At the third European Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Vienna, October 22-24, 2010, I gave a keynote speech to 200+ wine bloggers, journalists, social media experts and wine industry types from 30 countries discussing the future of wine writing.Award-winning wine blogger Jim Budd wrote a long piece on the conference. Here’s an excerpt:
“The keynote speeches were by Elin McCoy and Evan Schnittman – both were excellent and thought provoking.
Elin, who writes for Bloomberg News, presented on the future of the wine critic and talked about the change from the old system of wine criticism (the ivory tower critic) to the new more democratic wine criticism that the internet, especially blogging, has allowed to flourish. She stressed the difference between the small number of ‘ivory tower’ critics and now the large number of bloggers on the net.
Elin posited Robert Parker as the now archetypal ivory tower wine critic – tasting many thousands of wines a year giving them scores out of 100, probably assessing many wines from countries he has never visited but wielding, particularly in the case of Parker, remarkable and enduring power.
This, Elin said, is changing. The ivory tower critic is less influential than they were, especially amongst the younger generation who are more confident in their taste and also more adventurous. The younger generation are now used to sharing opinions and tasting notes with their peers on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Clearly Elin sees the era of the wine critic gurus ending….”
Gabriel Savage of UK’s The Drinks Business did a wrap-up of the conference and my speech. She asks “…is the blogger army about to stage a coup for the throne of traditional wine writing? Or has this revolution already swept through the gates, unnoticed by the old guard in their ivory towers?
Elin McCoy, author and columnist for Bloomberg News, assessed the scene in the conference’s opening session. ‘The internet has really changed the landscape of fine wine criticism and changed it forever,’ observed McCoy. She linked the days of a small pool of guru-status critics, holding sway through ‘the tyranny of the tasting note’ to ‘a time when consumers were far less sure of their own taste’. Moving forward to the present day, McCoy noted how the rise of the internet has removed restrictions on who can be a critic, introducing an abundance of information and writing styles.”
You can read her entire analysis here.
At the Fine Wine 2010 conference in Ribera del Duero at the end of April, I joined a panel on the market for fine wine in the U. S. and talked about the changing role of the wine critic. Graham Holter wrote about it for WineBusiness.com. Click here for the complete report.
I was recently interviewed by Laura Lawson on the WINE CRUSH radio program. To listen, click here.
Recent talks, presentations and on-the-spot comments now on YouTube:
The Cahors/Malbec tasting in Manhattan, May 2009…
An exclusive tour around the opening Vinexpo 2009 party at Château Lafite with decanter.com editor Adam Lechmere…
The yearly competition among the best Tuscan vintners. Presenter: Elin McCoy, Bloomberg News…