Are Wine Reviews Compromised?
Every six months or so, a heated debate ensues: are wine writers and bloggers who cozy up to the wine industry to be trusted to write about wine. We have covered this in a number of posts (see Wine Industry & Bloggers What Crosses the Line) that primarily targeted the debaters and not to the people who really matter in this discussion: you.
I see this relentless need to beat a dead horse as posturing and turf battles between bloggers who see themselves as citizen journalists, giving their opinions to those yearning for knowledge and entertainment, and writers, whose livelihood is threatened by we “insurgent” bloggers (see Beware of Wine Bloggers). When I look for information about wine or anything for that matter, I look for it in a number of sources. I read trade publications, I look on-line. I ask my friends and relatives. And with each source I know comes some sort of bias. If I ask my mother who is an avid church goer about say prayer in public schools, I know I’ll get a very different answer than if I ask my former Constitutional law professor. If I ask my best friend, who identifies with one political party about taxes, I’m going to get a very different opinion about it than if I ask my spouse, who primarily identifies with another political ideology.
But I know that filter exists, when I ask the question. And the same thing applies to wine. If I ask the local retailer to suggest a wine, he’s not going to push me toward something his competitor sells. Usually. Unless he’s got a beef with his employer. But the more information I find from a number of sources, the better I can make my own decision on what to purchase or taste. No wine writer or industry professional is going to get his information from one source. He’s not stupid. He’s not a child. And he is probably not a sheep.
So why must we constantly insist that wine consumers are? It’s insulting. It’s patronizing. But it makes for a great way, I suppose, to make sure people are awake in the middle of a conference, or while posting on twitter, as evidenced by the 200 or so tweets you can read about here: Beating the Ethics Horse on Twitter.
Since this is really all about you, let me ask; where do you get your wine information? And how do you sift between the good and the bad? Given a choice, would you prefer that your information came from people who had no background in the subject they were talking about? Would you prefer getting information about wine from investigative reporters? Or someone who spends a lot of time studying it? We’d love to hear what you think!