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?