What is Your Opinion?
Wine Opinions states that it is “a research provider to the U.S. wine industry, and is the only Internet research organization devoted exclusively to wine.” So their findings should be of interest to the wine blogoshpere, right? Well maybe. Their site summarizes their findings, and then directs you to their on-line store which asks $295USD for their report “A Consumer Perspective on Wine Styles”. I’m sure some individuals are willing to part with such a sum, but not I. However I was interested to see one of the findings from their study which indicates the publications regularly read by their “Core Consumer Segment”. If I’m correct this represents the preferences of 307 consumers. What is so interesting about this information is that (leaving aside newspapers) the most popular of the 8 publications listed is Food and Wine (57%), with Wine Spectator (19%) a distant second, followed by Wine and Spirits (18%). In equal last place with The Wine News is “Parker” (presumably The Wine Advocate).
Why is this interesting? Well is it not fascinating that the most influential voice in wine ranks so low on the scale of publications? Does it mean that his influence is waning? I seriously doubt it. What it does suggest is that most consumers are likely to read magazines more orientated to lifestyle than The Wine Advocate, which is an extremely specialized wine publication. From the point of view of influence it might have been more informative for Wine Opinions to have asked what do consumers use in deciding what wines to buy. Maybe it is points, and then maybe its a pretty label!
What is this magazine Food and Wine? The first time I realized Food and Wine existed was when I found that Robert Parker was expanding the staff on his on-line site to include Lettie Teague Executive Wine Editor of Food and Wine. More recently Parker was interviewed by J. F. Chaigneau for Paris Match. When asked about the importance of the internet to the sale and development of wine information Parker commented (in part) that the internet “is the future”. Could it be that he also thinks that associating with the most popular wine magazine is also a good thing?