The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
Message
Author
User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39857
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#1 Post by Todd F r e n c h » March 8th, 2012, 2:24 pm

Let's bring out the old guard on this thread, and go through the entire history of wine forums/wine discussion groups, and social networking. I know a few of the original online wine geeks are here (Mark H, Bob Foster, Ron Kramer, Adam Lee, etc), going way back to Compuserve text-based discussions on 300baud modems.

I think it would behoove ALL those who find Wine Berserkers to see the decades of wine networking online, with stories from those who lived through it.

(Please note: there will be opinions on this thread that likely will come across as negative, i.e. 'bashing' of one or more professional wine critic and/or forum owner/administrator. If that offends you, I suggest you don't read on. I'd rather this be a truly open conversation and historical outline of the history of wine online, and that may include opinions from those who post that may or may not coincide with your own)
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
Cris Whetstone
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 11057
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:09 pm
Location: OC, CA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#2 Post by Cris Whetstone » March 8th, 2012, 2:26 pm

Don't forget my favorite OG, Nancy Dolcemascolo!
WetRock

"Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true." - Francis Bacon

"I had taken two finger-bowls of champagne and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental, and profound." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

User avatar
John S
Posts: 906
Joined: May 29th, 2009, 11:45 am
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#3 Post by John S » March 8th, 2012, 2:44 pm

For my part this is pretty much sequential. I missed the prodigy days.

alt.food.wine (usenet)
winespectator forums
Robin Garr's winelovers
Brad Harrington's West Coast Wine
Squires Board
Parker Board
Berserkers

I've seen the same herd move so many times it it like watching the great migration on the serengeti.
John Sprow

User avatar
Berry Crawford
Posts: 10023
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 8:16 pm
Location: Near the Sierra Foothills

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#4 Post by Berry Crawford » March 8th, 2012, 2:49 pm

I remember reading in the parker bio that he had a bulletin board on Compuserve or something?

User avatar
Ray Walker
Posts: 1961
Joined: April 23rd, 2009, 3:10 pm
Location: Nuits-Saint-Georges, Côte d'Or, France

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#5 Post by Ray Walker » March 8th, 2012, 2:50 pm

I was introduced to a few people that are here at winodepot.com, but went to Mark Squire's board because of the Burgundy geeks of all things.
ITB
Maison ILAN

User avatar
Roberto Rogness
Posts: 18974
Joined: February 10th, 2009, 10:16 am
Location: Santa Monica, Rio de Janeiro

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#6 Post by Roberto Rogness » March 8th, 2012, 2:54 pm

Don't forget the old AOL forum, it was pretty lively.

My favorite tale of old was when, on E-Bob, a member had just returned from Sicily and posted how he LOVED the traditional wines he tasted having been previously turned off by Planeta and a few other Ausso-Sicilian wines. Several of the resident Italophiles chimed in and recommended some of the bottlings he could find in the US.

Squires came in guns blazing telling everyone those wines sucked, Nero d'Avola had severe quality limitations, ect. The thread went on for pages and pages as he dug a deeper hole for himself. It was both funny and sad...
ITB Retail
É prohibido prohibir!

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39857
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#7 Post by Todd F r e n c h » March 8th, 2012, 3:16 pm

Let's get some more stories, folks...make this the Wikipedia of wine in social media! (too bad Wikipedia won't allow an entry on WineBerserkers)
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
Bob Foster
Posts: 858
Joined: August 25th, 2010, 5:52 pm
Location: San Diego area.

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#8 Post by Bob Foster » March 8th, 2012, 3:32 pm

Parker was the resident wine expert back on the Prodigy board which I think predated other services.. His id was "Expert42b" He posted almost daily (I guess he is the first wine blogger) Squires was but a poster in those days but quickly became a brown nosing fan of Parker.

Parker and I had MANY heated arguments. My favorite was the discussion over Brett. He just didn't get it (still doesn't) I asked him to name a single California wine he had EVER had, that had too much Brett. Instead he named a 1957 Rhone. When pushed he admitted he couldn't name one and gave me permission to "gloat." I told him it was not about gloating it was trying to show him the limits of his palate.

The first off line was held by the Prodigy folks. The terms TN and ITB were born in that era.

Parker would be oh so civil in most of his public postings but I got many VERY nasty personal messages from him. He truly sees the world in black and white--if you aren't a supporter you are an enemy. More on this in the book The Emperor of Wine.

We created a Parker Hall of Shame and Fame and whenever he did something outrageous we chronicled it there. He wasn't happy about that. [stirthepothal.gif]
Run 1 wine comp-judge 12 others

User avatar
Ron Kramer
Posts: 7124
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 4:09 pm
Location: Near Boston

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#9 Post by Ron Kramer » March 8th, 2012, 6:01 pm

I was as you say I was ' an original' Those were teeth cutting days that actually got me to use computers dispute having sold systems for years. Early on I and Diane Lampkin were the then Moderators (Mem-Reps) We were give a secret 800# should anyone seem suicidal or made a threat to the President, no shit!

