The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

We Want to Believe

Posted on | December 28, 2009 | Written by Christy Canterbury | 2 Comments

Still Life with Bread and Wine Glass by Isaac Luttichuys 17th Century

Still Life with Bread and Wine Glass by Isaac Luttichuys 17th Century

In an old-fashioned paper copy of Wine Enthusiast, I read an article entitled “Wine Online in 2009” by Steve Heimoff.  One section of the article really resounds with me:  the one that raises questions about online credibility.

Wine has many established authorities, from retailers and importers like Robert Chadderdon and Kermit Lynch, to writers like Eric Asimov, to the many, much-maligned wine critics (you no doubt know who they are). All of these people belong to fairly old, established professions, but today there are also bloggers who may be credible, random or, occasionally, both. While the credible have their clear because of credentials, expertise or attachment to trustworthy institutions, the random may know nothing more than how to pop a cork and pour.  Heimoff points out the fact that—whether film, art, music or fashion—every industry, as well as those who endeavor to learn more about that industry, values experience and knowledge.  Wine is no different.

As a long-time wine connoisseur, I’m of two minds. It’s terrific that more people are incorporating wine in their lifestyles, but I feel that it still makes sense to stick to the authorities when looking for advice.  And even if you don’t like a particular specialist in wine, if you know a little about how s/he relates to wine, you can still use his/her writing or opinion to decide whether you want to try that wine.  What is oh-so-very-important in judging wine is to recognize quality, even if you don’t personally like a wine style.  Most bloggers, and even many people who work in the wine trade, don’t do that—whether they are unable to make that important differentiation or whether they simply won’t.

I’m proud to be a member of the IWM team because we collectively really know wine, and I’m especially delighted to know that our blog—and our eLetters, our Wine Portfolio Managers and our Sales Associates—all reflect the care, experience and love we have for wine. It makes me happy to know that while there may be sources out there for whom, as Heimoff suggests, credibility is an issue, we are not one of them. And I’m even happier to know that we can recognize the beauty in styles of wine that we ourselves may not love. Because that, perhaps above all, is the true mark of a professional.

Comments

2 Responses to “We Want to Believe”

  1. Melissa Sutherland
    December 28th, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

    Christy — As I was reading your piece, I was reminded of an article in yesterday’s NYTs: “Bloggers Crash Fashion’s Front Row” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/27/fashion/27BLOGGERS.html?_r=1&ref=style

    Specifically, the piece cites “Web Wunderkind” Tavi Gevinson, a 13-year old blogger. She’s been described as “curious and discerning” by established fashion experts yet her arrival alarms others. Certainly there are tensions between old media and new media, but I wonder if this is simply necessary for the process of stripping away unnecessary binary silos of analog/digital, old/new. My hope is that producers and creators in all fields — wine, fashion, art — see this as an optimal moment of collaboration and commitment to contribute to a field or domain of study. Now I need to get back to adjusting my signal to noise ratio…

  2. Frank Sansotta
    December 28th, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

    I cannot agree with Christy more. I think it’s extremely important that anyone interested in wine develop a palate of their own and use those critics as a general guideline but not as the Holy Grail!

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