Posts Filed Under commentary

The Debate about Online Wine Influencers is a Stupid Waste of Time

Vinted on October 17, 2019 binned in commentary

If that headline above looks as though it could have come right out of 2009… well, it totally could have come right out of 2009.

Remember those good ol’ days? When wine brands were all in a tizzy about a new wave on influencers (at that time, bloggers) operating almost exclusively online.

How do we interact with these new presences in the wine media world? How can we tell if they are legitimate? How do we know if they have any real wine knowledge? What kind of audience are they reaching – and is it the kind that we want to reach? What if they want free stuff? What if they’re just hacks? How can we measure the real impact of their influence? Should we send them samples? Should we invite them to taste? Should we work with the ones that want to charge us for exposure? Will working with them put us into hot water with more traditional wine media? How the hell do we find these young whipper-snappers, anyways?

For a time, the introduction of wine blogs and the further democratization of wine criticism and brand exposure splintered the wine media sphere, upended its apple-cart, made waves of anxiety for those who’d spent the last ten years feeling somewhat comfortable about how the whole wine media thing operated.

For a time.

And then… life went on, wine kept being sold and marketed (albeit in changing ways), and online social/blogging outreach became just part of what you do in wine brand PR. We adapted. We got through it. We figured it out, for the most part.


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No, Burgundy Does NOT “Beat” the Stock Market

Vinted on September 19, 2019 binned in commentary
Hulk Rage
So. Much. STUPID!!!

Every year or so, I receive an unsolicited email blast from wine auction services that makes me want to Hulk rage. The 2019 incarnation of this comes my way from online auction house WineBid, is titled “16 Years of Burgundy vs. The Stock Market – and WineBid Auction Results,” and which I will only link to with the anchor text Probably Total Horseshit so as not to give them quite exactly the kind of organic social mention that they had in mind when they sent it.

In that WineBid article, which you probably shouldn’t bother reading, they make the claim that a report published by The Economist (using WineBid data) shows that “fine red Burgundy wine is a better investment by far than the stock market.”

Sorry, but that’s a steaming pile of horse crap of the tallest order.

Yes, they include cool-looking, impressive charts and lots of flowery language insinuating that if you love fine red wine then you’re an idiot for not considering it the world’s most impressive investment vehicle, so there’s that. But the problem is, well, that there are lots of problems with comparing the apples of proper investing to the oranges of owning fine wine, not to mention the issues with the report itself…

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When It Comes to Wine, Big Isn’t Evil – It’s Essential

Vinted on September 12, 2019 binned in commentary, wine news

During the past couple of weeks or so, an online kerfuffle ensued after wine writer and author Jamie Goode posted an eye-opening article on his blog detailing the massive size of some of the wine worlds largest industrial-size producers. They are, interestingly (and in a sort-of-capitalism-run-amok fail), all owned by one company: Gallo.

Goode’s take on the situation in more on the informational side, but the online reactions were mostly pitchforks-and-torches negative, with the ire planted squarely in the “Big = Bad!” mindset.

My friend Fred Swan penned a cogent, even-handed, level-headed piece in response to the online outcry, in which he extols the virtues of industrial-scale wines in consumer terms:

“Aficionados of “fine wine” may find …affordable, high-volume, big-brand bottlings too bold, too sweet, too simple, or not varietally representative. The wines aren’t made for those people. They’re made for specific, but very large. audiences, are made with intention, and made after considerable research and development by highly-trained people.”

My response today, on the other hand, will be neither level-headed nor even-handed, though hopefully it will be cogent enough for the detractors of industrial-scale wine to understand that they are acting like morons when they lash out against high-volume, low-cost wines as having no place in a modern wine market. The truth is that those high-volume, low-cost wines make up the majority of the fine wine market, and without them the high-end market would likely be in severe economic dire straights…

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“Market Places Eat Markets” (Thoughts On “Future-Proofing” Wine)

Vinted on August 23, 2019 binned in commentary, wine industry events
Tony Stark Optimism

In the words of Iron Man, “I’ve missed that giddy optimism.”

In this case, the Steve Rogers yang to my Tony Stark ying is Emetry CEO Paul Mabray. I’ve been fortunate enough to call Paul a friend for several years running, and not just because I dig on his penchant for Star Wars-related references in his slide decks; Paul is wicked smart, and we have long shared the view that wine is well into its most competitive market in the entire history of the product (for a real noodle-baker, just consider how long we’ve had that product…!).

Mabray delivered a speech at the recent MUST – Fermenting Ideas Wine Summit in Portugal, in which he discussed the “future-proofing” of wine marketing in general. You can access the whole-shebang of Paul’s slide deck, and/or rely on the very good write-up summary of Maybray’s speech over at The Buyer. I found both to be essential reading for wine marketing/branding/producing types. When discussing the write-up with Paul on Facebook, he remarked to me that “the message is starting to resonate. Now for the next phase, action.”

And that’s where the giddy optimism quote comes in, because this is one of the rare instances where Paul and I happen to disagree…

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