"I'd rather that wine writers tried to deepen people's love of wine,..."
(Reading Between The Wines, by Terry Theise, p.107)
Wine writers can easily provide sterile reviews of wines, maybe giving out a point score, letter grade or similar ranking. If a reader trusts your judgment, then they might select a wine based on your recommendation. The Wine Advocate is a prime example of that form of sterile reviewing, and they are successful in getting plenty of people to buy wine. There are wine blogs which do the same thing, providing sterile reviews which seem to sell wine. I have been guilty of such at times as well.
Employees at a wine store can do something similar. They can tell customers how many points a wine scored, or they can recite a cold list of wine descriptors. That will certainly lead to some wine sales. But is it the best way to sell wine?
Something is missing in both of these situations: Passion. Your words may help to sell a wine, but you are not imbuing a passion for wine into a consumer. You are treating wine as a mere commodity, and making consumers treat it as one as well. You are not lighting a fire of excitement within consumers, not getting them to fall deeper in love with wine. And that is what is needed, getting more consumers not only to drink specific wines, but to get passionate about it, to embrace its diversity, beauty, and mystery.
Writers and wine store employees certainly have the right to continue as they have been doing, and there will always be an audience for their sterile reviews. But there is another way, which I believe is much more fulfilling. Why do you write about wine? Why do you work in a wine store? Is it only to sell wine? Or do you do it because you have a passion for wine? I suspect most people will answer that they possess that passion, that it is the primary motivation for their actions. But if that is true, then why don't you try to share your passion with others, rather than just try to sell wine?
It is not as easy to judge your readers' reactions to your writings, but you can see the proof if you work in a wine store. When you offer a wine recommendation with passion, rather than points, you see a clear difference in the eyes of the consumer. Their eyes take on the spark of passion that is found within your own. They are no longer buying just a commodity, but they have found an experience, an emotional connection which will last far longer than that bottle of wine. They get excited to buy wine, desirous of tasting different ones.
I recently rhapsodized about a Portuguese wine to a customer, and another customer, who was standing nearby heard me and just had to buy a bottle too. Though I was not speaking directly to her, my passion for the wine still ignited a spark within her. That is so much more satisfying than having a customer buy a bottle just because I tell them a wine scored 95 points from Robert Parker. Spreading that passion should drive us in our writing as well as if we work at a wine store.
Think back to your own wine mentors and friends. I bet those who most inspired you were those who shared their passion for wine with you. If all they did was provide you wine scores, I very much doubt they would have become significant inspirations for you. So infuse life into your writing and your words, and let your passion spark a wildfire in others.