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Going Pro | 1 Wine Dude - Page 16

Posts Filed Under going pro

Whose Ratings Should A Wine Drinker Pay Attention To?

Vinted on September 14, 2011 binned in best of, going pro, wine news

Well… whose ratings should a wine drinker pay attention to?  Or, stated with a tad more more grammatical correctness (warning: sounding-like-douche-bag-potential alert!), To Whose Ratings Should A Wine Drinker Pay More Attention?

An American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) working paper with that tile was just released, though, interestingly, it doesn’t actually answer the question.  I will answer it, in a few minutes anyway, but not before torturing you with exposition and report dissection first. Because, well, I’m really just not that nice of a guy.

Despite the bait-and-switch title, the paper starts with a fascinating premise: given that ratings for the same wines vary between professional wine critics (called “experts” in the paper’s lingo), is there an established expert whose ratings correlate closely with those of the general wine-drinkin’ public?

Turns out, there is one – at least,there is one out of the three expert sources that the paper used.

The paper’s authors, Omer Gokcekus and Dennis Nottebaum (no, I do not know how to pronounce those), chose to examine ratings/scores of 120 Bordeaux wines from the 2005 vintage.  The voice of the people was played by the scores for those wines as recorded in Cellar Tracker, subsets of which were then compared with the scores for the same wines as reported by three pro wine critic sources.  Big-time influencer Robert Parker (via The Wine Advocate) was included, as well as Wine Spectator, so they covered the 1.5 most influential wine critics in the U.S.  The third included was Stephan Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, though to be honest I’ve no idea why they included that last one.  Just kidding, Stephen!

Anyway… It’s important to note the results were aggregated, and this makes them a tad misleading because the same wines were not compared between the three pro critics and Cellar Tracker – a subset of the wines were compared (CT to RP, CT to WS, and CT to ST).  These were not the same wines (or the same amount of wines) in each case, so while there will be some wines in the group that were compared against all four ratings sources, there will also be some wines that were only compared between Cellar Tracker and one of the pro sources.  Got it?  Good!

Overlooking that minor cavil, the results are pretty darn fascinating…

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1WineDude TV Episode 38: Why The Argument Against Wine And Social Media Is Illogical (Getting’ Groovy With Cruvee)

Vinted on September 7, 2011 binned in 1WineDude TV, commentary, going pro

Part of me is really just sick and tired of making this argument… but what the hell, let’s throw more kindling on the fire and talk about why saying social media isn’t for wineries because “the brand is too small,” or “it takes too much time because we’re really farmers and we’re too busy,” or “it doesn’t connect us with local customers” is, at this point, a stinky pile of total bull honkey.

Mentioned in this episode:

Being Able To Describe A Wine Does NOT Make You Awesome

Vinted on August 31, 2011 binned in best of, commentary, going pro

If I told you what it takes
to reach the highest high,
You’d laugh and say
“Nothing’s that simple!”

- from “I’m Free” (Tommy, The Who – 1969)

The following commentary is not an easy one to write, because whenever one talks about something that they do, they run the risk of appearing immodest, or conversely overdoing it on fake amounts of modesty and sounding like a douchebag.

Look, I know that I write reasonably well, because I’ve been told that by other writers whom many consider to write very well.  And I know that I taste wine reasonably well, because I’ve been told that by others who are themselves kick-ass tasters.  But I do not see the ability to combine those talents as somehow qualifying me to self-proclaim my awesomeness.  And I do not see it as somehow unattainable by anyone else, either.

As any fan of the (excellent) book Outliers can tell you, the one thing that most differentiates the well-skilled from the wanna-bes in any given field (including wine) is practice. You spend enough time doing something (like, approaching 10,000 hours – and that figure is not hyperbole), and the odds are very, very good that you will get very, very good at whatever it is you are doing.

I write this because I continue to run into people (all over the world) who are thoroughly impressed with their own ability to taste (and then describe, verbally or in writing) a wine. As in a worship-me-because-I’m-totally-awesome level impressed with themselves. On the other side of that wine appreciation coin, I also run into people (all over the world) who reinforce that view by assuming that they themselves could never accurately describe a wine’s tastes and smells. I have a message for both of those types of people: “Get over it; what wine writing / reviewing peeps do isn’t all that special!”…

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This Just In: I Join A PLCB Advisory Group. Also, Hell Freezes Over. Sort Of.

Vinted on August 24, 2011 binned in going pro, PLCB, wine shipping

Last week, after I spoke out against NJ Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan publicly dissing his own wine-buying constituents, I received quite a bit of feedback (comments and e-mail) about something I wasn’t talking about.  Namely, not reporting from the battlefield of the wine shipping fracas taking place among the rolling hills of my home state, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (one of – if not the – worst control states in our fair Union).

In response, I can offer two tidbits as potential justification:

1) Blogger Lew Bryson is doing a fine job of detailing all of the latest PLCB debacles and on-again/off-again satutus of PA’s move towards Privitization, and I’ve little to offer above-and-beyond Lew’s excellent and opinionated coverage. For a pertinent example, check out Lew’s tirade about the state’s failed automated wine kiosks – turns out the PLCB knew that the kiosks had little chance of succeeding before they deployed them (I had a similar view of their potential success published around the same time).

2) I’m anticipating the potential for a lot more insider coverage coming soon on the PLCB and the drama of the changing state of alcohol distribution in PA, since I’ve agreed to be on a focus group for a PLCB Wine Advisory Council member.

Yes, you read that correctly. I’ve been hand-picked by a member of the PLCB’s Eastern PA Regional Advisory Panel to join a cabinet/focus group, which has as one of its priorities advancing the pace of change to improve the currently (very) sad state of wine distribution affairs in the Commonwealth…

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