I would go further and say that the wine expert is also on his or her way out. The internet has made wine transparent, debunking the myths that surrounded it (perpetuated by the experts perhaps). What is important with something as subjective as wine is what the individual likes. There is no universal taste. The power of communication is at the key-board of the consumer, no longer the wine expert.
Yes wine is complicated and that is why in the past the expert has been so important. Wine was shrouded in mystery. We needed the experts to guide us and shine light on the mystical phenomenon that is wine. The consumer relied on the wine experts to make decisions for them.
The new informed consumer now knows where best to buy his wine thanks to www.wine-searcher. Is fed details of each region’s vintage as it unfolds, information that before was only communicated to the ‘inner sanctum’. Is aware of how wines are currently drinking and when to drink his precious bottle (valuable with a product that is continually evolving over time) via the likes of Eric LeVine’s www.cellartracker.com (with over 3 million notes registered by the ordinary wine lover).
Personally I would prefer to base a buying decision on the feedback of a handful of consumers who tasted a particular wine last night, than an expert who tasted it a year ago (and who is to say it was a representative sample?)
Today the wine expert’s role is the relaying of simple information so that the consumer can make an informed decision.
As the wine consumer gains confidence and communicates more widely and more collectively on the internet, there will only be room for the most powerful of experts, ie the best at communicating on the net.
Jefford also made a plea for more humour and irreverence in today’s wine writing.
“There is an urgent vacancy for humorous, witty, caustic writing about wine powered by gonzo irreverence.
“The vast majority of wine drinkers take it for granted that wine is inseparable from hilarity. Almost all of us take it too seriously, too earnestly, too reverently,” he said, urging wine bloggers to “let rip”.
I agree, wine has become so serious, its just a drink to aid pleasure at the end of the day.