We all get older but Bob and I as well as Lew and others grew up in this social medium. Over time I had met and made more friends then I had at schools, in neighborhoods. child-rearing and professionally.
Some of the most memorable wine experiences were the OL's and nights at a wine storage facility in Woodland Hills called the Wine Box owned by still good friend Steve Ein. This hobby' fosters generosity beyond the pale. I think I have met and or dined with some 200 wine folks who were a higher percentage of 'top notch' then the general population.

And lastly as this night is Yahrzeit (anniversary of my wife's Shirley's death) the remembrance of the condolences and donations of $5700 to the Ronald McDonald House in her name that came in from those who knew me mostly only through this wine community.

User avatar
Dan Hammer
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 5672
Joined: June 3rd, 2009, 11:05 am
Location: flight Level 3 seven thousand. NYC Metro

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#10 Post by Dan Hammer » March 8th, 2012, 6:02 pm

I stumbled into the Parker boards back in 2003, as I was starting my online wine education. Before that it was the WSJ and Wine Spectator. My Prodigy days were travel related.
Let's not forget the very opinionated, and oftentimes correct, Daniel Posner.

Dan
This space for rent.

Brian Gilp
Posts: 2743
Joined: May 29th, 2010, 6:00 am

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#11 Post by Brian Gilp » March 8th, 2012, 6:32 pm

Curse you. I just lost an hour reading twenty year old post on alt.food.wine and rec.food.beverage. It's somewhat humbling to realize that we have been discussing Parker's influence and resteraunt wine price over and over for 20 years. Gotta love the Internet.

User avatar
Lewis Dawson
Posts: 3875
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 5:37 pm
Location: Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#12 Post by Lewis Dawson » March 8th, 2012, 6:39 pm

I date from the Prodigy days, as Ron Kramer mentioned above. I've forgotten the details of how that forum morphed into the Mark Squires board, which later became to be hosted by eRP.com. Many memorable battles from the early days. Dude named Robert Callahan (sp?) was one of the first chronic Parker-baiters. He hated Parker, and I'm sure the feeling was mutual, although RP was much more dignified and diplomatic in his posts than was Callahan.

It was pretty easy to trap Callahan in his own illogical statements. He often painted himself into a corner, couldn't get out, and would just sulk off and disappear for a while.

Oddly, the 100% Euro-centric Callahan pushed the somewhat Euro-centric Parker into frequently defending California wine. At one point, Parker challenged Callahan to a blind tasting of French and California wine, with the sole measurement being to identify the country of origin. This lead to an offline, and there were maybe 10 or 12 members present (I was not one of them). As it turned out, the Cal-trashing Callahan could not tell where the wines were from, and many that he identified as his favorites turned out to be US domestic wines.

(In this tasting, Parker played a cruel trick on Callahan, but without doubt the dude deserved it.)
-- Lew --
Italian Bikes &
French Wines

User avatar
Mel Hill
Posts: 6323
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:56 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#13 Post by Mel Hill » March 8th, 2012, 6:52 pm

For a time (call it 1999 to 2003ish), there seemed to be three boards that all had a fair amount of traffic
WCWN
Mark Squires board
WLDG (Robin Garr's board)

and then....

WLDG changed to something on Netscape (I'd love to hear what happened here but if involves any poster here maybe it would be best to let sleeping dogs lie)
Parker got involved with the Squires board
WCWN was drained by the black hole of wine boards, eBob

User avatar
Mike During
Posts: 2792
Joined: May 25th, 2010, 1:24 am

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#14 Post by Mike During » March 8th, 2012, 7:18 pm

I checked and see that I joined Mark Squires in 2000, Paul Savage kindly welcomed me...
"Mike has hit a new low-water mark... I will, however, send Todd a generic indignant PM on my way out, just for good measure." - Barista Bill

User avatar
Howard Cooper
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 18841
Joined: May 30th, 2009, 8:37 am
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#15 Post by Howard Cooper » March 8th, 2012, 8:27 pm

I started with the old AOL wine board as hncjc. I remember #1 being overwhelmed by some of the wines people drank, esp. this one guy named Burghound. Then, I guess I went through the normal progression of boards - Robin Garr, Squires, Parker and here. The best thing of Squires/Parker was the concept of offlines. Through a couple of blind offlines, I was led to my current wine group and to making friends all over the world. And, that's what this is really all about.
O
Howard

"That's what I do. I drink and I know things." Tyrion Lannister

User avatar
Roberto Rogness
Posts: 18974
Joined: February 10th, 2009, 10:16 am
Location: Santa Monica, Rio de Janeiro

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#16 Post by Roberto Rogness » March 8th, 2012, 8:35 pm

Don't forget Wine Therapy which had more inside jokes and puns than a Bonny Doon Newsletter...
ITB Retail
É prohibido prohibir!

