Stephen Tanzer, I do believe the gauntlet has been thrown down

Stephen Tanzer, world-renowned wine reviewer and tastemaker, publisher of Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar has joined the blogging world.

Called Stephen Tanzer’s Winophilia, the humbly-titled blog is written by Stephen, other members of the IWC staff, and, presumably, guests. But how is it different from other wine sites?

Luckily for all of us, the About page answers just that question with, and this is just a snippet, the following:

At Winophilia, we’re not armchair tasters who pretend to speak knowledgeably about regions we’ve never visited. We’re not amateur bloggers whose coverage of wine is limited to a handful of random samples we’ve just received, a trade tasting we’ve attended, or a press junket we’ve just been treated to. We live wine. Each of us spends several weeks to several months on the road each year, visiting wineries and tasting thousands of wines annually with their makers. And that’s not even including the thousands of bottles we taste each year in our own dining rooms.

Well, that’s quite a mouthful, Stephen! As an armchair taster who pretends to speak knowledgeably about all sorts of things, I’d like to personally welcome you to the wine blogging world by saying go back to your dying print medium, jackass.

In the wake of flagging circulation numbers and decreasing revenue, wine publishing luminaries have been migrating online, albeit slowly, for the last year-plus. Robert Parker did it with, and now Stephen’s here. But why the denigrating tone? Why simultaneously join the party and piss in the punch bowl? What could be the point? The impetus?

Since I’m already an armchair taster pretending to speak knowledgeably about blah blah blah, allow me to put on my armchair psychoanalyst hat (while the former apparently pisses off Stephen, the latter may make my wife, an actual PsyD candidate, throw up her arms in frustration. I’ll take the chance.) and give it a go: he feels threatened.

I’m not sure why. As we all know, “[w]ine blogging is the attention-seeking barking of lonely poodles” (thanks, Ron), not the to-be-taken-seriously challenge to the traditional wine cognoscenti that Stephen must view it as in order to leap in to the deep end of blogging while, at the same time, decrying the existence of water in the pool. Or maybe of other swimmers. See, I’m just an armchair wordsmith pretending to speak knowledgeably about analogies, so I’m not sure there.

Frankly, the “traditional vs blogging” catfight is getting tired. I don’t really care what Stephen Tanzer thinks of me. We’re never going to meet. I’m never going to have to ask him for a letter of recommendation, and he’s never going to ask me to design and develop a website for him (my career)–although incidentally, Stephen, Winophilia looks like a high school class put it together–so really, our effect on each other is minimal.

Unless my words here (collectively, of course, with the words of other wine bloggers) are actually making an impact on his bottom line. If I’m right up there in that pedestrian psychoanalysis, and he does indeed deem wine blogging to be a threat to his dying medium. If so, then boys and girls, we must be doing something right. Apparently, blogging is having an effect. People like it. Maybe they only like it because it’s free, but I doubt that. As my personal hero, Walt Disney, liked to say, “quality will out.”

Maybe it has to do with being unpretentious nonjackasses. If you’re an unpretentious nonjackass, please step forward.

Not so fast, Mr. Tanzer.

(photo: / CC BY 2.0)

Steve Paulo’s vitriol aside, he raises a good point.

With remarks such as Robert Parker labeling wine bloggers as “wine blobbers” (Jeff LeFevere at Good Grape has a great summary on this) as well as Anthony Dias Blue, we can look at the latest salvo by Stephen Tanzer as more of the same.

Wine bloggers should rejoice that they are getting such traction that old-guard wine reviewers such as Tanzer and the International Wine Cellar feel threatened enough to jump in the wine blog pool and swim with the… um… what is it that you call capable incumbents who occupy the market segment that you hope to enter?

Oh yeah: sharks.

Posted via web from Wine Biz Radio Industry Commentary

1 comment for “Stephen Tanzer, I do believe the gauntlet has been thrown down

  1. March 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Stephen who ??
    This guy is just another wannabe Robert Parker

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