The New Wine Writers
Some people don’t like awards. I don’t mind them. I’m a fan of discernment and lists. Call it an affinity for critical categorization. And so I again thought it wonderful to see the presentation of the 2012 Wine Blog Awards not too long ago in Portland, Oregon during the Wine Bloggers Conference.
This was the sixth year awards were given to wine bloggers to reward excellence. I began the awards back in 2007 right here on this blog. The idea was to champion the best of the new breed of writers who chose the blog format to express their insights on wine. The idea was to inspire more bloggers to state their mind well. The idea was to introduce more readers to more writers. So far, so good I think.
Yet as I sat at a banquet table in the ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel in Portland and watched Alan Kropf of Mutineer Magazine host the ceremony of presenting the 2012 Wine Blog Awards, I could not stop wondering if the winner of the award for Best Overall Wine Blog, Jamie Goode, is right: “Wine Blogging is dead”.
“Blogging had this golden age where people were happy to be defined as bloggers, and there was a sense that the blog was supplanting other forms of online communication. Blogging was cool, it was sexy, and it seemed to be the future. But the golden age of blogging has passed. We’re left with the sense that blogs have never really fulfilled their promise. Within a short time, I don’t think we’ll be describing people as bloggers any more, the way we have been doing for the last few years. Blogs will still be with us, and some will be very important, but they’ll not be centre stage.”
Jamie Goode is only one person with one opinion, but it’s an opinion to take seriously as he is a serious writer. He’s right. Not too many years ago blogging, including wine blogging, did seem a little sexy and it most certainly was something new, if not the “future”. I further think he’s correct that the shine is dulling a tad.
A dulling shine is not such a bad thing.
My evaluation of the world of wine blogging centers around its utility, not it’s shine. For this writer and wine marketer, more and more I see the gulf between “wine writer” and “wine blogger” narrowing. In other words, the task of communicating the meaning of wine and explaining the significance of the wine industry is now being accomplished by a growing cohort of writers. Some are professional and get paid to act as a professional. Others are amateurs. Some are better writers than others. Some are more informed than others. Some have large audiences. Others small followings. But just like in the arenas of technology, politics, news, fiction, archeology and any other domain of things and information, the consumers (readers) are lumping together blogs, websites, newspapers and books into one thing: sources of information.
The degree to which a blog, newspaper, magazine, professional writer or amateur writer can successfully convey useful, educational or entertaining information determines their utility to the reader. This brings us back to the Wine Blog Awards.
What we have in wine blogs is a large contingent of mostly amateur writers, with a dash of industrious monetizers, using primarily a blogging platform to deliver information to a reading public. The Wine Blog Awards recognize some of the better examples of this category.
- Best Blog Post of the Year – “Why do I Write about Wine” by Evan Dawson, New York Cork Report
- Best New Wine Blog – Wine Julia by Julia Crowley
- Best Original Video or Photography on a Wine Blog – WineOh.tv by Monique Soltani
- Best Industry Wine Blog – The Gray Report by W. Blake Gray
- Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog – Kens Wine Guide.com by Ken Hoggins
- Best Writing on a Wine Blog – Vinography by Alder Yarrow
- Best Single Subject on a Wine Blog – On the Wine Trail in Italy by Alfonso Cevola
- Best Winery Wine Blog – The Journey of Jordan by Lisa Mattson and the Jordan Team
- Best Overall Wine Blog – Jamie Goode’s Wine Blog by Jamie Goode
Wine blogging and the blog itself is not dead. It’s just that the more mediocre examples of this kind of information vehicle don’t get a pass for being shinny and new.