User avatar
Ron Kramer
Posts: 7124
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 4:09 pm
Location: Near Boston

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#17 Post by Ron Kramer » March 8th, 2012, 8:51 pm

Lewis Dawson wrote:I date from the Prodigy days, as Ron Kramer mentioned above. I've forgotten the details of how that forum morphed into the Mark Squires board, which later became to be hosted by eRP.com. Many memorable battles from the early days. Dude named Robert Callahan (sp?) was one of the first chronic Parker-baiters. He hated Parker, and I'm sure the feeling was mutual, although RP was much more dignified and diplomatic in his posts than was Callahan.

It was pretty easy to trap Callahan in his own illogical statements. He often painted himself into a corner, couldn't get out, and would just sulk off and disappear for a while.

Oddly, the 100% Euro-centric Callahan pushed the somewhat Euro-centric Parker into frequently defending California wine. At one point, Parker challenged Callahan to a blind tasting of French and California wine, with the sole measurement being to identify the country of origin. This lead to an offline, and there were maybe 10 or 12 members present (I was not one of them). As it turned out, the Cal-trashing Callahan could not tell where the wines were from, and many that he identified as his favorites turned out to be US domestic wines.

(In this tasting, Parker played a cruel trick on Callahan, but without doubt the dude deserved it.)


I was there and was responsible for getting/forcing Callahan to accept because I called his boss, at Garnet, and told him of Parkers challenge and Callahan's demur.
What followed was precious. It was held at a private club completely at Bob's expense, except our travel, although he paid RC's expenses. RC arrived pale saying he was ill (scared). Previously RC had posted that Beax Frere was vile or some sort. Packer indicted he wouldn't inflict him with tasting it again but slipped into a later flight upon which RC picked it as best of. [wow.gif] Jim the fireman got 23/24 wines right our Harmon Skurnik, I think, aced it. RC about halved it.



This was good for at least two months of follow up laughter on the various boards.
Last edited by Ron Kramer on March 10th, 2012, 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Ken Zinns
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3700
Joined: March 11th, 2009, 4:53 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#18 Post by Ken Zinns » March 8th, 2012, 9:18 pm

I missed the early days but started out with alt.food.wine. WCWN was the first non-usenet forum I participated in, and I still participate despite the decreased activity there. Made a lot of friends there. I also participated on Vinocellar for awhile but the discussions there weren't of much interest to me (lots of "what are you buying" / "what do you have on order" threads). I never got into Robin Garr's board because the user interface was so frustratingly screwy back in the old days (I know that it's much better now).

I joined eBob but had issues with Squires from the start, when he accused me of not signing up with a real name - "Zinns" has to be some kind of a fake wine name, right? rolleyes I enjoyed many of the discussions there but was threatened with being kicked off the board more than once over minor and inadvertent transgressions of the rules. Like many here, I can't say that I miss the heavy-handed moderation on that board.

I remember a woman who posted on alt.food.wine - she posted as "Rosaphila" - who was somehow affiliated with a Mendocino winery. She was sort of the John Z of alt.food.wine in those days. Anyone else here remember her?
ITB, Harrington Wines & Eno Wines, and Grape-Nutz.com

User avatar
Bob Foster
Posts: 858
Joined: August 25th, 2010, 5:52 pm
Location: San Diego area.

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#19 Post by Bob Foster » March 8th, 2012, 10:54 pm

I remember her. Odd, very odd.
Run 1 wine comp-judge 12 others

MarkH
Posts: 269
Joined: October 30th, 2010, 6:15 am

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#20 Post by MarkH » March 9th, 2012, 12:29 am

I made my first wine-related post on the CompuServe Wine Forum in 1986. That forum was started in 1984 by a guy named Jim Kronman, and a year later he added a guy named Robin Garr as a SysOp (the original name for admin). I'm almost positive it was the first wine-related forum, and it's where the term "TN" for Tasting Note originated.

I joined Prodigy in 1989 to take a look at what was there, and what I saw was a place where people argued about wine. I preferred discussions to arguments and never bothered to post there. I remember that a large chunk of the Prodigy wine board membership left in a mass exodus in the early '90s, and I was told it had something to do with Mark Squires. Several of those people wound up on CompuServe, including JPB (wasn't it you who coined the term "ITB"?).

Robin Garr's WLDG was the first web-based discussion board, started I believe in 1994, but it didn't become active until AOL bought CompuServe four years later and basically killed the service.

Mel, here's one possible reason for WLDG's ill-fated move to Netscape/AOL. Robin Garr and Jim Kronman had a falling out, and Robin moving WLDG to Netscape resulted in AOL deleting the original CompuServe Wine Forum.

