Should wine writers be certified?

No.

People get way too fired up over wine experts over or under-rating wines, point inflation, etc. What's the big deal? Find a writer or two with whom your palate aligns and follow him/her! Forget the others. Let's not forget that they're in business to sell their product, not to necessarily to make everyone happy.

Now, I realize the above premise isn't directly linked to what I'm venting about, but it's in the same vein. If a wine critic/writer is knowledgeable and I agree with his/her reviews, I'll likely buy. If not, I won't. A certification won't change that.
definitely not.

it's up to you, as the consumer, to determine who is and who is not credible.

i send a bi-weekly email to a bunch of locals (about 75 people) making some suggestions for wines that can be purchased locally. i suggest shops, wine events, etc. if they buy the wines i suggest and they think they suck, then i lose my credibility. i shouldn't need to be "certified" in any way.
In the I.T. industry, we tend to laugh at certifications. It tends to mean the person doesn't know much about what they're "certified" as so they have to go out and get a certification to help their claim. There's a few exceptions to this, but chances are, if we're interviewing someone with certs, we're going to stump them pretty quick and move on. Certifications simply mean you're good at memorization and taking tests.

I think the same tends to apply to wine tasting. Sure, you may have some more information but I'm more concerned about how you can apply that information than what you've accumulated. I'm looking to you for expertise in tasting and scoring, not in being on my team for Trivial Pursuit: Wine Edition.

Industry experience can help but it seems unnecessary. Those with the tools and understanding of how to use them will hopefully do so. We just need to calibrate to know how we align in relation to them.
My "training" consists of a vintage picking grapes in Bordeaux, four years as a wine buyer and bartender in Manhattan, two years living in a French wine village, spending as much time as possible hanging around the cooperative and in the vineyards, and now 20+ years of immersion in the wine world at Wine Spectator.

There's always more to learn, and there are many paths to knowledge. I feel I could benefit from more formal education, in a school of enology or at a winery. (For the record, I don't have a degree in journalism, either.)

But as many here have already said, we all do the best we can with the tools we have. The wine lovers of the world will vote with their palates and their dollars, and those who earn credibility will flourish. Certification might help towards that goal, but can't guarantee it on its own.
Do most critics in other fields have "certifications"? There are a lot more magazines/blogs, etc., devoted to fashion - what are the certifications of those writers?

What about the guys who write about technology or cars? Are they engineers?

Are music critics musicians?

It seems pointless - what would the certification be? Critics are just people who offer their opinions - now people will need a certification to offer an opinion?

WAIT!

Maybe that's not a bad idea!

Let's expand the whole certification thing to voting! Isn't that pretty much the same thing as being a critic?

We just let anybody do it and their stupid votes affect all of us! And we don't require ANYTHING! No basic familiarity with candidates or issues - hell, not even basic motor skills. As long as you have a heartbeat, you're good.

Yeah yeah I know - whether a wine should be 91 or 92 is vastly more important than who becomes the leader of the free world but maybe if we start on the small things, we can eventually build up enough momentum to weed out all the unqualified wine critics.
Though I think that the idea is crazy to require certification, in no way will I look down on someone for having (or not) a "formal" wine education. I have have the CSW certificate, but that was more of a structured way for me to learn the wine regions and laws of Italy and such. I don't think it has helped one bit with my writing, but I do think that it might provide some sense of "expertise" to people that don't know about my self-taught knowledge or industry experience.
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
quote:
Originally posted by VaWineSnob.com:
I am a wien writer for the Examiner.


Guten Tag! And welcome to the boards....

PH


PH-- He said he was a wien writer, not a speller. Big Grin Or maybe he specializes in Austrian wines.
I agree with Board-O but I would also add that there is a distinction to make between a professional wine critic and a critic. If you are paid to critique wine, then you are a professional and as such, while not mandatory, a certain education in wine is recommended. A wine critic who is not professional( I think the wine doctor was mentioned) does not have the same influence on me as a professional.

That being said, having your palate aligned with a taster is far more important than any other criteria. Jancis Robinson has a MW, but I think she is one of the very few in the world of professional critics. Parker sure as hell doesn't and most of the WS staff don't either but that does not detract me from finding them credible and accurate sources on evaluating a wine. A MW is beneficial, particularly beneficial for critics like Parker since he often goes into great depths in describing the wine in some of his TNs. I think some wine education would make said TNs much more informative and accurate as a result.
quote:
Originally posted by irwin:
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
quote:
Originally posted by VaWineSnob.com:
I am a wien writer for the Examiner.


Guten Tag! And welcome to the boards....

PH




PH-- He said he was a wien writer, not a speller. Big Grin Or maybe he specializes in Austrian wines.


Maybe I have Gluhwein on the mind?

Nope - just a stupid typo.
quote:
Originally posted by Mimik:
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
Welcome to the boards, VaWineSnob.
May I intraduce introduce PupleHaze, PurpleHaze our resident Red Pen.
He has a penchant for correcting typos. Wink

It's heartwarming to see you back in the saddle, PH Cool


Cool

Big Grin it was all intentional
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
quote:
Originally posted by Mimik:
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
Welcome to the boards, VaWineSnob.
May I intraduce introduce PupleHaze, PurpleHaze our resident Red Pen.
He has a penchant for correcting typos. Wink

It's heartwarming to see you back in the saddle, PH Cool


Cool

Big Grin it was all intentional


I've really tried to restrain myself, guys. I must say that I'm right on the verge of opening a can of whup ass on some local apostrophe abusers pretty soon!! Mad

PH

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