There was a time when the conversations between the cognoscenti of the wine world happened behind closed doors. Until recently, most of us could have only imagined the whispered commentary of top sommeliers as they passed in the wine cellars of the world's best restaurants, or fantasised about the kinds of things that top wine writers discussed in conclave. So, too, the drinking habits of the well-known in the wine world were only available if published, often on paper, and then usually with a tantalising lack of precision.
Opinions abound as to the true value of Twitter and many employ a wide variety of metaphors that all circle around the general impression of it being 'a complete waste of time'. But for anyone interested in what wine people are thinking, drinking, and discussing this instant or this year, it provides an incredible window into the lives and minds of the world's wine critics, writers, sommeliers, wine buyers, retailers, and yes, consumers.
Using an application called TweetDeck, I actually have a streaming list of every tweet in cyberspace that contains the word 'wine' scrolling through my computer in near real time. It unfurls faster than ticker tape, and contains exactly the profound insights you might expect from a collective community of 200 million active users all over the globe.
This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you're not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It's only £6.99 a month or £69 per year ($11/mo or $109 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.
Image by Sally Falkow
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