I’m ticked off. I was supposed to be at the Meeting of Wine Creators in Ronda, Spain, this past weekend, but sadly, was unable to iron out the logistics to get there. It might seem like a trivial reason, but I would have needed to take a bus from the airport, and then transfer to a second bus in order to finally arrive in Ronda. I could have made it work, but for a two day conference, it seemed like a ridiculous amount of effort and wasted time traveling. Regardless, it sounded as if it was interesting, when considering the fascinating topics discussed. Top wine makers, wine writers and experts gathered in a who’s who of the wine world to discuss the issues related to the current state of the wine trade. Taken from their site:
WineCreator, the First International Meeting of Wine Creators, sprang from the unique concept of creating a debate between wine creators from all over the world and an international panel of experts on the current
situation of wine.
This meeting was prompted by the need to discuss the globalisation in terms of quality that has already reached the wine industry. The quality of wines today is quite high, not so much because of the imitation of styles and brands, but because of the generalisation of winemaking techniques and teachings.
For the first time, WineCreator, the First International Meeting of Wine Creators, will bring together the twelve most influential wine creators, chosen by a panel of experts made up of twenty of the most internationally renowned critics. The aim is to create alternatives to the models imposed through routine or through fashions in wine by taking a closer look at the creative, professional and human dimension of the wine creators themselves.
First International Meeting of Wine Creators This is designed as an event that will be repeated in different venues, one that will give critics and journalists their first chance to participate in this type of symposium, normally limited to technical circles, and to propose different options for making wines with personality.
I’m chatting about this conference today, because of this article in Decanter. The article titled, Jancis Robinson: critics should show more humility, quotes Jancis Robinson as saying, “We know how winemakers like to keep us sweet,” she continued, exhorting journalists to express what they really think about a wine – “and to be more humble.”
More humble? Wow! New ideas! Seems as though she stating some of the things that bloggers like to try to aim for everyday? I know that many feel as if bloggers have the same issues too, and that we are no better when it comes to similar questions of neutrality and egotism, but I think we wine bloggers maybe the fresh face that she seems to be asking for. In fact, we’re often criticized for “expressing what we really think”, since as all of you know we’re not “professionals”. We’re often seen as naive, while we prefer to call it being humble, accepting the fact that we don’t know everything.
Personally, I’ve quit reading most wine rags. Jay Miller’s scores of Spanish wine are a joke, information I’d completely pass up if it weren’t for the fact that every winemaker we talk to shove his scores in my face daily (though not “Jay’s scores”, often referred to as “Parker Points”), asking if I agree. Jay touches on such a small percentage of Spains wine, while pontificating about them as though he’s studied it in its entirety. It drives me insane, yet I don’t think this pompous attitude can only be attributed to him.
When referring to the big wine rags, lately, I haven’t heard anyone praise Wine Spectator. I can’t even remember the last time I looked at their magazine and thought, “gee there is some great journalism!” Decanter? I’ve referred to their articles only when quoting someone they’ve interviewed. There usefulness comes into play when assessing their impressive budget and ability to cover stories in locations and with the time an average blogger couldn’t even imagine to be affordable. Maybe if I had to buy Bordeaux futures I would turn to their shiny pages, but in reality, who has to buy Bordeaux futures, especially at the prices they’re being sold at?! Do mortals even drink this stuff anymore?
In the end, mainstreamers (new word), wine journalists, or to use Jancis’s own word: Parasites, if you want to try writing from the heart, if you want to say what is really on your mind and in a humble way, I suggest WordPress. There are other blogging platforms out there, but WordPress has the ability to grow, while having some cool features for you to play with. Hell, if any of you really want to start blogging, I’ll even help you set it up! It would be honor for me.
I thus offer some humble advice for those better known Parasites, I mean journalists:
Jancis, humbly get rid of the subscriptions to your blog. It really isn’t a true blog unless it’s open. Just think of the humility you could show by providing free information to the common people. Open up and humbly share with us your stories and tales. Your still doing good with your writing elsewhere. Oh and I’m even fine with your wine notes being held behind golden doors, as I could care less about these. I only take issue with your thoughts and stories. These are what help other wine lovers to find new wines to try. Leave the wineries to pay for the notes so they can see what you think, and give us, the consumers, the material to explore the world. While at the same time opening up the conversation.
Robert, that whole eRobertparker thing seems a bit inbred and stuffy! I left years ago after traveling with you from the beginning, my member number is less than 3 digits long. I’ll be happy to register BobsWinePicks.com if you’re interested! Maybe it’s time you tell us what you really think. Show us the emperor’s thoughts on wine, food and Neil Young.
Mr. Tanzer, you’ve always been a favorite of mine – an honest, begrudging user of the 100pt mess and super taster. My suggestion is to open up and lay it all on the line. Your notes are great, and keep charging for them, but tell us your thoughts, your ideas and your experiences. Please allow us to hear the stories that never make it to your front page.
Finally, Terry Theise. I wish this man had a blog, because his prose would make me read it every day! Terry, I’ll host the site for you, design it and run it. I’ll even take your notes and put them into the blog each day. Please, please, please join us on this adventure we call the Internets! I know you can do it and I know you would make a an enormous difference. Please turn the squawk box into a RSS feed. Hell your first post could be about this months Wine Blog Wednesday topic, one that is right up your alley.
With regret, I’m afraid to admit that this post is falling deaf ears. Old media can’t seem to see the value in conversations rather than subscriptions. Wine Spectator proved that when they opened up their closed door blogs! In truth, I think their stories are safer there anyways. Seriously would we want that stuff to leak out!
I guess it’s up to us, fellow bloggers and wine lovers, and social media nuts. We are changing the internet and the wine world, one post and one comment (conversation) at a time. We are the voices that are often too humble, and still green, as we seek to understand wine. But in the end, we are succeeding. Wine is about friends, family, food, friendship, frivolity, and a few other “f”s that I can’t think of. Some of us are educated by fancy wine books, some my big titles and degrees, others by magazines and newspapers that we we haul to the recycling bin each week, but what unites us all is our unique way of discussing and participating as a community in a shared twitter feed. We are the future of wine! Humility is our badge. Thirst for knowledge our driving force.
Let’s show those parasites what we can do. Thanks Jancis for the quote.
PS: The first ever meeting of Non-Parasitic Wine Journalists (I mean Bloggers) will be taking place in La Rioja in August. I hope you join us. It will be fun.