Straight from the producer

Like visiting those birds

or fish

that take a chance in between the teeth of bigger, generally uglier creatures, I called in this morning to the weekly farmers' market that sets up on the plaza of Mammon Point Shopping Centre, to do some buying direct from the producer. The market is so engaging you hardly notice the maw of the beast gaping behind you. I forgot the camera: left it in the car, so just pointed and clicked when I left:

I was going to write about how the wine merchants who work with smaller producers are the closest thing you'll get to buying direct from the winemaker - I bet (and I hope, for their sake) the wine buyers at the supermarkets don't wake up from a dream discussing pallet loading with an angry vigneron in the South of France, the way I did this morning.

But that's too debatable to make an interesting debate.

Rather, I thought since I'd started, so I'll finish: with critters. Animals on wine labels as a marketing device, to be more explicit. Tom Wark cuts to the chase.

The only real critters at Bubble Brothers, apart from one or two stylized or pseudo-heraldic ones, are the blue cranes on our Colombar and Merlot from Goedverwacht in South Africa (at least there's a reason for their being on the label); some prehistoric bones on Vintaroo from Australia (only visible if you know what you're looking for); from Chile, etiolated llamas on the Ventura labels, and finally, from Chile again, the nearest we come to the 'burping bandicoot' school of label design, our cheeky Chilean fox, the cartoon culpeo. I'm not sure how Irish consumers feel about critter labels: I suspect they think critter indicates cheap, which can be either a good or a bad thing.

If a critter bottle's on the table, I tend to feel relief at the implicit absolution from lofty sentiment about the contents, but it must threaten some people if winey one-upmanship is advertised by the bottle itself as off the menu.