6th January, 2011 by Gabriel Stone - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3
The rise of the internet blogger has fundamentally and permanently transformed wine criticism. Gabriel Savage reports on the findings of the European Wine Bloggers Conference 2010.
What’s the collective noun for a group of bloggers? Jokes aside, the more forward-looking companies are keen to harness the power of this fringe movement, which is steadily being assimilated into the wine communication mainstream.
Doubting Thomases may wish to consider the 200 bloggers from 30 countries who gathered in Vienna in October 2010 for the third European Wine Bloggers Conference.
From social media tools to ethical issues, or even just finding out who – if anyone – is your audience, the conference’s mission was to explore potential avenues which might represent the future of wine communication, criticism and commerce. As co-organiser Ryan Opaz, founder of Catavino, summed up: “Our goal at EWBC is not just to talk about wine, but to talk about the tools you can use to talk about wine.”
So is the blogger army about to stage a coup for the throne of traditional wine writing? Or has this revolution already swept through the gates, unnoticed by the old guard in their ivory towers?
Elin McCoy, author and columnist for Bloomberg News, assessed the scene in the conference’s opening session. “The internet has really changed the landscape of fine wine criticism and changed it forever,” observed McCoy.
She linked the days of a small pool of guru-status critics, holding sway through “the tyranny of the tasting note” to “a time when consumers were far less sure of their own taste”. Moving forward to the present day, McCoy noted how the rise of the internet has removed restrictions on who can be a critic, introducing an abundance of information and writing styles.