Everyone's an online wine critic

The online wine world is not so different from the real world, according to a recent report from industry insight provider Wine Intelligence.

Reporting from the recent Digital Wine Communications Conference in Logrono, Spain, the analyst claimed that a lot of wine companies have still not fully grasped the potential of the internet.

Despite this, detailed information about different wines is often very easy to reach - and not always from winemakers themselves.

Wine Intelligence says: "The modern wine critic is everyone, everywhere, just a click or retweet away."

And this makes social networks even more of a challenge for some companies, as "brands are not invited on to social networks, but friends are".

Interestingly, it seems those who perform best in the online wine space are those that embrace the full span of social networking and industry insight.

This means reaching out to customers without sounding preachy - and sometimes skirting the technical issues in order to treat online platforms as a forum for discussion, and not just as an advertising medium.

For those that are able to do this, the future is bright - and winemakers, merchants and customers alike are set to benefit from the brave new world of online wine retail.