Thursday, October 11, 2007

Google-ing 'Wine'

Try it. You will notice that the first thing to come up is a web retailer known as Just to give you an idea of their business plan, here is an excerpt from their website:

"It starts with our wine list. Our sommeliers scour the globe to be able to present you with thousands of the highest quality wines representing all varietals and regions. A list we're particularly proud of is our 90+ point rated wines for under $20. This brings you the highest rated wines (according to independent wine critics such as Wine Spectator and Robert Parker's Wine Advocate) at affordable prices. Our sales figures tell us our customers appreciate this feature, which can be sorted by popularity based on our sales over the last 30 days, or by price, region or varietal. And for the real connoisseurs out there, we�ve got our list of 94+ point rated wines which can make impressive gifts or additions to your cellar."

You may notice the immediate importance placed on points, especially as it relates to the perceived value of the products wants to sell. Let me preface my next point by saying that I am opposed to describing wines via any point scale. Nonetheless, I truly think that this way of categorizing and selling wines will come to a gradual end within the next 10-15 years. As wine consumption grows internationally and more of a wine culture develops, peoples' tastes will become increasingly independent and less reliant on professional criticism. Sure, marketing will continue to play a role, as will a growing range of wine criticism. But the amount of influence a select few publications currently hold in the sales of wine is so incredibly disproportionate to other consumable goods. As the wine industry matures, points will become less important, which as far as I'm concerned is a very good thing.