Sunday Read: Can Wines Be Works of Art?

It’s been silent on this blog for way too long. We were traveling for an extended weekend last weekend, and then work caught up with me. Given that I spend most of my working days writing, and work had increased quite a bit, I was just tired and could not get myself to write any more…

Let me try to get back into the habit with this Sunday Read. Over the last weeks, I have thought about whether wines could be seen as works of art (mostly in the context of explaining why pricing can be so far away from actual production cost). It a matter of coincidence that I came across this post on the blog of Dwight Furrow. I was fortunate to come across his blog Edible Arts through my friend Tracy who has started a great series of introducing her readers and the ones she reads to each other (it’s a great post combined with soup recipes, so go check it out!).

Dwight takes the approach of comparing the definition of arts (hard enough, trust me, as a lawyer this is one of the more hilarious definitions you will ever come across) with wine making. He reports that many philosophers would disagree with the assessment that wines can be art. From there, he moves on to explain why he does believe they are pieces of art comparing wines to performance art, and I really liked that idea.

So, have a great Sunday, enjoy the sun as long as you can!!

Dwight Furrow: Can Wines Be Works of Art?

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17 thoughts on “Sunday Read: Can Wines Be Works of Art?

  1. Stefano says:

    Interesting perspective. I think I am going to second Anatoli’s earlier comment – wait a moment, let me just qualify it slightly: GOOD wine is a work of art, bad wine is a disgrace! ;-)

  2. vinoinlove says:

    I wouldn’t say that wine is art but then everybody has its own definition of art. Wine is definitely a cultural good but it’s not art.

  3. Wonderful read, thanks for introducing us to Dwight! Although I’d never really thought of it, there actually is some good reasoning behind considering wine an art. I often think that baking taps into my artistic side. Who’s to say that a delicious cupcake priced at $4.50 in the bakery isn’t art also?! ;)

  4. talkavino says:

    Outside of any economic or law considerations, a lot of soul goes into the creation of the wine, and wine solicits the emotional response on many levels. Wine is art, no matter what anyone says.

  5. saucygander says:

    As someone who has a law degree, I’d like to see that definition of art! Great read.

    • Well, you asked for it:

      Initially, the Constitutional Court applied the “material definition of art”: “The core of artistic activity is the free, creative composition of the artist’s impressions and experiences through the medium of a language of forms for direct exposure.” (1971, Mephisto decision)

      Later, it developed a “formal definition” (a HORRIBLE idea): “The core of art is that it can be categorized according to established forms of art, like sculpture, painting or poetry.”

      And then the now adopted “open definition”: The core element of artistic expression is that it is possible to find ever new interpretations with farther reaching implications through renewed and constant interpretation because of the variety of expressive content which in turn leads to practically inexaustable multi-tiered information sharing.” (1984)

      That is being interpreted to mean pretty much anything that the “artist” claims to be art is considered art. :) They’ve given up on a legal definition. I don’t blame them…:)

  6. zelda sydney says:

    Hi Oliver,

    I was thinking about that a while back and did a cartoon. Hope you enjoy:

    http://theillustratedwine.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/when-wine-is-like-art/

    Thanks for the post and link and Cheers!

  7. ksbeth says:

    a delightful approach to the question

  8. I worked on this interesting topic :) There is a concept according to which wine is a cultural good and as such comparable with other works of arts :) This however is a economic theory. What would a lawyer say about it :D

  9. I love fortuitous coincidences!

    I enjoyed Dwight’s blog on this topic — and his philosophy-professor way of saying “We long ago gave up the idea that the artist’s intention is the definitive word on the meaning of a work of art.”

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