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Tapping Wine Info Through Social Media
By Robert Whitley
May 18, 2010
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I am @wineguru. That's on Twitter. Over at Facebook, I appear as myself. And over at Creators.com, writing for the national syndicate, I am the "Wine Talk" columnist.

The face of wine journalism and criticism has changed, and I would argue for the better. The days of one or two loud voices (such as Robert Parker and Wine Spectator) dominating the debate are long past.

Social media, wine blogs, telephone apps and the disparate voices of the Internet are all in play and now part of the wine discussion, particularly on the subject of wines we like or don't like.

Robert Parker and Jim Laube (main California scribe for Wine Spectator) like bold, ripe red wines and you don't? No problem. There are a number of expert commentators who are in your camp (Stephen Brook of Decanter or Dan Berger of Vintage Experiences come to mind), and they can point you in the direction of superb wines that match your tasting preferences.

The beauty of the Internet and social media is that these divergent voices are now at your fingertips. The tech savvy wine lover needs nothing more than a smart phone or laptop to connect with many of the finest minds and palates in professional wine criticism, as well as the growing legions of wine enthusiasts who use blogs, Twitter and Facebook to share their most recent experiences.

For what it's worth, here are some of the Internet presences that I find stimulating enough to visit with some frequency:

Bruce Schoenfeld (www.bruceschoenfeld.com) was a sportswriter, like me, before he turned to writing about wine. He spent time with Wine Spectator and has written for numerous other national publications. Bruce is extremely insightful and his travels bring him into frequent contact with some of the most compelling personalities in the wine business. It makes for fascinating reading.

Natalie MacLean (www.nataliemaclean.com) has the wine view from a Canadian perspective. She's remarkably well-rounded, dispensing recipes and perfect pairings as well as sage wine advice. Natalie's a strong presence on Twitter, too, and can be counted upon for daily suggestions that are hot off the press.

The Wine Curmudgeon (www.winecurmudgeon.com) is wine columnist Jeff Siegel of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, and he's really not much of a curmudgeon. Mild-mannered Jeff is one of the most open-minded "experts" I know and he's especially fond of serving up great value wines to his followers.

W.R. Tish (www.wineforall.com) is the champion of the everyman wine lover, and he takes umbrage with the hierarchy of wines as established by the 100-point scale. Of course, I disagree with "Tish" on the value and validity of the wine ratings, but I find his frequent rants on the subject entertaining and enlightening, even if I'm at odds with his conclusions. Tish also has a fine palate and is usually in front of emerging wine tasting trends.

Jo Diaz (www.wine-blog.org) is from the wine public relations field, yet she is as free and independent as any wine journo! Jo would do her blog, even if she wasn't in the biz because she simply loves wine and the culture of wine as a lifestyle.
She is a good source for information about issues related to wine, and she champions those causes she truly believes in. Well worth a visit!

Alder Yarrow (www.vinography.com) is a blogger whose primary interest in wine is from the consumer standpoint. He takes edgy positions and is frequently and refreshingly critical of the wine industry. Sometimes I agree, sometimes not. He also takes his shot at mainstream wine critics from time to time, and that's perfectly fair, even though I frequently disagree. But he will certainly make you think.

Nick Passmore (www.nickonwine.com) writes a regular wine column for Business Week and also contributes to other national publications. He's a transplanted Brit with a witty, dry sense of humor and a penchant for eclectic wines that will surely keep you scrambling just to find them. But it will be worth the effort!