I’m sure that most wine bloggers sense that the days of wine subject dominance by the old media gang of Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Parker, etc. is coming to a slow end. Many California vintners definitely want their influence to end.
What started me on this post was a growl from the owner of a winery in the Temecula Valley. He was displeased that I shot a couple of photos of his crush in progress. He’s “sick of coffee table book publishers” and others trying to “ride the back of the wine industry”. In other words, those of us doing the industry’s marketing with our own time and money are nasty parasites.
I’ve met about 200 vintners in the past year and this guy and a woman owner at a winery in El Dorado County were the only negative reactions I’ve had. The vast majority are wonderfully supportive. Still, I was a bit insulted and started thinking about us wine industry parasites.
I’ll develop the story a bit.
While GPS mapping hundreds of California winery tasting rooms last year for my www.winequesters.com project dozens of vintners requested that I add features to the site that would help them escape Parker, et al. I’ve added a variety of ratings and reviews features to help them do just that. Now their customers can rate their tasting experience, the wines, and other marketable features like landscaping, picnic areas, and architecture.
Customer ratings and reviews is testimonial advertising and the best there is. Yelp and other sites are also offering these features to a lesser extent.
So ratings and reviews is being democratized. Bloggers are chipping away at the rest of the content that the old wine media offers. Where once the industry had a few voices we now have at least hundreds. This makes it much more difficult for vintners to work the media but those who master our new wine media will win.
Will wine bloggers and Web sites eventually kick old wine media butt? Yep. As I tell vintners around California, each blogger has a much smaller audience than the old media but collectively it is growing and this form of communication is more personal and trustworthy. It is more effective than the old media and cheaper. It also fits the way humans evolved to learn. The old media will eventually die on the vine.
As a vintner look at it this way. Any industry would be delighted to have a horde of free bloggers and Web sites creating buzz and generating sales. It saves the wine industry hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and marketing costs.
In some 40 years of tasting in California and around the world I’ve never cared what Parker, Spectator, or the others have to say. I pay attention to personal recommendations. From my observations I believe that the vast majority of tasters feel the same way.
Maybe if you don’t live in a major wine region then Parker and the magazines are important. However, with all the Web sites and bloggers available you now virtually live here and get all the latest scoop.
So let the old wine media shrivel up and die on the vine. The messy and uneditable barbarian wine blogger hordes are marching through wine regions around the world and munching up every bit of information efficiently, effectively, and free for the tasters and the industry.