User avatar
billnanson
Posts: 1457
Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:08 am
Location: Bern and Beaune

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#21 Post by billnanson » March 9th, 2012, 1:36 am

UK wine forum for me (wine-pages.com) from about 99 and still going strong.
eRP (whatever it was called back then) from about 01 (but lurking for longer) until the putsch. I took out a months subscription to 'update' as many of my posts as possible and change my signature - but Mao had already archived (stolen!) most our our freely generated content.
Wine Disorder from just before the eRP putsch, but I rarely visit now
WB a bit later - had to overcome my completely rational irritation with the name (in the same class as people who say Moose or Monty instead of Musigny or Montrachet darlings...!)
Burgundy Report - online since 2002...

User avatar
Freek S u i j v e r
Posts: 676
Joined: June 4th, 2009, 11:16 am
Location: The Netherlands

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#22 Post by Freek S u i j v e r » March 9th, 2012, 1:54 am

I came to bordeauxwineenthusiasts.com originally (early 2000s) and from there found Parker/Squires' place (about 2006). Then I came here. I still check bordeaux wine enthusiasts occasionally, but there is not much going on over there.

User avatar
Mike de Lange
Posts: 1406
Joined: April 30th, 2010, 12:44 pm
Location: Groningen, Netherlands

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#23 Post by Mike de Lange » March 9th, 2012, 4:18 am

I signed up with the Squires board in 1999 IIRC as member number 191, after a certain Bob Sisak alerted me to it on another board which I can't for the life of me remember the name of.
Unlike most others, I had no problems with Msr. Squires whatsoever and when he came over to Europe for a vacation in 2003, we had quite a nice dinner in Amsterdam with some of the other Dutch posters. As the years progressed, I did get a little annoyed at times with the blow-hard element gaining a foothold on the board. That turned out to be a harbinger for things to come and at some point I stopped posting on E-Bob for 18 months. Just as I returned, the big freeze-out happened which ultimately led me here.
As a publication, TWA is pretty much useless to me and I refuse to pay for the right to salvage my own TN's! Bastids! [soap.gif]
Last edited by Mike de Lange on March 9th, 2012, 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
ITB, but not in sales

Dale Williams
Posts: 1286
Joined: April 27th, 2009, 10:19 am

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#24 Post by Dale Williams » March 9th, 2012, 5:38 am

Ken Zinns wrote:I remember a woman who posted on alt.food.wine - she posted as "Rosaphila" - who was somehow affiliated with a Mendocino winery.
Yes, she was like a cousin of the owner of a winery called I believe Gabrielli, even though she didn’t drink wine (due to her meds) she constantly posted re the winery (much to the winery’s embarrassment, I felt bad for them, an ill relative generating so much ill will).

I started off as a lurker and eventually a poster on AFW,then discovered WLDG (Garr), and eventually eBob (about the time Squires became eBob). Posted on all 3. Spent some time on BWE as well (it’s a wonder I got any work done). Like many I stopped eBob when it became subscriber only, though I had been reading less for a while as folks exited (or were thrown out).

It is funny to see the same people having the same arguments 15 years later.


Don’t think so, Robin had no affiliation for years at that point. I think basically the old proprietary WLDG software (with threaded discussion!) was not set up to require registering to post. A shall we say deranged poster (who posted here for a while, but I haven’t seen since he got some bad publicity in his hometown) starting posting weird stuff, and when some got deleted he went on manic posting sprees, posting hundreds of messages a night re the FBI investigating, accused people of child porn, etc. Volunteer moderators were taking overnight shifts just deleting posts. So Robin moved the forum to Netscape wine forum out of exhaustion. Which lowered number of people. I guess that forum still exists, but Robin then reformed WLDG on his own site using phpBB. That is the current WLDG (which I enjoy posting on, though it is a much smaller community than the old WLDG).

C 0 R E Y M.
Posts: 1265
Joined: February 3rd, 2010, 8:39 am

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#25 Post by C 0 R E Y M. » March 9th, 2012, 5:56 am

Bob Foster wrote:Parker was the resident wine expert back on the Prodigy board which I think predated other services.. His id was "Expert42b" He posted almost daily (I guess he is the first wine blogger) Squires was but a poster in those days but quickly became a brown nosing fan of Parker.

Parker and I had MANY heated arguments. My favorite was the discussion over Brett. He just didn't get it (still doesn't) I asked him to name a single California wine he had EVER had, that had too much Brett. Instead he named a 1957 Rhone. When pushed he admitted he couldn't name one and gave me permission to "gloat." I told him it was not about gloating it was trying to show him the limits of his palate.

The first off line was held by the Prodigy folks. The terms TN and ITB were born in that era.

Parker would be oh so civil in most of his public postings but I got many VERY nasty personal messages from him. He truly sees the world in black and white--if you aren't a supporter you are an enemy. More on this in the book The Emperor of Wine.

