Decanter magazine's biennial list of the 50 most powerful people in the wine business took a lot of criticism. As one wine type told me after reading the rankings: "Who are these people?" Lewis Perdue, the editor of Wine Industry Insight, wrote that the list "was based not so much on power, clout, or the ability to move markets, but on a snobbish gaze at a small self-indulgent world that is increasingly irrelevant to the vast majority of the globe ?s wine drinkers."
It is an odd list. The usual suspects are there — Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Gary V. — as well as a host of European and Asian names who matter to Decanter's Bordeaux-centric audience. But there are a lot of names missing. Purdue emphasized the absence of the men who run three of the leading cheap wine companies in the U.S. and sell hundreds of millions of dollars of wine, Fred Franzia of Two Buck Chuck, Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home and David Kent of The Wine Group. Also missing: Eric Asimov of the New York Times and Jon Bonne of the San Francisco Chronicle, who have moved more than few markets in their time.
Yet Decanter somehow found room in all that rarefied air for what it called the "amateur wine blogger" at No. 16. "As social media continues its relentless online spread, everyone is now a critic," the magazine said. Why that is and what it means, after the jump:
Graduate students at the Institut du Management du Vin in Burgundy are trying to find out just how much blogging and the Internet have changed wine writing. And if their study hits the mark, we could well learn a lot about how wine writing is making the transition from print to digital.
“I’m absolutely sure this is the future,” says Evelyne Resnick, PhD, an associate professor at the institute who is overseeing the study. “More and more, the question is not whether there are wine blogs, but the role they play in the wine industry.”
So Resnick’s students are surveying 450 wine blogs (300 or so in the U.S. and the rest in China and South Korea) to get an idea of what’s going on: Who writes them, what they write about, how they manage their blog, and so forth. The results, she says, will help the wine business begin to figure out how blogs work and how they affect the wine industry — something that isn’t very clear right now. How do consumers interact with blogs? How do bloggers make a living? How do blogs and bloggers interact with each other and the wine business?
One of the most common questions that people ask the Wine Curmudgeon (and it came up several times last weekend at DLW 2011: Missouri) is whether I get paid for doing this. And how I get paid. And if there is any money in being a wine blogger.
The answers, which are complicated, say a lot about the direction that wine writing is headed. More, after the jump:
Not much, if a report from the United Kingdom's Wine Intelligence consultancy is to be believed. The catch? The man whose company did the report said the results may be flawed.
Wine Intelligence reported at the end of January that independent bloggers are one of the least trusted wine information sources in the United Kingdom, United States, and France. Its study found that only one in five regular wine drinkers in the U.K. trust what independent bloggers say about a wine, compared with more than 50 percent who trust their wine merchant. In the U.S., the numbers were 20 percent and 80 percent, while only 10 percent of the French trusted bloggers.
Which would seem to point out that this wine blogging thing is a waste of time. But Richard Halstead, Wine Intelligence's chief operating officer, told Harpers Wine & Spirit that the study's methodology had some problems. Which didn't seem to placate wine bloggers here or in Europe, who have spent the past couple of weeks using the cyber-ether to take Wine Intelligence to task, with many high-profile wine blogs on both sides of the Atlantic discrediting the report.
Yet the report, once one gets past the headlines, did offer some insight. What that was, after the jump: