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Tuesday Twaddle

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Prices continue to tumble as consumers reject booze and embrace credit concerns

That’s the headline in today’s Forbes.com. It goes on to say, “Prices for the best wines began falling over the summer, and as the latest data from wine exchange Liv-Ex reveals, there isn’t much of a recovery expected over Christmas.”

Liv-ex isn’t a laxative, it’s kind of a stock exchange listing for the world’s “top” wines. (DRC, Latour, Krug Champagne and Mouton head the latest list.) They even have an official Jancis Robinson endorsement (hey, who doesn’t? Well, I don’t, but I’m hoping to get one for Xmas. Jancis, email me). Liv-ex is everything I’ve always hated about wine “collecting” — the investment mentality, the commoditization, the label shopping, the snobbery — but, hey, lots of people get off on that. Or used to; the Forbes.com story says Liv-ex’s top 100 Index fell 5.5% from last year, and that was before Bernie Madoff (AKA the sack of shit) stole billions that would have gone into Christmas and Hanukah purchases of First Growths and Grand Crus. Even “Champagne is treading water,” Forbes.com quotes a Liv-ex researcher as saying. So, tough times for all.

I don’t hate wine bloggers!

I really don’t. And what would lead Rob Bralow to accuse me of hating wine bloggers, I couldn’t say. But he does, in this post on his blog. Now, technically, he doesn’t say I hate wine bloggers. He merely says I “do not particularly care for bloggers.” Well, let me make this clear. I like bloggers. And I think it’s not a coincidence that 2 things are happening simultaneously: (1) the financial meltdown that’s hitting print-based periodicals, due to loss of advertising, increased cost of paper, etc., and (2) the rise in blogging, which doesn’t cost bloggers anything. (Well, maybe a few bucks but essentially it’s free). Here’s my historical take. Before Gutenberg invented movable type, few Europeans were literate. The Gute created the means for the masses not only to widely read but to publish, which in turn led to pamphlets, broadsides (think Tom Paine) and newspapers. Now here we have the Internet and blogging. Kind of the same thing. Sort of. I wouldn’t be comparing blogging to Gutenberg if I hated bloggers, would I?

  1. Point taken. I agree that the online explosion of wine information, reviews, etc (i.e. wine bloggers) is democratizing the wine world in a way that print magazines never could.

  2. Steve,

    Wine blogs have exposed the amount of information that has been under the radar of the main stream media. This may have been due to space or page limits, or it just could not bring lots of advertising dollars.

    I guess that it is basically the 80-20 rule. But, for alot of people the topic that turns them on is unfortunately in the missing 20 percent.

    In the blogworld, many of the old rules of the print media that has keep these topics from being adeqautely covered just do not apply any more. Blogs provide a collective voice and, in many cases, a more comprehensive voice.

    Bloggers are people that speak with passion and often from a position of initmate knowledge. We have to just make sure that we speak the truth and offer credible viewpoints.

    Russ

  3. Hi Steve,

    First of all, my apologies if I have misinterpreted your words. I have been a long-time reader of your posts and have been paying a lot of attention to the discussion of blogger credibility. That particular post on my blog stemmed from finding a blogger that professed to hate wine blogs (not you!). From the comments you made in the post I linked to (now this is getting complicated) I took it that you were not the biggest fan of the current wine blogger movement. Also, in reading other posts of yours in the past you have made several comments on stemming the current wine blogging fad. Not to put too fine a point on it, but for the most part, I agreed with you (as I stated in my post).

    You have now clarified your position here. Although from some of the writing I have read, I do not think it fair to compare bloggers to Tom Paine.

    Cheers,
    Rob

  4. Thanks, Rob. I am indeed a big fan of blogging.

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