We created a Parker Hall of Shame and Fame and whenever he did something outrageous we chronicled it there. He wasn't happy about that. [stirthepothal.gif]
The Emperor of Wine book has some interesting tidbits about the old prodigy board. It discusses bot the Robin Callahan tasting, and quotes a post of yours (I assume it's the same Bob Foster) wondering about Parker's conflict of interest with regard to a barrel he bought at Hospice du Beuane for which Jadot was doing the elevage. There's also discussion of heated arguments about points, new world vs. old world, etc. There's also a funny moment where the Prodigy admins start referring to some of the wine-board denizens as "get a lifers" because they're spending so much time on the board.

What I found most amusing about all of this is how little has changed. 20+ years later, people are still basically arguing about the same things. The more things change ...
M = M i l l er

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 17770
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#26 Post by John Morris » March 9th, 2012, 6:51 am

Roberto Rogness wrote:Don't forget Wine Therapy which had more inside jokes and puns than a Bonny Doon Newsletter...
For me that killed the board. It became a dialog among about six people, pretty incomprehensible to anyone else. Sad, because there had been a lot of good content there.
"English doesn't just borrow foreign words, it stalks languages down dark alleyways, knocks them over and then rifles their pockets for new words." -- @Another NPC on YouTube

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 17770
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#27 Post by John Morris » March 9th, 2012, 6:55 am

Ken Zinns wrote:I joined eBob but had issues with Squires from the start, when he accused me of not signing up with a real name - "Zinns" has to be some kind of a fake wine name, right? rolleyes I enjoyed many of the discussions there but was threatened with being kicked off the board more than once over minor and inadvertent transgressions of the rules. Like many here, I can't say that I miss the heavy-handed moderation on that board.
That's funny. I had a similar issue when I made my log-on JMSQUIRES, or something like that -- a mnemonic of my initials and the name of the board. He accused me of trying to impersonate me. I eventually convinced him it was just something I could remember. But what a short fuse he had!

With his moderating hat on, he was not only heavyhanded but consistently thick. But I have to say my opinion of him improved markedly when he took on the reviewing responsibilities. He took those seriously, I found our palates often agreed and he made every effort be moderate and thoughtful. I thought some of that carried over to his management of the board, too. So by the end I thought better of him than I did in my early years on the board.
"English doesn't just borrow foreign words, it stalks languages down dark alleyways, knocks them over and then rifles their pockets for new words." -- @Another NPC on YouTube

User avatar
Mark Mason
Posts: 910
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 9:23 am
Location: Wisconsin

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#28 Post by Mark Mason » March 9th, 2012, 7:24 am

I started out on the Wine Commune forum boards. It was a great resource of knowledge and very friendly folks. They closed it down after members found out that WC turned over a list of wine sellers to the Feds in search of tax revenue and the tone turned ugly.
Hard water fisherman

Tom Reddick
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 1432
Joined: June 30th, 2009, 9:56 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#29 Post by Tom Reddick » March 9th, 2012, 7:36 am

alt.food.wine was where I started too. Did my first wine sales there. Was very proud of the $350 I got for a bottle of 1990 La Tache that had only cost me $200.

I generally agree with the timeline of "who's who" in subsequent forums that John S posted, though there were some private email lists along the way that arose to serve a temporary need and then perished as better forums came along.

It has varied a bit with each individual case, but overall the demise- in full or in part- of the importance of most forums has been that point where a lot of the membership begins to crap on expensive wines and the people who can afford them and drink them. This is still a great place, but just take that as food for thought next time you read a post about Asians overspending on wine and mixing it with Coke or how "stupid" it is to pay 4 figures for a grand cru burgundy...

As for stories- not sure I want to go there. On the bad stuff I generally prefer to let sleeping dogs lie, the good stuff you guys would find boring.

That said, no discussion of online wine history is complete without mentioning ROSAPHILIA! [cheers.gif]
ITB - Cellar appraisals

User avatar
John S
Posts: 906
Joined: May 29th, 2009, 11:45 am
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#30 Post by John S » March 9th, 2012, 7:44 am

Hi Tom,

Rosaphilia was a great character. There was also a guy in the WS board who went my Asterix du Gaul who was quite the character as well. I also recall poor John Gilman having to report some apology every day on alt.food.wine due to a Parker I think. Poor guy! A list of characters and events would be another fun one to compile. Drama has never been in short supply in wine forums.
John Sprow

User avatar
Bob Foster
Posts: 858
Joined: August 25th, 2010, 5:52 pm
Location: San Diego area.

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#31 Post by Bob Foster » March 9th, 2012, 7:48 am

"(I assume it's the same Bob Foster)"

It is. We talked for 2 hours and she only used that tiny bit. My objection was that Parker had that business deal with Jadot, took their free guest invite to the auction, and then tasted their wines unblind later that week. I thought it an ethical violation. Parker did not.

