since the Wizard of Oz!

Sommelier: Friend or Foe? Is the restaurant's sommelier a trusted aide or just someone trying to move some product? Here's what to look for in a good patron/sommelier relationship.

To Age or Not to Age Your Wine Should a particular wine be aged? If so, why? What happens during the aging process? Hanes shares a few pointers.

Understanding Italian Wine Labels If you're like Hanes you need help understanding all those words on the labels of imported wines. Here Hanes explains what many of the key Italian words are on, uhh, Italian wine labels.

Different Strokes for Different Folks Hanes explains why some wines are difficult to find and how the different types of wine stores play a role in this availability. Or lack thereof.

The Root of All Evil An emergency medical procedure forces Hanes to rethink his wine buying habits and the relentless upwards spiraling of the prices he is willing to pay for wine.

Foiled Again Everyone seems to care about using natural corks or synthetic corks but few care about those little metal or plastic sheaths called the "capsule." Well, Hanes cares.

What Do These Wine Geeks Mean When They Say "QPR"? Learn more about wine geek-speak and how wine lovers describe wines they consider great values for the price. After all, one can never know enough acronyms.

Is Wine Cheaper Where It Is Made? When one visits California, France or some other wine producing region, should one stock up on wine there based on the assumption that it will cost less than back home? Don't believe the hype...

Wine Storage Tips For better or worse, wine is one of the most sensitive agricultural products humanity has yet to reap. Learn how you are destroying the fruits of vintner's sweat and hard labor.

Red Wines for Summer Not into white wine or rosé? Here are some suggestions for red wines suitable for summer quaffing.

Shelf Talkers Ruminate with Hanes on the meaning of those little description cards often found next to certain wine displays in wine stores.

Wholesaler Portfolio Tastings Step behind the closed doors of some of the largest portfolio tastings where hundreds of wines get to live or be thrown to the lions.

It's a quaint stroll down memory lane for Hanes to read some of his first opinions on The Wacky World of Wine. While his earliest articles may no longer be current or up to snuff it is (somewhat) revealing to look at the early stuff so as to track the evolution of one person's wine knowledge over time. Otherwise, you can skip these as they are here mostly for the sake of posterity. Ohh, that foolish young Hanes…

In-Store Tastings and Wine Classes Weigh the pros and cons of those little plastic cups in your ongoing wine education.

The Merits of Tasting Notes Hanes exhorts one and all to begin taking notes — why, one day you too can publish your wine reviews!

Wine Review Lemmings Hanes cuts off his nose to spite his face and criticizes the overreliance by many wine drinkers on wine reviews.

Glassware and Winery Direct Ordering A few random musings on the merits of specialized glasware and purchasing wine directly from wineries.

Tips for Reading French Labels Uhhh, maybe, Hanes provides tips for reading French labels?

Seasonal Sales Learn why and when many wine retailers have special sales to make way for newly released stock.