The Evolution of Wine Recommendations

25 Mar
March 25, 2013

I’ve mentioned that by day, I work in word-of-mouth and social media marketing at Zocalo Group in Chicago. We specialize in making our clients the most talked about,  recommended and chosen brands in their categories. The idea behind this ties closely to my interests with wine, knowing that scores tend to be the ultimate form of a recommendation. I recently wrote a blog post about how wine recommendations are evolving, as well as the role wine bloggers play for the emerging Millennial market.

Here’s an excerpt from my post:

“Through [blogging], I’ve observed a fascinating, ongoing (and sometimes polarizing) discussion over the way wine is talked about, recommended and chosen. For the past 40 years, wine critic and founder of The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker, has helped to shape and define what success looks like for Napa Valley wineries. But, let’s face it, every individual has their own taste preferences and an entire industry has revolved around appealing to one person’s palate.

Today, there is a proliferation of bloggers sharing about wine, each in their own way… However, do wineries even care when we give a positive recommendation, since they can’t create more of their small-production wines to sell? A fellow blogger, who did not disclose he was such, recently told me he was talking about Yelp with a winery host during a tasting in Napa. Her closing comment was that, “there’s only one thing worse than a Yelper – and that’s a wine blogger.” What?! Could this be why’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry has featured only one blogger/online personality in the top 20? We have to consider that the Baby Boomers who brought much of the buying power (and were swayed by scores like Parker’s) have begun to be replaced by younger, socially-driven drinkers and Millennials, who are seeking high-quality wines at a much, much lower price point.

My advice to bloggers, critics of bloggers and to wineries would be to embrace the evolving landscape. Socially-minded drinkers are only going to grow and our sites are likely the places they’ll go for recommendations. Why should any one person, score or method limit the way we think about wine?”

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