• Laura Milnes

Please stop taking wine recommendations from Instagram influencers

You likely see wine suggestions all over the feeds of today's "it" Instagram darlings: smashable, uncomplicated swill considered the "starter" or "junk food" wines of the industry. These are the types of plonk that might suffice at weddings or what you'll find by the glass at Jak Astor's. You're most certainly not going to find these brands at any reputable wine bar or recommended by sommeliers on social media.

These "influencers" are not educated in wine, and often come with "celebrity" status - bought by big brands to target their demographic.

The problem with this recent trend - the recommendations aren't authentic. Volume producers aren't approaching respected wine professionals - they're targeting individuals who don't know any better, but are happy to take a quick payout.

You can thank the likes of La Marca Prosecco and San Magherita for saturating the discover pages with ads from those "Bachelorette" types - pushing wines with nauseating verbiage: "what a coindikink, hints of rose petals in my glass.", carefully curating their Instagram feed to match the baby blue label.

It's the perfect metaphor on modern culture - and an alarming one. The region in which the wine came from or the person who made it never even come into question. At best, the flavour profile is shared - "hints of strawberry and your patio".

Please, stop taking wine recommendations from influencers. It disrespects the wine industry in such a way that the people making true, honest wine get left in an incestuous bubble of wine snobs circling like voracious vultures - hovering and snatching it all up for their greedy palates.

While there may be wine lovers highlighting regions, winemakers, stories and traditions, there are just as many "wine bloggers" failing to successfully share true passion and authenticity.

The sad reality is that the average person prefers to guzzle as opposed to sip thoughtfully - which only alludes to the greater problem - how uninspired we've become as a culture.

What's worse, many of these influencers preach they eat organic, wearing it as some deluded badge of honour. It's intentionally known their favourite store is Nature's Fare or Whole Foods - sure to be documented on stories, never missing a chance to film that $8.99 head of organic cauliflower and over priced package of ancient grains for their toddler's pristine tummy. Only the joke's on them, once their carefully edited photo of the farm to table meal is posted - paired with a bottle of Copper Moon Shiraz.

We've seen that progress is possible with respect to food, as evidenced by the bounty of local and organic now available almost everywhere, coupled with an initiative to decrease plastic as much as possible. But why is this attitude missing when it comes to wine?

If you live in a wine region - drink local. If that's not possible, source whatever is closest. Develop relationships with wine buyers and agents - these people are tiring of "where is the Kendall Jackson?". Build a relationship with your local boutique and speak with a qualified wine professional who can recommend quality wines made from real people.

If you wouldn't eat at McDonald's - don't drink the same type of wine.

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