Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Our wine knowledge is turning into a wiki

As wine professionals, we are all faced with the vast and impossible task of self educating ourselves. There is certainly a segment of the wine population that goes through a formalized trajectory, but this is most often associated with production and science. As a sommelier, or a sales person, we must figure out the most direct path to learn as much as possible. With the absence of a common curriculum, we usually wander and meander through wine education. We form "tribes" of tasting groups and after work, we get together to chat about wine industry gossip and some earnest discussion about arcane facts. This is our classroom.
There are certainly important figures within the wine world that have tried desperately to provide a wine course, most notably, Kevin Zraly. These people are owed a debt of gratitude, but one person, or a group of people, have been largely ineffective in teaching the masses the upper level courses of wine knowledge. The deeper you go, the scarcer the organized education becomes. I've bemoaned how, as an industry, we test well but don't teach so well.
What we have done as a group, is become our own greatest sources of information. The floating conventional wisdom of our wine tribe is ever changing, and rarely verified. This resembles the concept of a wiki. Now, we use wikipedia quite a bit, but what I am referring to is sort of the common thoughts we all gather from each other. We are all educating each other, constantly comparing notes, and ideally, constantly editing our own knowledge bases.

1 comment:

  1. To truly appreciate the goodness of wines, one really has to know a lot of information about wines and not just knowing how to uncork a bottle and pour it in a wine glass.