Are Wine Reviews Compromised?

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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.

Dear Readers,

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!

Cheers!

The WineWonkette

About Amy Corron Power

A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and nearly 10,000 twitter fans. Amy holds certifications through the International Sommelier Guild, and is also certified, with honors, as a California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). She is a member of the Guild of Sommeliers, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events.
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  • ethralls

    I think it is due to the fact that the types of bloggers and twitters you are referring to who are making glue are those who work/blog for/about the industry rather than for the general audience or everyday wine drinker. There are probably no everyday wine people hanging out at the #wws2010.

    It generates buzz because it's controversial and buzz = eyeballs, traffic, elevation of their opinions amongst their peers and followers.

    Now, that is not to say that some of these topics are not applicable or interesting. Social media, blogs and new technology allow for more transparency and I can only see that as a good thing for readers.

  • RobBralow

    I think when we talk about this topic we all ask the wrong people. We shouldn't be asking the people who read/write/are interested in wine blogs. We need to ask Mrs. Johnson in Grand Rapids, MI or Mr. Hill in Chatanooga, TN. We need to ask the house wife in the suburbs of Philadelphia, or the rancher in Texas. Too many of us all agree on the subject online and in the wine chatting sector of the populous.