Almost everyone on Prodigy had a nickname. Mine was JPB (Just Plain Bob) It was given to me after someone called me Mr Foster and I told them it was just Bob.

Mark, I may have coined ITB; I thought TN started on Prodigy but I could be wrong.
Run 1 wine comp-judge 12 others

User avatar
loren.grossman
BerserkerBusiness
BerserkerBusiness
Posts: 1132
Joined: November 21st, 2009, 8:17 am

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#32 Post by loren.grossman » March 9th, 2012, 8:10 am

Yup. I was in the compuserve wine community and the AOL wine community Mark - not sure if you ever went to the Elliot Apter offlines - those were the days. No idea where Elliot ended up. But the tastings were epic. I think that is when Adam Lee was just getting started with Siduri as well - it was fun meeting Adam in person back in the day when the Lees were just starting out on their own (mid 90s).

The AOL community is where Allen Meadows became BurgHound. he was just a guy back then and of course everyone on AOL used fake names like that! I remember 2 guys that really dominated the AOl forum - a guy who called himself Chambolle and another guy named Eno. And a guy from the NW that just went by Randy, if I recall correctly. Very interesting back and forth on that board. Funny that at the time, Chambolle was the big burg guy on that board and Burghound was something of a dilettante.

Robin Garr was also on the compuserve forum before splitting off, I think. We had many off-lines together at Mina's Tavern and Luzias on the UWS.

Made lots of friends on compuserve that I still see once a year at an offline we have. Includes Dave Sit, Don/Melissa Rice, Robb Gordon and Michelle Miles (who is now on this board too). I wish we could get them on this forum as they have amazing palates and an amazing depth of knowledge.

Spent some time on eBob after a long hiatus and Posner finally directed me here.

Fred Bower
Posts: 904
Joined: October 28th, 2010, 12:00 pm
Location: Durham North Carolina, USA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#33 Post by Fred Bower » March 9th, 2012, 9:05 am

I found Squires' E-Zine and the the Squires board in the mid to late 90's via Arthur Johnson's Wine People (site's still there, but claims no update since 2009). It took me a couple of years to get up the gumption to post and I've never been that prolific in my volume. I stuck with the transition to eRP despite having never subscribed and having no real use for the Wine Advocate given my favored regions and buying habits. Once exiled, I had to go through the same adjustment Bill Nanson cites to start here.

I think it is a sign of the times when the cycle times for our favorite arguments to return to another 5+ page thread are shorter with each generation. I'm not sure what the sign points to, but it is an interesting side-effect of this era.

Cheers,
fred

User avatar
Mark F r a n k s
Posts: 2986
Joined: March 5th, 2009, 6:52 am
Location: A little north of hell

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#34 Post by Mark F r a n k s » March 9th, 2012, 9:11 am

I go back to the Prodigy days, albeit the end of their days. When that forum collapsed, Ron Kramer directed me to Mark Squires board where I think I was one of the first 200 to have signed on, I also followed West Coast Wine Lovers and Robin Garr's board for a while. I remember going to offlines in the late 90's in Northern Jersey with Ed Assidio and his Shiraz loving cult. Man, we had fun back then!
"Valar Morghulis"

User avatar
Dick Krueger
Posts: 3609
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 1:04 pm
Location: Santa Fe

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#35 Post by Dick Krueger » March 9th, 2012, 9:24 am

I joined EBob in the early-90s and stayed until they required a subscription to Wine Advocate. I had always disagreed with Parker; his tastes in wine were way different from mine.
cheers,
dick

"Let us drink heartily, say crazy things to each other and have a good time!"
- Orestes, Act II, La Belle Hélène

User avatar
Thomas DeBiase
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 97
Joined: February 17th, 2009, 4:28 pm

The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#36 Post by Thomas DeBiase » March 9th, 2012, 9:28 am

I think I have the distinction of being the first second generation wine BBer... My father being a member of the old Prodigy boards and then myself registering for the old Squires board back in 2000. Those North Jersey and Philadelphia offlines were so much fun and I met a lot of folks that I still am in contact with today.

If you told that 22 year old kid 11 years ago that he would be out in the Russian River Valley making Pinot Noir for a living I would have never believed you!
Thomas DeBiase
More Soul on this Train than Don Cornelius
I sell Idlewild wines by day, and run around like a drunk vigilante in Batman underoos by night.

User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site Admin
<dfn>Site Admin</dfn>
Posts: 39857
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 8:46 am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#37 Post by Todd F r e n c h » March 9th, 2012, 9:29 am

Thomas DeBiase wrote:I think I have the distinction of being the first second generation wine BBer... My father being a member of the old Prodigy boards and then myself registering for the old Squires board back in 2000. Those North Jersey and Philadelphia offlines were so much fun and I met a lot of folks that I still am in contact with today.

