Saturday, March 3, 2007

Wine talking on the Internet

~Have you ever visited a wine bulletin board or forum? If not, you might consider doing so.
~You can have a lot of fun learning on a wine forum. You can also have a lot of fun reading some of the truly idiotic threads that can develop on a wine forum.
~Mostly, the threads on a wine forum that cover wine are relatively straight forward: sometimes, they are technical threads; sometimes, they are tasting note threads; sometimes, they are general interest threads; sometimes, they are specific interest threads; most times, they are all over the place threads; all the time, they are great fun for someone with either a passing or a deep interest in wine.
~The idiotic stuff that takes place on a forum often starts with a subject either directly related or vaguely related to wine, but then the discussion degenerates into insults, inanities, and serious displays of intemperance, which, to me, is a fine irony, since these are people who drink alcohol…
~The first wine forum I ever visited was by invitation.
~The late Jerry Mead was one of the most outspoken curmudgeons in the wine business, which is why I loved the man. We had never met in person, but we had established a correspondence after I once sent him a letter regarding one of his beautiful anti-government diatribes in his small magazine named the Wine Trader.
~Jerry asked me to write something for his magazine on two separate occasions. After the second piece, he invited me to join in an ongoing email conversation among a number of industry professionals. The email “round robin” was simply an open discussion among many people with definite opinions. We disagreed a lot, sometimes feverishly, but I cannot remember one personal insult ever having been thrown at anyone in those emails.
~Then, Jerry got involved with the Internet and he invited me onto a forum. Jerry’s forum still operates under the name wines.com—its URL is below with the other forum URLs.
~Today, the state of the wine forum is all over the map. Each forum is free to the public, but some are there to support a separate commercial interest, like the forum connected to the name Robert M. Parker—the URL is below.
~One particular forum is operated by a truly free-spirited, fun-loving winophile Russian-American who started his forum after his online posting style had gotten him into trouble on other wine forum sites.
~You'll even find a forum where most of the posters will likely remind of your days in the schoolyard...you know, when teasing and one-upping was adolescent fun.
~Without doubt in my mind, the most open and reasonable of the genre is the forum that Robin Garr operates: Wine Lovers Page—the URL is at the bottom of this post. But—and there is always a but—even on Mr. Garr’s site there are those whose brains sometimes seem to revert to the crib, or worse.

There simply are people on this earth who can’t be made either to think or to be sociable.

Unfortunately, the Internet is an easy place for such people to spout off. On many of the sites, such a person gets a few warnings and then likely is barred.

The best thing to do when you encounter a person like that on a forum is to ignore…do not respond with a post of your own; instead, some people cannot avoid the impulse to respond, and then the fun begins.

For an example of what can happen when a melt down occurs on a wine forum look here: ridiculous

~Incidentally, the man who started that vicious thread once worked as a critic for Mr. Parker. I have no idea what he now does for a living, but I assume he doesn’t directly rely on the wallets of wine geeks or, as he so eloquently puts things, us morons.
~I am endlessly amazed at the capacity to entertain of so many people who aren’t entertainers, and I am sometimes happy that I don't have to buy a ticket for the entertainment.
~Don't get me wrong. I am not squeaky-clean. I engaged in some stupid arguments in the past. I have sworn not to do that again...

A wine forum usually requires no registration to read the posts of others, but should you get sucked in and want to post, you must register. If you register and post remember: I will be watching—try not to make me wince…at times, you might even see my name in your thread.

Here are only a few sites: wine talk, Parker, wines.com, Garr, Therapy,

Copyright, Thomas Pellechia
February 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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