Robert Joseph

Robert is a wine business consultant and an editorial consultant for Meininger’s Wine Business International, which he helped to launch in 2006. In 1983, after living in Burgundy for five years, he launched Wine International magazine; set up the International Wine Challenge; became wine writer for the Sunday Telegraph and wrote The Wine Lists, the first of his 25 books. He has chaired and launched over 50 wine competitions in Asia, Europe and the UK. Robert has been in Who’s Who since 2013, and awards he has received include the Jacob’s Creek ‘Golden Vine’; ‘the Best Wine Guide in the World’; the Glenfiddich (twice); The Wine Guild of the United Kingdom Premier; the Marques de Caceres. He regularly appears on television and radio, and has lectured at the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust, Burgundy and Sonoma Wine Business Schools. Joseph is one of the trio behind Hugh Kevin & Robert Wines whose le Grand Noir range now sell over 3.8m bottles per year in over 60 countries. His website is

What is wine communication in 2022?

In 2002, like wine producers, book publishers and authors largely relied heavily on traditional critics and reviewers. Today, they also have TikTok, Instagram and peer reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. The #Booktok tag has been used over 39,000,000,000 times. TikTok influencers are now becoming more important to book publishing than most classic reviewers. Barnes & Nobles shops in the US now have BookTok shelves. Top Instagram book influencers, @everlastingcharm,  @myfriendsarefiction and @hayaisreading all have over 100,000 followers, far more potential book buyers than are ever likely to read a traditional newspaper review.

Wine in China has adopted this shift more rapidly than in the west. Wang Shenghan, aka Lady Penguin, a 33-year-old leading wine influencer, has built an e-commerce platform with revenues of over $35m. But it is not just influencers. A Vivino marketing campaign can be more cost effective today than promoting a Wine Spectator score.

Many in the industry are uncomfortable with these trends, but ignoring them may be a mistake. Former award-winning author and critic and now industry analyst, Robert Joseph, takes a level-headed look at the rapid way wine communication is changing, reveals the findings from new research, and ways many producers may need to adapt.