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Wine Ratings, Bloggers, and Influencers

industry influencers montana rae podcast wine ratings Mar 08, 2022

When you’re shopping for wine, how do you decide what you’re going to buy? For a lot of people, it comes down to things like price, packaging, and position in the store or website. Sometimes it comes down to a recommendation from a trusted source. 

So, what makes a source trustworthy? Is being a published wine writer enough? When we start to better understand the wine rating system we can make more informed decisions about how much value to place in reviews. 

What about wine bloggers and influencers? Should we trust them when it comes to wine?

The answer is simple: trust is given where trust is earned. Isn’t this the basis of most relationships? If you’re taking someone’s advice, it means you’ve got a relationship with them. Sure, it’s possible that they don’t know you personally but they do know there are people out there who are looking to them for guidance. That’s why they show up the way they do and create content to help people find new wines.

The trust piece can’t happen on a personal level unless you give the relationship some time to develop. How can you do this? By paying attention to the content a person provides and the wines they recommend. From there, you can decide if their opinions are of consistent value to you. When you determine that they are, the person has earned your trust! Easier said than done, but you get the idea.

Major wine publications like Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate by Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, and others invest countless resources to curate teams of writers who represent the level of quality in their assessments that the publication is known for. In these cases, the organization’s goal is for the audience to trust their brand as a whole and feel confident that the individual writers live up to the company standards.

Today, the ease of access to information and the internet has spawned a new segment of reviewers: the bloggers and the social media influencers or creators. With so much information available, some people feel that traditional publications have lost some of their influence.

Key things to remember about ratings vs bloggers and influencers:

  • The writers for most publications are trained wine professionals. Not all influencers or bloggers are. In fact, most of them are not. This doesn’t mean their impressions aren’t of value though.
  • The publication’s job is to assess the quality and value of a wine. The influencer’s perspective is usually based more on their personal preferences. Professional wine critics’ personal opinions do impact their reviews, but the expectation is that they go beyond their own preferences and share honest assessments of the products irrespective of their preferred style.
  • Professional wine writers are given access to astonishing volumes of wines, including some of the best wines in the world. They taste products side-by-side and have a very good sense of regions, vintages, and styles. 
  • Influencers are often “gifted” wine to taste. Their content is usually a combination of bottles they have been given and wines they purchase themselves. 
  • There are also “paid promotion” scenarios where influencers are being paid to say they like something. Hopefully, they are only accepting paid promotions on brands that resonate with them and they believe in but at the end of the day, money talks for a lot of people. It can be hard to trust influencer accounts with tons of paid promotions. Most people don’t elect to watch a television show that is more commercials than show…
  • It’s illegal for professional wine critics to accept money for reviews, although there are scenarios where they are being incentivized illegally. 
  • To summarize, wine writers get access to a lot more wine than even the top bloggers and vastly more than the average consumer. There are millions of wines out there so this broad access means they sift through a good portion of them and share which ones stand out.
  • Remember, there are MANY wines that never make it to a critic or influencer! Just because a wine doesn't have a rating doesn’t mean it’s not good!!! Don’t stop tasting and exploring and discovering new producers for yourself!!

Whether you’re taking advice from a professional or an influencer, remember to keep looking for content that resonates with you personally. When it comes to seeking help shopping for wine, it’s best to have a two-way conversation with whoever is advising you. This can be a Sommelier in a restaurant or an awesome retail storekeeper or…

If you’re looking for a consistent solution that’s personalized to YOU, I hope you’ll consider joining The Wine Ship Club! Our recommendations are based on a combination of factors including references to wine publications we believe in, wines we’ve tasted, wines that have been tasted by influencers and creators we trust, and wines you tell us you like. We recommend wines that can be shipped to you directly and you only pay for wines you actually want. We’ve got club-exclusive discounts and tons of other awesome perks we think you’re going to love!

Educate, Inspire, Entertain: Wine Creators We Love

It takes time, effort, and money to be an effective creator. Check out these quality accounts for some new value and insight!

There are so many other great profiles out there. Drop your favorite wine accounts in the comments below to share with us!

No matter what anyone tells you, the best wine for you is the one you most enjoy. You should decide what you’re going to drink! If you haven’t already, check out my piece on How to Taste Wine and keep building that internal wine catalog – the more you taste, the more you’ll know how to make selections for yourself. If you want a more personalized wine recommendation solution, join The Wine Ship Club!

If you’re a winery interested in learning more about how to work effectively with social media influencers, we’ve got a lot to share with you. Visit us at thewineship.com/industry and book a 60-minute private coaching session today.

What are your thoughts on ratings and social media creators? Let us know in the comments below!

Cheers and happy drinking! - Montana Rae, Certified Sommelier

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