If you told that 22 year old kid 11 years ago that he would be out in the Russian River Valley making Pinot Noir for a living I would have never believed you!
What were the offlines like?

Have you joined us on a BerserkerFest or Offline yet? I'd imagine some of those would be REALLY hard to beat!
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP) (and have a "penchant for gossip" -KBI)

User avatar
John Davis
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 3046
Joined: January 28th, 2009, 1:27 pm
Location: Indiana

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#38 Post by John Davis » March 9th, 2012, 9:42 am

Started on the AOL boards and a fair amount of them are now here. I was on Robin Garr's for a bit, too. Then Squires/Parker then ended up here.
ITB

User avatar
Lewis Dawson
Posts: 3875
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 5:37 pm
Location: Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#39 Post by Lewis Dawson » March 9th, 2012, 10:24 am

Fred Bower wrote:I found Squires' E-Zine and the the Squires board in the mid to late 90's via Arthur Johnson's Wine People (site's still there, but claims no update since 2009)....
Good to see Arthur Johnson's name in this history thread, as no history of wine forums would be complete without it. I was on Prodigy, I believe, when Arthur first became interested in wine. (It could have been later, in the Squires era, can't remember the timing exactly.) Arthur had rather limited wine knowledge, but was a prolific poster who was also a very accomplished wordsmith. He just wrote beautifully, and his posts were so numerous and so well-crafted that his limited knowledge and palate were overlooked by most. It seemed likely to me that he would be a "shooting star wino" and that his new-found wine interest would burn out in due course... but that did not happen. Over the years, his knowledge and experience expanded greatly. I did an offline with him in Baltimore at some point. I've lost touch with Arthur, but I believe he had some health issues...?
-- Lew --
Italian Bikes &
French Wines

User avatar
Bob Foster
Posts: 858
Joined: August 25th, 2010, 5:52 pm
Location: San Diego area.

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#40 Post by Bob Foster » March 9th, 2012, 10:28 am

We had one Prodigy off line (very small) in San Rafael which concluded with a tour of Martine's warehouse, one at the picnic grounds at Callaway in Temecula and a couple in the Napa Valley. Lots of fun-a sense of us against the paid Prodigy monitors (one of whom was a vegetarian and didn't drink wine).
Run 1 wine comp-judge 12 others

User avatar
Lewis Dawson
Posts: 3875
Joined: June 7th, 2009, 5:37 pm
Location: Fort Worth, Texas, USA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#41 Post by Lewis Dawson » March 9th, 2012, 10:40 am

Bob Foster wrote:Almost everyone on Prodigy had a nickname. Mine was JPB (Just Plain Bob) It was given to me after someone called me Mr Foster and I told them it was just Bob.

Mark, I may have coined ITB; I thought TN started on Prodigy but I could be wrong.
LOL, I can't remember my log-in handle on Prodigy. I do remember Parker always being referred to as "42b". In fact, somewhere I have one of his books, personally autographed to me and signed "42b".

I may be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure I coined the term "trophy wine" back about 1994 or so, in response to a photo of Marvin Shanken and his young "trophy wife".
-- Lew --
Italian Bikes &
French Wines

User avatar
John Morris
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 17770
Joined: June 21st, 2009, 2:09 pm
Location: Gotham

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#42 Post by John Morris » March 9th, 2012, 10:41 am

I'm missing the 42b reference. Date of birth? Waist size?
"English doesn't just borrow foreign words, it stalks languages down dark alleyways, knocks them over and then rifles their pockets for new words." -- @Another NPC on YouTube

User avatar
Bob Foster
Posts: 858
Joined: August 25th, 2010, 5:52 pm
Location: San Diego area.

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#43 Post by Bob Foster » March 9th, 2012, 10:45 am

All of the various experts on Prodigy had numbers. We never could figure out the meaning. But Parker, god as we called him (lower case g), was expert 42B
Run 1 wine comp-judge 12 others

User avatar
Bob Davis
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 373
Joined: May 16th, 2011, 7:45 am
Location: Crozet,VA

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#44 Post by Bob Davis » March 9th, 2012, 11:25 am

Started out mainly on the Spectator boards in the late 90's and while mainly posting at WS, found Brad's West Coast Wine and Robin's WLDG. Russel Bevan was like the Pied Piper on the Spectator boards where he posted travelogues several of his wine expeditions to Napa/Sonoma. Those also got covered over at Gang of Pour by Alan Bree. After a while the Specator boards go very hostile so most of us migrated over to West Coast Wine.

That really took off in the lates 90's and early 2000's and was pretty popular. It got pretty heated at times but Brad and the gang were pretty good at keeping a lid on things. Once Squires teamed up with Parker they pretty much sucked all the air out of Brad's board. One of the moderators on WCWN was not too unhappy because it got rid of many of the Type-A folks that caused them headeaches. I still participate over there.

