Welcome to Mark O’Neill’s Wine Blog

When it comes to wine there are three types of wine drinker: The Bores, the Posers and the Geeks. A Wine Bore will tend to pontificate about wine, knows the names of the last ten wines he has drunk (I say ‘he’ because most bores are male) and thinks that everyone should listen to his opinion. They mostly have good intentions thinking that what they have to say is fascinating to those around him, with no means of escape! However, more often than not they fail to recognise that for many people having to think about the wine in their glass is the surest way to stop enjoying it.

Wine Posers are those who are influenced solely the price and fame of the wine. Then tend to use sweeping generalisations when giving their opinions, for example ‘All wine from California are ….whatever’, they have pre conceived ideas of the quality of a wine, even though they could not taste the difference between a good and poor quality wine. A Wine Poser will say, ‘this red wine is too young, do you not have something older?” this request is based on a half baked erroneous fact. As readers of this column will be aware that most wines do not improve with time. Once they are bottled they are ready to drink. There are only a handful of wines, top Bordeaux, Burgundy, some Riojas, German Rieslings plus some others, that need time to develop and mature in bottle.

Wine Posers buy wine with high Parker points as if this is the holy grail of quality. They would not touch a wine with a screw cap as in their world of preconceived ideas about wine they could not possible be good. Anything that sounds French is better. When I notice a wine poser I make a move away so that I do not have to engage in conversation.

Getting a group of Wine Bores together makes for a tedious evening. I was recently at a dinner with a group of relatively well informed wine enthusiasts, each one trying to outdo the other with names of the wines, their opiniones on different vintages ‘2015 is overrated’, ‘my 2010’s are drinking well now’. Conversations of this nature kill the flavour of the wine.

As if this was not enough there are also the Wine Geeks. I don’t use these words in a negative way, they are people who just tend to have a good knowledge of wine and enjoy learning about wine. Geeks are wine lovers who look for obscure grapes from lesser known regions and enjoy discussing the different elements of the wine and the wine making techniques. I am self confessed Wine Geek, currently the book on my bedside table is ‘The Great Wine Blight’, the story of Phylloxera in the 19th century. For a Geek this is fascinating.

However, for most people wine is like pizza, we all have tried it, enjoy drinking it, everyone has a preferred style and it is not necessary to describe what it taste like, suffice to say that it is nice and you would like another glass. 

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I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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