A well-learned and well-funded wine-lover easily argues the merits of a 1947 Mouton Rothschild versus a 1945, or waxes poetic over a La Romanée-Conti from a jaw-dropping vintage. But, unless said wine-lover has broken the glass ceiling like Jancis Robinson or possesses the wit or conviction of a Stephen Colbert or populist James Corden (men who yak as part of a multi-million dollar career), you’ll probably want to hurl a bunch of overripe, post-post-noble rot grapes at the know-it-all.
But not at this lot. This lot are keepers – drinkers you aren’t likely to purge from your “following” list, even when they get too-cool-for-school by swapping out tasting notes to quote the 1981 The Psychedelic Furs song, “Pretty In Pink” (@patrickwine). As esoteric as their taste buds may be, these five all share a winning trait: A disarming persona. (And to my knowledge, none wields MW certification, which really is a good thing.)
1 David Razzari (@_drazzari)
While this list is not organised by any merit, Razzari is suitably at number one for being one of Instagram’s healthy addictions. A ray of positivity, this resident of the San Francisco Bay Area never has a negative word for any one, or any tipple, and genuinely sounds like the next door neighbour we’d invite round for dinner. A proponent of wine tourism, he drinks and champions the local fermentation, often posting wines sourced from his visits to small producers across California and the American West Coast. He also has a habit of drinking craft beer while out playing golf. His equally genial Labrador retriever, Gianna, is a mainstay on his account, appearing in a majority of his signature cork-between-the-glass-and-bottle posts. Seriously. Who doesn’t like a guy who loves wine, golfs under the influence and has a retriever named Gianna?
2 Winnie (@girl.meets.wine)
In her own words, this wino with an ever present red manicure is a “non-certified wine gob” (in Winnie-speak, that’s a “cross between a wine snob and a wine geek”), yet has parlayed her hobby onto multiple platforms, including twitter (@thetipsywriter) and her own wine-all-the-time website. A writer by profession, she’s rarely lost for words, and while her captions can range from the long to the very long, they are always an enlivened and educational read. Not only does she write and drink well – very well, actually – she’s also a bit of an artist. Those ink sketches that she posts every now and again of the world’s different wine regions are all drawn by her, often on the fly. Want them blown up as a poster for your wall? Why not start petitioning her to launch an e-commerce page on her site?
3 Henry Hariyono (@hhariyono)
A lot of people sell wines. So does Henry Hariyono. But Hariyono’s business is really all about passion. One only needs to look at his beautifully photographed pictures to feel the respect he has for the craft and artistry of winemaking. This is a guy who’ll drink a holy grail DRC on a Monday, a “Friggin Foillard” on a Tuesday and on Wednesday tuck into a plate of oh luak (oyster omelette) at Jalan Besar Food Centre. You can’t not trust a guy who loves his DRC, yet would queue up for a messy $3 hawker dish, with your own palate. Unlike some other serious wine connoisseurs, he hasn’t completely turned up his chin to the New World either. While you sense he wouldn’t touch a mass fruit bomb with a 10ft pole, he does champion small wineries beating their own path in crafting expressive wine, such as Dirty & Rowdy (California) and Jauma (South Australia).
4 Stephen McConnell (@_Soif)
Love him or hate him, McConnell is proof that the flowery style of wine writing we’re accustomed to is superficial and archaic. He’s sharp, sardonic and playful, and easily more entertaining than Jeremy Clarkson and Simon Cowell combined. He’s practically the Shakespeare of the wine blogging world. Painfully honest, and with some creativity, he writes tasting notes such as this: “Baby baby baby fruit like the Biebs and of course it's got some color: it's 50/50 PS/PV! Fresh young and floral, desperately attempting some facial hair and drives a hotrod but a lil playboy fruit, dense and jampacked, black pepper and bitter has no chance against this spectrum, no serious tannin, just rich and wild and young all the way through.”
5 Gaylord Burguiere (@gaylord_burguiere)
How could I not include a Frenchmen in this list? Burguiere’s not big on writing captions, but his photos alone are a thousand words. Not a wine critic or blogger, he’s a photographer that simply hails from the Languedoc wine region (known for its terroir and personality) in Southern France; and his primary aim is to spread the love for his hometown. Richly hued, the imagery of vines, rolling hills and charming villages can only put a smile on your face.