I spent time over on the Parker board and got a lot of chuckles when Parker posted and the huge number of people would reply looking to be the teacher's pet. Once it went pay to play I decided not to play. Squires was waaay too heavy handed and essentially called me a liar one day. I never understood the fetish against outside links or content or even referring to people Squires didn't like.

WLDG seems to have trailed off and still has a hard core of posters. But I go there maybe once a year.

I used to check out Wine Therapy but I think's dead.

So I've ended up at Beserekers and West Coast Wine.

User avatar
Ron Kramer
Posts: 7124
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 4:09 pm
Location: Near Boston

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#45 Post by Ron Kramer » March 9th, 2012, 12:34 pm

Mark F r a n k s wrote:I go back to the Prodigy days, albeit the end of their days. When that forum collapsed, Ron Kramer directed me to Mark Squires board where I think I was one of the first 200 to have signed on, I also followed West Coast Wine Lovers and Robin Garr's board for a while. I remember going to offlines in the late 90's in Northern Jersey with Ed Assidio and his Shiraz loving cult. Man, we had fun back then!



And Steve Levy those were insane OL's; BTW,that nomenclature was coined by moi.

User avatar
Ron Kramer
Posts: 7124
Joined: June 6th, 2009, 4:09 pm
Location: Near Boston

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#46 Post by Ron Kramer » March 9th, 2012, 12:41 pm

Lewis Dawson wrote:
Fred Bower wrote:I found Squires' E-Zine and the the Squires board in the mid to late 90's via Arthur Johnson's Wine People (site's still there, but claims no update since 2009)....
Good to see Arthur Johnson's name in this history thread, as no history of wine forums would be complete without it. I was on Prodigy, I believe, when Arthur first became interested in wine. (It could have been later, in the Squires era, can't remember the timing exactly.) Arthur had rather limited wine knowledge, but was a prolific poster who was also a very accomplished wordsmith. He just wrote beautifully, and his posts were so numerous and so well-crafted that his limited knowledge and palate were overlooked by most. It seemed likely to me that he would be a "shooting star wino" and that his new-found wine interest would burn out in due course... but that did not happen. Over the years, his knowledge and experience expanded greatly. I did an offline with him in Baltimore at some point. I've lost touch with Arthur, but I believe he had some health issues...?

He is OK and I still communicate with him. I have a great story about attending the MacArthur future TN with him and then we went on the Chadsford (sp?)Inn for an OL and I'll have to figure where to insert it.

User avatar
Michel Abood
GCC Member
GCC Member
Posts: 4817
Joined: February 3rd, 2009, 8:30 am
Location: New York/Paris

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#47 Post by Michel Abood » March 9th, 2012, 12:56 pm

alt.food.wine (usenet)
winespectator forum

Lurked on Therapy, UK posters before signing up in around 2000 on Squires. I had my first OL a few weeks after 9/11 at Le Perigord in NY, where I met some folks I'm still friends with (Bill Lawrence, Asher Rubinstein, I think Paul Jaouen) where Squires brought a blind Araujo Syrah to a French Rhone-themed dinner. We all hated the wine, and at the time I was still drinking much more CA wine than I am now.

As the EBoob board degraded, I began hanging out more and more at the UK site and Therapy until Therapy became too clever for its own good. Disorder popped up around the time Eboob fell apart, but they weren't the most welcoming of people who liked different wines than they did (I have no issues with them, I have a somewhat similar palate), so Berserkers was an easy choice.

Happy to be here and have felt at home now for several years with all you nut bags. Not sure what that says of me... [wow.gif]
Guess what? I'm ITB-> Vinotas Selections

User avatar
Mel Hill
Posts: 6323
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:56 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#48 Post by Mel Hill » March 9th, 2012, 1:23 pm

IIRC, Wine Therapy went down to software issues. Wine Disorder was built on the ashes so to speak. While I don't get most of the inside jokes (seems to be fewer of late) I like reading the notes over there.

User avatar
Roberto Rogness
Posts: 18974
Joined: February 10th, 2009, 10:16 am
Location: Santa Monica, Rio de Janeiro

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#49 Post by Roberto Rogness » March 9th, 2012, 1:25 pm

Re Therapy / Disorder: didn't someone manage to crash / destroy Therapy's entire data base losing all the content then Disorder was the same folks coming back from the ashes?
ITB Retail
É prohibido prohibir!

User avatar
Mel Hill
Posts: 6323
Joined: January 27th, 2009, 12:56 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: The History of Wine Forums and Social Networking

#50 Post by Mel Hill » March 9th, 2012, 1:30 pm

Roberto Rogness wrote:Re Therapy / Disorder: didn't someone manage to crash / destroy Therapy's entire data base losing all the content then Disorder was the same folks coming back from the ashes?

Image
let the puppy sleep!

Post Reply

Return to “Wine Talk”