Wine critics take an extremely dim view of supermarket wines. These are the wines most Americans drink, and, according to industry publications, mass-marketed varieties easily rake in hundreds of millions per year, although they sell for less than $10 a bottle. With very few exceptions, no one will allow for quality at that price.

Critics use disparaging tasting notes like “wet dog,” “skunky,” “flawed” and “simply awful” to “junkyard in a bottle," "machine oil," inner tubes” and the merely patronizing “disappointing.” It seems that nothing good can come from anywhere except abroad or small, family-owned wineries. Clearly, wine making is not a democratic profession but a cliquish one, and critics are not about to allow just anybody entree. (Their livelihood depends on their arcane knowledge, which you cannot share, for if everyone knew a good wine when they saw it, guess who’d be rendered unnecessary?)

In reality, critics are the skunky ones, for they know there’s never a shortage of snobbery and those willing to pay. They also know that very few of even the best wines cost more than $10 a bottle to produce, but that takes all the fun out of it.

While by no means a sommelier, I’ve drunk Moselle along the Moselle and love Dom as much as the next dame, but it’s also true that nothing goes better with goat Brie than Apothic Crush ($9.99 if you watch for drugstore and supermarket specials.) And after years of writing all kinds of reviews, I’ve come to this conclusion: Wine is like a car. If you want to show off, then you have to spend a lot.

Just to get where you want to go, that’s a $10 ride.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at

Designing Women

Designing Women of Acadiana celebrated its first-year anniversary at Downtown Pop Up. More than a party, the group made an informal announcement to partner with University Plaza to revitalize the Four Corners area of Lafayette. “It will be a phased endeavor that will include updating and revitalizing the original Coca-Cola bottling facility at 1506 Cameron St.,” said Maureen Dugas. A good time was had by all, and the ladies commanded a space at downtown’s first Park(ing) Day, an outdoor, all-day conference table designed to attract discussion for the Four Corners rejuvenation. Never underestimate the power of women.

Scholarship Banquet

Forty-four fortunate University of Louisiana at Lafayette students received scholarships at the College of Education School of Kinesiology banquet. Hosted by the Petroleum Club, proud friends and family members packed the ballroom for some well-deserved accolades and celebration, among them Grant Bernard, Keli Doles, Rheanna Fontenot, Alisa Chataignier and Richard Yongue, grandson of local matriarch Virginia Yongue. Championed by Carol Trosclair, over $130,000 has been bestowed in David Trosclair Scholarships in the past seven years.

Visual Art Showcase

Abacus hosted “Art of the Body” its first Visual Art Showcase featuring Brittney Pelloquin, Dirk Guidry and Cory Stewart painting live for the audience. Pelloquin was busy with her “Skin Wars” claim to fame, Stewart was in the portrait process and live event guy Guidry painted the event itself, of course, which Abacus would be crazy not to buy for the bar. “Tonight, we’re doing live body painting to engage with viewers, so they could see the process from start to finish,” said Pelloquin. The event was part of a series — there are three more to come — staged by John Melancon, of Melancon Art Initiatives. “We’re trying to get artists paid for their work,” said Melancon, who pairs his 48 members with Lafayette venues. “You don’t have to be a big-time artist to make a living.”

Humanities Luncheon

The Friends of the Humanities held its fall luncheon at the Petroleum Club, featuring former Louisiana Poet Laureate Darrell Bourque. Guests enjoyed a buffet extravaganza, in addition to 26 minutes on the topic “Memory, Love, the Humanities and Why All That Matters.” Among the more than 100 reservations were recovering legislator Ron Gomez, new members Cynthia Vige and Marilyn Dejean, present and past presidents Mag Ritchey and Judy Kennedy, UL-Lafayette's new creative writing director Sadie Hoagland and Fifi Billeaud, who also happened to be celebrating her birthday.

Happy Anniversary

Adel deValcourt celebrated Handstar Clay Studio's third anniversary at East St. Mary with all the trimmings.  The part-ceramic school, part workshop invited guests and patrons for cocktails and cake, raffle prizes and gift certificates, but the real gift was young classical guitarist Pablo Pellerin, who riffs like a pro. Oh, and Gigi, who greeted visitors and even had a paw for the press.