The Grapevine

More on Whether Wine Recommendations Matter

January 3rd, 2017

Last week, we looked at the idea that wine recommendations may  not matter any more in a world filled with apps and algorithms that tap into the wisdom of the crowd for everything from electronics to books to music to, yes, even wine. [level-members]

We concluded that making recommendations do matter, because what’s required for subjective judgement of things like wine is quite different from the more quantitative approach to comparing cellular networks or cars. There, getting as many people as possible to input their experience with cell phone coverage or fuel economy or reliability is of great value.

But if you don’t know who your fellow reviewers are, it’s hard to decide whether to value the “perfect 100” they’ve given a wine or to discount it entirely.

As one sommelier interviewed in an article in the Independent points out, “Let’s be honest, TripAdvisor has its merits but it also has ill-informed idiots making spectacularly pointless and unfair comments.”

So while it pays to stay on top of articles like this from Medium, which outlines how the crowd is the new critic, and even more important to track new apps your customers may be coming to love, like Verve, you should also make it clear that you’ve got an opinion, you’ve got some level of expertise, and most importantly, there is a consistency to your recommendations that will let your customers gauge their own tastes against yours. (Meaning, they may agree with everything you say. Or they may know that anything you say “has nice fruit” they’re going to hate.)

In other words, they don’t have to share your tastes for your recommendations to be valuable to them. And that’s the goal in building trust in your business.