#winelovers and #winesnobs: What’s the difference?



I started this discussion on twitter yesterday:  If a #winelover reads a large number of #wine books… will he become a #winesnob?

Best answer so far: “The #winesnob is associated with #pretentiousness & not #knowledge.” Mia Anzola

Then I asked on Facebook: “But what do you think?”

I got many very good comments, so I decided to make it a little more formal than just a conversation on Facebook that eventually is going to disappear….


If you are short on time and don’t want to read everything that’s been said, here is my favorite:

  • Todd Trzaskos: I believe that a true #winelover who gains great wine knowledge through study and experience, is ultimately humbled by the vastness and depth of the subject, and realizes that the people who grow, make, share and consume the end product are a true community within which wine snobbery has no place.



Jason Todd Phelps: If they only read books and don’t actually experience the real world, yes. If they use books to inspire them to travel and explore, and then actually do those things they are unlikely to be snobby.
Luiz Alberto: Jason: I agree with you… This is the way I chose to live my life! However, I don’t think we can say that every person “who only reads books” is going to be a snob. For one reason or another, some of these people who are searching for (wine) knowledge may not have the opportunity to travel and explore…
Jason Todd Phelps: I didn’t really intend to make a black and white statement. I was more so alluding to the fact that book knowledge without practical experience is a precursor to dogma and rigidity in thinking.

Magnus Reuterdahl: I think that anyone who falls in love with a subject, products or what ever wants to know more about it – if that comes from books, articles, blog posts etc does not really matter. The more you learn the more you want to know or you get bored and tag along the next thing that comes along, it might be considered snobby but is rather quite a natural consequence – with knowledge you get picky. Life is just to short for boring wines (or you just wants to get drunk and don’t care about it)!

Luiz Alberto: Magnus: I also agree with you… However, “considered snobby” is not the same as “being snobby”… I’m not a subscriber of the (flawed) philosophy that perception is reality. I am who I am and not who you think I am!
Magnus Reuterdahl: Luiz Alberto – “considered snobby” is not the same as “being snobby” – no its rather in the eye of the beholder or the agent (ie do you want to be its easy enough if you have the money) – then again what is a winesnob? I’ve be called when I said no thanks to BiB wine, I might have looked at someone else beeing a snob for another reason. Some might be seen as snobs only drinking certain vintages, others only natural wines or certain brands. I in no way think books in general makes you a snob though if you want to be one you can learn from books. For example take a book like American Psycho – it was in a big way a good way of learning to be broker snob; what business card to have, which jacket to ware, what restaurant to go to etc.


Jennifer Capron Iddon: I’ve been unable to find enough books on my particular specialism – in English anyway (and my French is still crap!) so I read some wine guides, more to gain information on other areas of world wine. I form my own opinions of the wien I taste, and actually go so far as to not research the wines I taste before I visit so I am completely unbiased. I tend to follow my own path, in life and wine, and it works for me.

Adam Japko: Luiz, book knowledge does not produce snobs at any more vigorous pace than lots of field and tasting experience might….it’s all about the person, their values, how nicely they play in the sand box, and their Karma. Your personal style and friendship is always a pleasure in my world and club!

Cathrine Todd: I agree with Adam Japko… I could go on a ridiculously rant on this subject, but will try to keep it short. It doesn’t matter how much people have read or not read, how much they have, what degrees they have or not have, ect.. or whatever other superficial things people can label them with.. their values, ethics, yes, how nicely they play with others are extremely important… but also, they need to be comfortable and secure with themselves. Nice open minded people who have a strong character will never be snobby no matter what happens. That is why you can “never judge a book by its cover” … hehehe.. Also, like what Todd has to say, and that is the way it should be!

Kirsten H Lapointe: I don’t think reading should be considered a character flaw.

Sarah May Grunwald: Wine snobs are like hipsters. Lot of talk without a lot of real experience. Wine snobs forget that wine is made first by a farmer in a vineyard. Wine snobs forget that connection to the land and focus on the label. Just as bad a food snobs.

Patrick Farrell MD MW: I agree with most of the comments regarding snobbery. Most of the snobs that I’ve met had not encountered many wine books. Instead, they had the cash to buy expensive wine.



