I agree with so much in your article! Yet I feel there is something missing.
Wine drinkers should not feel afraid, or distrustful of their perceptions or desires, nor should they cling to “expert opinion” with which they can lord it over other non-experts.
But wine drinkers deserve so much more than mere affirmation! “I’m okay, you’re okay” is better than “you’re wrong and you suck” but it’s unsatisfying.
People sense the potential for discernment. They hope for growth in their perception and their ability to connect with a complex world.
Whether it’s art or wine, fulfilling that hope doesn’t come from experts and doesn’t come from being afraid. But it also doesn’t come from mere affirmation.
This is true even from a pure consumerist perspective. Coca-Cola and Budweiser do not sell well because people feel “whatever soda or beer you like is okay.” They sell well in part because of affinity, because of what Coke and Bud stand for, because of what it means socially to like Coke or Bud.
One of the things it means socially to like a microbrew or to like wine, is that you care about taste and you pay attention to your perceptions.
It’s the challenge of the wine industry to support that desire, to make wine open, creative, and exploratory instead of closed, rule-bound, and authority-based.
But don’t tell wine drinkers that value is only superficial and immediate. They won’t buy it.