Many people feel that the world of wine drinking has become hopelessly elitist, with experts using language which is beyond most people, and trying to prevent real wine drinkers from saying what they truly feel about the juice of the grape. Although in some parts of the world, wine drinking snobs have complete control of the sampling, acknowledging and reviewing of different wines, in South Africa a new attitude has begun which looks to try and encourage everyone who enjoys wine to take part in and appreciate the joy which a real glass of wine can bring.
RealTimeWine began in 2007, with the founder reading a review of a rather ordinary wine and being annoyed and frustrated at the extremely elitist language of the writer. At times he felt that he didn’t understand anything that had been written about the wine. Words which are commonly used by wine experts to describe the experience of the drink, such as bouquet, fruited or oaky, are often a mystery to those who are trying to find a good bottle of wine to drink. In fact, the language of these traditional reviews can actually hinder you in finding a good wine, because the ordinary reader cannot tell what is being said.
Rather than trying to create a culture which believed in using high-falutin’ words to assess whether the wine had a nice flavour, or was perhaps too harsh for the pleasure drinker, RealTimeWine decided to look for more honest ways to describe the wines that they were sampling. Words such as ‘finish’, ‘length’, ‘nose’ and ‘tannins’ are all banned by RealTimeWine, which considers them to be unsuitable words to use in a friendly, humorous and pleasantly descriptive reviews. By promoting South African wine as honest and straight-forward, the blog helps to encourage people to drink the wines and make reviews of their own.
The founder felt that the old wine reviews were simply not getting to the heart of the question, that is whether the wine being reviewed was actually drinkable or not. That is, after all, the purpose of most drinkers of the wine, and is really what needs to be discussed in any review of a wine, or an estate which makes several different types of wine. Andy quickly dealt with this problem by providing short reviews which stated simply whether the wine was any good or not. The second problem that RealTimeWine find with traditional reviews is that they only give marks out of five, which is often not enough to be clear about the standard of wine. RealTimeWine has fixed this by offering marks out of 10. Readers know that if any wine gets a 1/10, that is a drink to avoid like the plague.
The other difference between RealTimeWine and traditional reviews is the word-limit which is attached. Reviews must only be 140 words or less, which really limits what can be said, and helps people offering reviews to keep their feelings on a subject short, sweet, and to the point.