. Vite Vinifera De Vino's Blog: Fragile World

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fragile World

I spend a good amount of time in front of my computer, and a fair part of that time surfing the net, looking at fellow bloggers' sites.
I must say, Dr. Vino is a refreshing font of information, with his articles that are very wide-ranging, concise and most of the time (even when they're kind of twisted) on point.
On July the 2nd he posted part of an interview with Robert Parker for the Naples (FL) Daily News;

"For most people, I think, giving 100 points is almost setting up a situation for the people who are reading it … to be disappointed because you have somebody who’s well-known and has credibility saying it’s perfection in wine. And there’s always the issue: Is there perfection in wine?

I’ve always tried to explain it saying that, you know, I’m a very passionate person and an emotional person. I really think probably the only difference between a 96-, 97-, 98-, 99-, and 100-point wine is really the emotion of the moment."

Now the reality is that the difference between a 96 and 100 could mean a significant change in sales, meaning that essentially, the wine world is so fragile that the emotions of an individual can change the fate of a winery.
Better late than never, I say; finally, we hear something objective from the mouth of a wine critic. 100 points does NOT mean perfection, 100 means that a particular wine in a particular moment gave a particular person a strong emotion.
Now the same wine drunk on another occasion might have garnered a lower score. Ergo, a 100-point wine means that the producer of that wine is probably very lucky that his/her bottle was drunk or tasted at the right time within the right frame of mind.
Isn't this system a little too unreliable? Isn't it absurd that what one person has to say about a bottle of wine can mean millions of dollars in sales? Are consumers so used to having somebody telling them what to like and what not to like that their own brains and taste buds are now useless to their natural purposes?
A little while ago, I posted an article on ratings in which I posited that is not possible to rate a wine with a number chart, because an emotion cannot be quantified and because wine is not an exact science.


Fede - Fiordimela said...

I totally agree with this point, Gabrio.

But I also see a possible way to change the "rating/change in sale" model who has ruled so far in the market.

I mean with internet and user generated content I see a way to share opinions in a new way about wine. more: I've been aware of Lispida from a comment (by...) on www.mondosapore.com and then I bought a bottle of it (it's not that easy to find it around here).

In a slightly different market than wine: restaurants, where I post my opinions about the places where I have a good dinner (http://www.duespaghi.it/myspaghi/Fiordimela/) and I also find good hints when I don't know where to go... Obviously we have Red Micheling guide, but there's also a way to know more about not-so-famous places and also different points of view about the most-known ones...

Definetely: web 2.0 can be a way to lower the uniqueness and the power of guides by Parker and Co... What you think about this? Do you think the "long tail" (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Tail) model applies also to this environment?

Ciao a tutti!


De Vino said...

Interesting point Fede, I don't know if The Long tail could work for the wine and food world but I agree with you on the necessity of talk about a wine and not just label it with a number.