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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Robert Parker and Google - what they have in common

Okay oenophiles - if you're aware of famous USA wine critic Robert Parker (no relation) then this will possibly make sense to you.

Robert Parker is a wine critic with an extraordinary 'photographic memory' for wine - that enables him to recall the taste and aromas of any wine he has sampled in his life, at the mere mention of its name.  He is likewise able to pretty well nail the grape variety, country of origin and even the vintage year of a wine given to him 'blind' to sample.  These are formidable skills that have made him probably the world's most influential and powerful wine critic.  A bad word from Robert and your wine may as well be worthless.   Conversely, a rating of over 90 on his 100 point scale and your wine is going to sell like hot cakes.

The movie Mondovino exposes the incredible influence that Parker's ratings have on the wine making world.  In essence - the leading wine producers on the globe are so desperate to gain accolades from Parker that they craft their wines according to his palate.  Never mind, is this a good wine?  No.  Is this a wine that Robert Parker will give a high score to because it favours his unique palate?  Parker's alleged obsession with micro-oxygenation has forced many winemakers to follow this tannin softening process, in order to please his palate.

Now, to Google.  In the immense virtual world of the Internet, if we are looking for something - we need search engines.  Ten years ago most folk had their fave search engine - Alta Vista, MSN Search, Big Pond, or even that other one -  Google.  Now, Google has emerged as the world's most powerful search engine.  Yes, there are a few others, but if you're not on page one of Google with your web site, you may as well consign your site to the dust bin.  Consequently, everyone is tailoring their website key words and content in order to get a good ranking from Google.  This again gives Google enormous power.  Google says put Google +1 on your web site, we all say Yes!  Google says you need to link your website with FaceBook - we all say Yes!  Meanwhile Google is accumulating shiteloads of data on you and your friends and connections,  and able to use that to their own (allegedly benevolent) ends.

I think that's all a bit creepy.

Phil runs wine tours in Auckland New Zealand


  1. I'm not worried about Google knowing everything about me; I am worried that if anybody knows that much about me, they can be issued a subpoena by the American government. Google just wants to help folks sell me stuff. Folks who can compel data issuance are scarier.

  2. Good point. So much of ourt life is tracked, traced and filed - we vainly hope it's all for benevolent reasons.