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The Beauty and the Beast of Wine Blogs

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Wine bloggers, like technology bloggers, are relishing in the fact that they are posting in a time unlike any other. The wine industry is exploding all over the world and the benefits cannot be overstated. One of the keystones of this phenomenon is that more great wines are available at prices that can actually match the el-cheapo brands like Yellow Tail and others. Of course, because operations like Yellow Tail have access to loads of marketing capital, they will be the bottles the average consumer reaches for.

Wine bloggers are feeling empowered to change this phenomenon by offering features like tasting notes, reviews and cyber tastings. As these things spread through the net in the form of RSS feeds and blog watches, they can serve as the underground marketing fire needed to introduce consumers to wine that may be more complex and enjoyable than many of the name brands.

The thinking is: Hell – if the blogosphere can lead to the firing of major corporate executives, surely it can enlighten people to buy better wine. While this is certainly a fulfilling quest for the average wine blogger, is it not at best elitist and at worst intimidating to suggest there are wines consumers should enjoy? When I hold a wine tasting the first thing I do is make sure everyone in the room speaks their mind – giving the wine a personal score from 0-100. If there’s one thing that is absolutely a given at each tasting, it’s that everybody rates the wine differently.

The beauty of the wine revolution, it seems to me, is that wine is losing that perception of righteousness and snobbery that has accompanied it, especially in the United States, for hundreds of years. If someone wants to rate Yellow Tail a 95, I’m not going to tell them their wrong or deluded by mass marketing gimmicks. If that’s the wine they want to reach for when they shop, that’s great! The point is that they are enjoying their wine. As bloggers, the best we can do is to introduce new wine to people that might not otherwise find it. Let them decide if it fits the bill.

It’s important for us all to remember that the 100 point scale is totally absurd as an objective model, and that a mass produced wine overblown with fruit and oak can be enjoyed just as much in one person’s hands as a delicate, silky, mind-bogglingly complex Burgundy in the hands of another. And isn’t that, after all, the point?

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About Tynan Szvetecz

  • jerome

    Some good points here and some noble ideas, however, the reality is more likely to be a bunch of self-proclaimed experts wanting to be heard and posting some “scores” and “ratings” since they believe a few months of wine drinking allows them to pass judgement… but hey maybe i am just pessimistic.

  • http://www.vinography.com Alder Yarrow

    Awww. How can you write an article on wine blogs without actually pointing people to them !? For anyone who is interested, a good starting point is the wine blog aggregations site known as Wine Blog Watch:

    http://wineblogwatch.arrr.net/

    Also, with regards to Jerome’s comment above, yes, absolutely the existence of Wine Blogs guarantees that any bozo who wants to can write a wine review, but I have faith that over time, some writers will prove valuable enough to the public to gather a following. After all when Robert M. Parker started the wine advocate, it was a mimeographed sheet of paper that he sent to 20 friends. Not much difference between that and some “self proclaimed expert wnating to be heard and posting some “scores” and “ratings.””

  • http://www.culturedwino.com/ tiffany

    I agree with Alder on this one. I think wine blogs (I write one) can democratize wine, which has a bit of a snobby sheen.

    Besides, most people are going to drink what they like. And if that’s a $5 bottle of Manischevitz grape wine (and yes, I am ashamed to say my mom loves the stuff), then it doesn’t matter what the critics — be they bloggers or not — say. Sort of like movies.

  • http://drinkthegoodstuff.blogspot.com Taylor

    I have to agree with Alder. At least point us in the right direction. He fails to mention that his blogroll is one of the most extensive in the business and a great pointer to quality blogs.

    On top of wine blog watch there is also the Wine Blog List which shows the latest headlines for each blog being tracked.

  • Michael Walters

    I’m a home winemaker for 10yrs and recently joined a wine club. One of our goals is to, if you will, de-snobbify the whole wine experience, to make wine something all can enjoy and not be intimidated by. Look at what is being missed! I listen to the videos on the wine blogs, and listen to the “experts” go on and on in great detail about how wine wine tastes to the point that it sounds like they are rehearsing a play. One expert talked about subtle hints of cabbage and cauliflower and asparagus!! All this in a blended table wine? Oh yes, he simply gushed over the fact that the NY Jets have a new QB. But then he has a vested interest in wine where as I make it as a hobby and to win medals at state fairs and so forth. Thanks, be well!
    To quote Arastaphanes “quick give me a beaker of wine so I may wet my brain and say something clever.”