Richard Auffrey: As someone who is a voracious reader of wine books, and books of many other subjects & genres, I would ask you, or anyone else who knows me, whether you consider me a wine snob or not. I certainly don’t believe that I am. I am simply fascinated with history, trivia & such. I think, as others have said, snobbery is a state of mind, independent of knowledge. There can be an ignorant wine snob.

Luciana Braz: I´ve never met a #winelover who don´t like to share her/his wine, her/his passion and her/his knowledge. Snobs of any kind are selfish people always annoying everybody with the “I know everything attitude”. Attitude, that´s the key word, not knowledge to define a #winesnob.. or a snob of any kind.

Luiz Alberto: Wise words, Luciana… but I was confronted today by this tweet by W. Blake Gray (I think most of us know him): “@TheWineHub A lot of travelers like to say that they aren’t tourists. Sometimes we are what others say we are, like it or not.” Apparently some people believe that “perception is reality”…

Luciana Braz: Perception is reality for the observer, always. The Tweet seams to talk about cultural shock between the interactive subjects and the third one (the observer). If you grew up in a touristic city you´d say “they´re all tourists, even the what-ever-nationality professor doing her/his field research”.. if you didn´t she/he would be “working and enjoy her/his free time by the sun once and while”… and Philosophy comes up, a few definitions and parameters have to be set to start talking <- Do I feel snob saying that… well… a little bit…

Luiz Alberto: Luciana: Agreed! And to take it further… is not what you say, is it? It’s about your audience… some people may think you’re snob just because you love Champagne… And please don’t feel snob when you say those “philosophical things”… I know you don’t!

Stephan Steve Bosák: I am a nice guy who loves wine amongst many other things !! I would never be condescending to anyone !! Most insecure people are stuck up snobs.

Ed Hodson: Snobbery comes from insecurity, flawed understanding, and lack of knowledge, along with excessive concern about the opinions of others and a warped need to be perceived as special. Books are the cure. So #winelovers who DON’T read wine books are more likely to become snobs than those who do. #Winelovers who read tons of wine books have high potential for becoming #winebores, an entirely different creature.

Luiz Alberto: Nah! If we ONLY talk about wine, how can it ever be boring, Ed??? All you need is to be surrounded by #winelover-s… all the time!! 🙂 Cheers!

Brett Jones: Snob. Anyone who thinks they are better than someone else based upon superficial factors. When you read a lot of books you don’t have time to be superficial…

Stacy Sullivan Woods: Wine snobs put themselves above all others. There are beer snobs, car snobs, watch snobs etc. I feel sorry for snobs. They don’t get it and don’t know that they don’t get it. A saturated sponge full of dishwater, full of nothing useful. #Winelovers on the other hand are always thirsty for knowledge and are generous when sharing their own.

Stacy Sullivan Woods: In the spirit or Bastille day – “judge a man by his questions rather than his answers” – Voltaire the snob has no questions but all of the answers.

Anna Lambert: All about #wineknowledge, hard to escape #winesnobbery… Always trying to find the path…sip by sip. Happy Bastille Day!

Andreja Lajh: What is #winelover? Already the name explains it all: It’s about love, and love is also about understanding the complexity, about the respect. It’s totally different than snobbery.

Fabien Lainé: Knowledge is great only when you use it properly. Your behavior can make you pretentious or snob…


I’m very happy to see that there’s no place for #winesnobs* among #winelover-s… but please feel free to continue the conversation!
* Here is the definition of a wine snob according to Dr Vinny (Wine Spectator):
I’ve met all kinds of cultural snobs, including food, literature, film and music ones. And yes, I’ve rubbed elbows with some of the worst wine snobs. I think you’re right that their belief that other people are inferior to them starts with a knowledge base—they know more about a subject (or think they know more about a subject) than you.
I don’t think snobbery is about taste, but about how one discusses taste. Some people want to dictate style or show off their knowledge for their own gratification. Sometimes they like to be engaged in battle so they can really try to push their agenda. If the snob happens to be someone you care about, the best you can do is just smile and nod. If the snob is someone you don’t care for, the best you can do is also just smile and nod.

—Dr. Vinny


And here is the definition of a #winelover:

What is a winelover? An easy answer is someone who loves wine. For me it is a little more than that, for me it is the wine, things that are connected with wine and personal meetings. The #winelover-community is enabling all this and more. You might have seen some of our awesome t-shirts or badges…

Magnus Reuterdahl


There’s a clear difference!! 🙂


Luiz Alberto, #winelover