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Be intimidated no more

Vinophiles are embracing social media platforms to help demystify wine.

entertainment Updated: Jul 10, 2010 00:54 IST
Girija Duggal

Confused about the big, bad, tough world of wine? Want to know what wine pairs best with spaghetti carbonara, or what the indecipherable label on the bottle actually means? All you have to do to find answers to these and more questions is log onto the internet.

Through transmedia platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, video blogs and mobile phone apps, an increasing number of winemakers, critics and vinophiles are dismantling a topic that many find intimidating. There are now hundreds of blogs devoted to the subject.

Red Wine tasting

On award-winning Dr. Vino, Tyler Colman he writes of new developments in the field, suggests pocket-friendly wines, posts interactive wine maps, and more. On Swirl Smell Slurp, an LA-based couple has taken to blogging about their wine adventure, aptly called United Slurps of America.

Then there’s Gary Vaynerchuk, who has been hosting an internet webcast called Wine Library TV since 2006. His unpretentious approach to the subject has turned him into a celebrity of sorts, with his Facebook fan page boasting over 46,000 friends. Wine Taste TV, Wine Dine TV and of course, YouTube, are other places where one can enjoy free video tutorials and tastings.

Twitter has become another popular point of interaction, with wine gurus such as Jancis Robinson joining up to share their insights and to have direct interaction with followers. And with social networking becoming the giant it has, it’s no surprise that the wine world has its own online communities — Snooth is among the most popular ones — where you can discuss, rate and shop for wine.

For handy access to information, there are a number of smartphone applications available, among them Hello Vino, Pair It! and Wine Snob.

The most important and interesting event online, however, has to be the first ever free virtual 3D wine fair, held from June 21-27. Not only did it allow industry professionals to interact, individuals not connected with the industry could navigate the cool ‘conference area’, check out wine booths ‘set up’ by various wineries, and interact with exhibitors.

All these initiatives are garnering an impressive following. Almost five lakh people were expected to participate in the virtual fair. Seven lakh people watch wine clips online every month, and 7,000 tweet about it every day. Robinson enjoys over 30,000 followers on Twitter.

It all boils down to one thing — people want to educate themselves about wine, and technology has become the most potent source for that learning. It’s time to enter cyberspace.