Wine Talk

Snooth User: Philip James

Is the way of the paid critic dead?

Posted by Philip James, Jul 19, 2008.

Not exactly about wine, but rather paid critics in general. However its message is clear...

Great article by the UK newspaper, The Guardian:


Reply by Chris Carpita, Jul 21, 2008.

Democratization of opinion reminds me of that quote "Information wants to be free, but information also wants to be expensive." I think well-informed opinions, based on extensive research and available resources, are going to continue to draw greater attention and revenue. Lazy critics will get downsized.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 25, 2008.

Is it irony that I was too busy to finish reading the article?

Reply by Felicia, Jul 25, 2008.

As with so many things in life, perhaps it is a matter of perceived value. Yes there are many sources where you can read for free other peoples opinions about the wines they drink, but how valuable are the opinions of strangers to you? By reading reviews of knowledgable professional wine writers, you can find one whose tastes are similar to your own, whose writing style you enjoy, and whose integrity you trust. Sites like have a number of writers from which to chose, so if you find you most often agree with Michael Franz, you can go back to his reviews to find wines you will most likely enjoy. Or if you find the writing style of Robert Whitley more to your liking and you find you often like the wines he likes, then he becomes your trusted source. Of course, this also applies to critics of other subjects -- movie reviews, for instance. You might read them for amusement, but if you don't share the taste of Ebert, you may not go to a movie he recommends. Nor should you go to a movie just because you read a stranger's rave that it is the best movie he's see all year.

"Anything free is worth what you paid for it".

Reply by oceank8, Jul 26, 2008.

I agree with Felicia, which makes this site so great, you get recommendations just for you based on what you like!

Reply by Philip James, Jul 26, 2008.

Felicia - sorry but i cant agree with your last phrase: "Anything free is worth what you paid for it".

What about google, oxygen, the sun or life itself? Some of the best things around are free...

And with wine, we all know that price is a very poor indicator of quality, and an even worse indicator of how much someone will enjoy it. Thats why sites like ours as well as critics exist in this space.

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Jul 28, 2008.

There are certainly valuable free things out there but when they break (are worthless) you can't really complain.

Gah -- all this free sunlight gave me a sunburn!

Therefore it's inherently true that it is worth at least what you paid for it. It might be worth more, though!

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