Questions on the stylistic future of wine…

With Robert Parker stepping down from rating California wines there is quite a bit of speculation going on about what is going to happen in the vacuum that will exist in his absence.  There is Antonio Galloni, who is going to take up Parker's formidable job of rating every wine in California once a year.  In the past, Antonio has covered other wine regions and done a great job, but the question is whether or not his palate and ratings will continue in the same direction as Robert Parker's.  Will his European work experience mean that he will appreciate more balanced, nuanced, possibly even feminine wines?  Even if he continues rate in the same vein that Robert did, will the public respond in the same way?  These questions have been swirling around the blogosphere for the last couple weeks.

Hence the title question; 'What is the future of wine?'  Some people say that there are about 20 sommeliers who will be key influencers across the country.  That would be nice because they would see the reaction of their recommendations on people more than someone like Robert Parker or James Lauby.  It would, however, create a pretty difficult matrix for consumers to follow.  I don't see that scaling up very well; can you imagine looking at 10 different ratings while shopping at the store?  It seems like the most likely scenario is that people will discount the Parker score of a wine a little bit, and the Advocate v. Spectator rating game will continue.  Who knows, maybe it is time for someone like Steve Tanzer to have a shot at becoming more significant.

Structurally, the publishing industry is set up to continue in the same way that it has been.  The Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate both have more subscribers and more credibility than anybody else.   Also, the national marketplace doesn't want things to change too much.  Retailers and customers alike have figured out how they want to sell and purchase wines.  They don't want to try and change that model, they want to show up for work and do what they know how to do-sell wines with good ratings on the internet for a competitive price.

Here's a couple links to interesting articles from this week, that are all wondering about the stylistic future of wine.

Steve Heimhoff's article; Post WOPN thoughts on alcohol

Dr. Vino did an interview here

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