08-01-2016 ~ 6 Comments

Who are the top wine influencers on social media? No one.

I love it when articles like this one come out listing the top people in wine social media. My reason for loving this is quite simple in that it allows me to use a word I don’t often use as I’m not British which is, bollocks.

Beyond the fact that the author of the article also pops up as the 4th “most influential” person in wine social media is that this list commits a seriously felony in that it blends people from the real world with people from the digital world. Suffice to say, would I buy a wine recommended by Wine Spectator? Sure. Jancis Robinson? You bet. Tim Atkin? Probably. Decanter? Indeed. A list of these types are a list of people or entities that have a solid presence in the real world which has then followed them in to the digital world.

I’ve got another news for you as we start the new year, the importance of social media for wine is not going to decrease in 2016 either.

I had to actually read that twice because I knocked my keyboard on the floor and then had to change my underwear from laughing so hard. Social media has zero effect on wine buying no matter how much marketing folks want to claim it’s how millennials will find their wine. Oh wait, I suppose it is true when I look at this case of wine I bought because The Wine Wankers (#3 Most Influential) put up an Instagram shot of it the other day. Except that I didn’t and I won’t because I un-followed all their feeds due to their incessant, never-ending posts that truly live up to the “wanker” part of their name.

So why on earth would these established and actual influencers sully themselves with social media if I’m right and it is indeed ineffective in terms of wine? For the same reason that they have email mailing lists and offer discounts on subscriptions to their magazines in that they want to use every outlet possible to get eyeballs on their articles to justify their advertising rates. It’s also the case that people (myself included) thought that social media would eventually lead to something useful in the wine world. It hasn’t and it won’t. As people ignore it more and more that transition from digital to real world in terms of wine–something you have to physically imbibe–gets ever more impossible and it comes back around to the fact that those who influence wine are actual wine critics, not someone who opened a Twitter account and deemed themselves as such.

But lastly, this list is just silly. Sure, there are some people in there with impressive numbers in terms of followers and what not but the Klout score really means nothing. If you dropped in a few more places, you’d soon get to Vinologue which has a score of 61. It has this despite our putting in maybe 20 minutes a week in to it. Every so often we put in a little more activity but it generally falls flat and trying to do promotions or anything meaningful with it? Forget about. The surest way on the Vinologue Instagram to have a photo fail is to put up anything the least bit product-related.

As I said previously, social media and wine are done. It’s going to take a bit more time for that to sink in given how much effort a lot of people have put in to building up a “following” but it just won’t ever work.