The Wine Spectator & The Shill
Boy, do I get mail…
Most of it is civil and happy and interesting…..Then there is some of it that needs to be shared. I’m leaving out the name to protect the guilty…but you know who you are:
Regarding the "sophistication of wine" you didn’t spend very much time telling your ‘readers’ exactly who is responsible for foisting this view of wine on the American people because you are a shill for the wine press. If you need to know who made Americans think they have to be rich to drink it just look in the mirror (yea…PR Types) and look at your buddies over at that rag called the Wine Spectator.
Why do you shill for those palateless punks at the ‘Speculator’? All they’ve done is give us that stupid 100 point scale, make average people feel inadequate because they can’t spend $100 on a bottle of juice, and spend time fawning over their big time advertisers. They’ve done nothing good for wine or wine drinkers.
Do us all some good, Mr. Fermentation–stop shilling for swill producers, get a real job and tell the real story about the ‘Speculator’.
Let me start by really pissing off "Joe".
The Wine Spectator is in fact a magazine that has done significant amounts to popularize wine in America among all wine lovers. But more important, like Parker, Wine & Spirits, QRW, The Wine News and The Wine Enthusiast, not to mention other wine magazines and newsletters, The Wine Spectator has spent years introducing Americans to the best wines made in America. If you don’t think that’s a service, you don’t know wine. As for them being "palateless punks" you might consider writing a few books yourself taste more than 100,000 wines then go call Jim Laube a punk. Until then…
Furthermore, this nonsense that advertisers get better scores (and I know you are referring to this notion) at the Spectator is hogwash. If there were one thing the Wine Spectator could do that would destroy its reputation, readership and revenue, it would be found favoring advertisers. Marvin Shanken is a lot of things and one of them is smart.
As for me being a "shill" for the wine press, I invite you to read through Fermentation. If anything, I prod the wine press to ask harder questions.
However, just to be fair, I’ll take my share of responsibility for wine being seen as overly sophisticated. That is, I won’t deny that Wine PR types like me have understood "allure" that "wine country" and the "wine lifestyle" holds for many and exploited it. But here’s the thing, pretty soon, "Joe", people set aside the "allure" and start focusing on what they like. They educate themselves. They usually start exploring wine based on their budget. Sometimes, God forbid!!, they read the Wine Spectator and discover a wine they’ve never heard of, or read about the quality of Pinot Noir from California in 2004, or read about how a celebrity ended up collecting wine. So, if we "PR Types" have led people to that state of mind, we’ll happily take responsibility.
The issue of the over sophistication of wine in America is one that should be understood for what it is: a combination of historical, cultural, religious and promotional factors all conspiring to get us where we are. The interesting thing is that as more people in America drink wine on a regular basis, the sophistication factor fades.