I posted this response on Heimoff’s blog and would like to share it with you:
Steve brings up some good points about the perception of independence and objectivity. As a former CPA I worked with that issue daily. CPA’s doing financial work are supposed to be independent of the clients who are paying them directly. Mostly this works, except at Enron …
A “Going Concern” opinion in a financial statement will often tank a company and the CPA may not get paid. However, we do it when standards require it, except at Enron… I’ve had to fire large clients who tried to hide financial deals from me. Terminating 10% of your annual revenue is a far more important action than a bad wine review.
I believe that bloggers can develop the same integrity that CPA’s do. Like CPA’s, bloggers can dig into the operations as WineDiverGirl suggests. (She works for a winery by the way.) Bloggers need to develop some professional standards to do that but it can work and can have value for the consumers.
Steve is applying standards from wine writing which I support. Steve is not seeing the world from a perspective outside his discipline. Wine blogging can be a very different discipline from wine writing that Steve is invested in.
I have no clue if wine bloggers will make this type of objectivity a goal and achieve it. However, I’m experimenting with such CPA type concepts with my blog.
Last point, are casual wine bloggers or professional wine writers more like the average consumers? I think this matters because I am strongly against the point rating system process and any other kind of evaluation that is out of the context that the average consumer would taste in. Tastes change dramatically with context.
Wine bloggers are the mainstream consumers by definition. Social media is the average consumer rising up to be heard. Few are paid anything and almost all have a net outflow of cash for their efforts. They are widely dispersed culturally and rarely, if ever, review wines in the meaningless sterile environments that the “pros” do. Bloggers ARE the consumer rabble rising up to be heard.
I appreciate Steve’s thoughts and hope he continues with blunt criticism. I enjoy and respect the discourse.
Jim @ WineQuesters.com
The wine tasting road trip lifestyle