To listen or not to listen to the market and the guidebooks. The producers’ doubts
Read for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
The theme is <<Who buys wine and who is an “influencer”>>. An important subject and one that has always been of interest for wine producers. But it is also a subject that has different replies to 5 years ago. In the Wine Industry Financial Symposium, which took place on September 23rd last in Napa Valley in California, one of the main relaters was John Gillespie head of the Wine Market Council and Ceo of Wine Opinion. In his relation, excellently summarised by WineNews in an article with the explicit title <<Usa: a friend’s opinion is better than Parker’s>>, Gillespie has brought the results of a recent survey which demonstrates how the US wine lover welcomes advice from friends who are more expert or by sommeliers in restaurants and wine stores while he is practically untouched by the ratings in specialized press who’s influence comes from, in decreasing order, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Advocate.
This information must not however allows us to forget that “friends that are wine experts”
and sommeliers can have been previously influenced by the great wine gurus. Traditionally Wine Advocate orients its readers towards dream bottles, those with many zeros. Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast influence the evolved consumers and lovers of good bottles. Tanzer International Wine Cellar offers references for the market – sommeliers and buyers.
This is the scenario that for years has influenced wine sales in theUSAand in the rest of the world, other than pushing the producers to conform to the style appreciated by the tasters of the most famous magazines – known as “parkerization” – with wines which are fruity, powerful and concentrated. Today two revolutionary elements have arrived: the web and the consumption of a generation of millenials which love wines with an identity, different one from the other, as opposed to the dominating homologated style of a few years ago. So in fact Roger Gentile, one of the major wine experts and merchants inUSAinterviewed by Elisabetta Tosi said <<Parker works if one is over 45, or however around that age. If you are younger, what counts are the electronic media>>.
So the importance of websites such as CellarTracker grows, where every consumer can express his judgement even without being very competent, but most of all it’s the wine bloggers who grow, which more often and with more competence taste and tell us their opinion.
This is the case, for example of Barolista a great Swedish wine lover who buys great bottles, tastes them and then publishes his ratings. After a recent Brunello tasting, where my Prime Donne 2001 was greatly appreciated, I wrote to him thanking him and he replied telling me where he had bought my wine and how much he had paid for it, pleased with the great bargain he had made.
It is probably these independent and expert tasters who play with wine an international treasure hunt, looking for novelties and excellent bottles, which will influence the future wine market. In creating also a new fashion similar to what has happened with clothes fashion, where a women dressed with designer clothes from head to foot is considered provincial because those who are “in” can mix things bought at the market together with things bought in a boutique so as to exalt their personality.