Michael Wangbickler on April 24th, 2009

No respect

The saga continues in the realm of wine writer/blogger ethics. Since yesterday, there have been a few more posts on the subject.

Joel Vincent wrote a direct response on his blog, in which he states that Mr. Parker should be ashamed of himself. He takes each point made against the Wine Bloggers’ Conference and the wine blogging community, and addresses them one by one. His argument is well-written and quite compelling. He concludes his posting with an appeal to Mr. Parker to step up and lead, rather than criticize bloggers.

You and your voice can be a leader to a new generation of wine writers and lead the change that is happening to the wine writing industry. This change is going to happen. I’m not forcing it, just giving it a platform. I’m not the CA wine industry as Joe seems to thing, I’m just a nerd from MIT that loves wine. If you came to the conference and started to discuss with the community what you believed should be deemed as “responsible” blogging you’d have 200 very enthusiastic bloggers doing their best to live up to the standards set by thought leaders like yourself.

But rather than being the center of the inevitable change, the beacon that guides that change in a responsible direction, you seem to be disparaging what you don’t seem to understand. Rather than attending, understanding, and helping, you are pointing at the problems with blogging and offering no solutions.

If thats going to be your stance going forward you should refrain from commenting on what you and your Web2.0 advisors don’t understand and stick to tasting wine.

In addition, Lisa de Bruin addresses the issue on her blog, California Wine Life. She argues that counter to the crux of the arguement, that bloggers may benefit from winery involvement.

Frankly, I’d like to see wineries sponsor wine bloggers to get to the WBC. I may end up in hot water for saying this, but I believe the community will benefit if the experienced, contributing, talented bloggers are in the room (and not just the ones who can afford to be there). And why not? Why shouldn’t the wine industry invest in the blogging industry as a whole. It certainly isn’t going anywhere. Do we want honesty? Sure. Transparency? Of course. So let’s set it up that way. We’ll need the voices of capable, committed of bloggers (or blobbers) with talent and integrity. Fortunately, I don’t think it will be too hard to find those wine bloggers.

Further, Ryan Opaz makes a good point on Wineblogger.info that wine bloggers are the voice of the average wine consumer.

As consumers, we now have a voice. Sometimes uneducated, sometimes biased, but we are the wine drinkers. We’re the ones buying wine for dinner, in the grocery store, wine shop or online. Together, our voices are loud, though I hardly think that we’re the ones destroying the wine world. We’re not hurting anyone.

So far, I haven’t seen any further response from Robert Parker. I wonder if we can expect one?

Reading between the lines of all this is, I think that it comes down to one statement: You don’t get respect because you want it, you get respect because you earn it. The wine blogger community needs to either step up and prove to the establishment that they are legitimate, or they need to ignore the criticism and forge their own path.

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5 Responses to “Still No Respect…”

  1. Michael,

    Great point (you get zero respect unless you’ve earned it). I expect we’ll see zero response from WA.

    The Wine Blogging community has a lot of stepping up to do- Not just in quality but more so in originality. (I’m needing improvements on both counts).

    What proves legitimacy? I still think it is # of eyeballs first. If someone is doing great work and no one is paying attention it doesn’t really matter. (but if they are doing something great, it will get attention).

    We’re down the road some, but still have a long long way to go.

  2. I’ve said for a long time that we as wine bloggers should talk less about the issues of wine blogging and get back to wine writing. If we write about wine educated and intelligent way we will earn the respect we need. Robert Parker after all is just a wine loving amateur who started publishing on the easiest and cheapest medium available when he started. If he were starting today he would be one of us.

    Also I hate the bad bloggers=all bloggers are bad mentality. Wake up, we’re publishers, some who are better than others. Either way that statement is no different for “traditional press”, plenty of crap out there.

  3. Have you ever seen the movie “King of Kong” (documentary)? If you haven’t you should. Parker reminds me of the main dude in that. Big deal in a small pond that is living in his own head.

    Seriously, check that out. It’s how people not in the wine industry look at Parker.

  4. Sry about name typo. Using my iPhone. Great iPhone plugin BTW!!!

  5. On the “ignore the criticism”, I don’t necessarily agree there. Not when the criticism is a large entity. That creates opportunity to further your brand/cause. Parker addressing the bloggers (and me) directly and criticizing is one thing, but doing it in a way that is clearly a maneuver to bolster his own position with his “peeps”, blatantly misrepresent while telling others they misrepresent, and flat out bullying a clearly smaller opponent (i.e trying to bully bloggers).

    The opportunity that this creates is attention where we didn’t have attention before and a window to demonstrate what the community is and its value to the wine world.

    What I’m saying is that when the highest of high profiles engages you like that you engage back (in a marketing sense) because you have exposure. While you have that exposure, what do you want to say?

    I think every blogger should chime into this conversation because the topic has attention right now and begin to publicly discuss what he criticized about bloggers while it has the attention of the “Parker” crowd (which will be or is fleeting at best).

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