Survey Results: The Meaning of Wine Blogs
What’s the meaning of Wine Blogs (according to those who read this one)?
The survey we launched last week attracted 172 responses, a decent sized sample. Here’s what I’ve discovered is that meaning:
To FERMENTATION Readers Wine Blogs are a very trustworthy source of wine commentary and information that is apparently craved on nearly a daily basis that also rival wine magazines as the source they’d turn to for reliable wine reviews. Wine blogs are most appreciated for their regular updating, the independence of the voices behind them and the interaction they, leading the readers to turn to a good number of other wine blogs.
It should be no surprise that readers of wine blogs give a fairly ringing endorsement to wine blogs. But with that bit obviousness out of the way, let’s look at some details that don’t jump out of the survey numbers.
Below are some of my observations. CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE RESULTS.
(If you are a wine blogger, there is note at the bottom of this post for you)
THE REVIEW SEEKERS
Among those who cited "Reviews" as the subject that most attracts them to wine blogs, they were far more likely than the average survey taker to name Reviews On Internet Wine Forums as their preference to get reliable reviews of wines. And, they were much more likely to have purchased a wine after seeing it reviewed on a blog. Yet, they were much less likely to name "Interaction via Comments" as one of the elements of the blog format that most attracted them. What I’d love to see is this question asked of readers at blogs that actually do publish reviews.
MY WOMEN….BLOG READERS
Because there appear to be so few women readers of this blog I wanted to try to get some idea about them. They are much more likely to work in the wine industry than the average survey taker. They are also much more likely to other gossip, fashion and food blogs than the average survey taker and less likely to read sports and political blogs. I’m not sure what to make of this. If I want to attract more female readers (and I do!) should I perhaps add regular posts about wine country gossip? I could snap pictures of snappily dress women at wine events. But it turns out women are also more likely to read food blogs. Maybe more food and wine posts?
This I found Interesting, of those who say they read more than five blogs regularly, there was no significant difference in the way they answered the other questions. No correlation to gender, where they work, their age, education, etc. These folks are only slightly more likely to use a "Blog Reader" to view their favored blogs. These folks appear simply to have a greater desire for diversity.
Of those survey takers who named Blogs as the place most likely to find reliable wine reviews, the only significant difference between them and other survey takers was that they tend to be much younger, tend to call blog-based information more reliable and are heavier blog readers.
It turns out that by parsing the data from this survey I don’t find too many significant differences between classes of answers, suggesting that the straightforward results of the survey are a pretty good snapshot of this blog’s readers. The question remains, what is the difference between FERMENTATION readers and the basic class of blog readers?
So here’s what should be done: IF YOU ARE A WINE BLOGGER, EMAIL ME ([email protected]) AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE WILLING TO PUT A PROMINENT LINK ON YOUR BLOG TO A NEW SURVEY SO THAT WE MIGHT COLLECT A LOT MORE DATA ABOUT A BROADER RANGE OF WINE BLOG READERS. I’LL SET UP THE SURVEY.
Thanks for these provocative and interesting survey results, Tom. I am struck by the correlation between women readers and food blogging–I guess we’ve known for some time that women think of wine as a food or as something that goes with food.
Even more interesting to me, though, is the correlation between the number of respondents in a wine related business and where they place blogs (second) in terms of where they’d go to seek reliable wine reviews. I hope that this leads to increased credibility and attention for wine bloggers. I must say that nearly every winery I’ve ever approached about a tour, a visit, or for information has done so without hesitation for this wine blogger who reviews wine. So thanks to all of you in the biz who put us second! Now we’re out for spot #1…
Dr. Debs, we bloggers are in general a more disinterested bunch than the trade press. I’d say that makes us more trustworthy. I believe I rated blogs as #1 in my estimation of reviews.
Tom, I like the way you clearly designate the “paying the bills” aspect of your blog and the highly personal POV you display more generally. You make an unmistakable distinction between your business and your passions regarding the divine drink. Can’t ask for more than that.
As a woman who works full time in the wine industry (as a sales rep for a distributor), let me just say that I don’t think you should change the look or feel of your site to cater more towards women. If you’d like to attract more female readers, then perhaps market yourself elsewhere (on other food and wine blogs)to intitally attract them, but once they are here, if they are intersted in the content that you provide, they will stay.
Although I do read other types of blogs as well, the reason I come here is because I feel that it is important for someone in my position to keep informed about what is going on in the depths of the industry, especially the online sector, not because I’m looking for gossip. I think that anyone who is serious about their job would do the same.
Keep up the good work!
Tom – In your opinion could wineries themselves realistically change the wine rags, if they we’re to turn to blogs more than they turn to rags to sell the wine? WineSPec and others could not survive(i think) without winery participation. There will always be wineries on both sides of the fence but could this shift say in 15 yrs, be big enough to force the big guys to change entirely?
Ryan: I’m not sure the Wine Spectator and other wine publications need changing, in terms of the info they are offering. Their readerships is increasing because more consumers want to learn more about wine. There will be a gradual shift toward online media no matter who changes. The diversity of sources of wine information will mean that the mainstream wine media will see diminished influence over the years even as their circulations grow. Meanwhile wine blogs and particular bloggers will gain influence.
What won’t change, I don’t think, is the consumers’ desires for advice and education.
Great blog, Tom! Always something interesting & worthwhile to read.
I love blogs that reveal the personality & idiosyncracies of the author, not just cut & paste tasting notes.
That being said, I can foresee a time in the near future when corporate entities like Constellation exploit the blogging media for their own stealth marketing purposes. In many ways this reflects the very strength (and weakness) you pointed out in your post a days ago about trust & blogging.
As long as the blog we imagine Constellation creating is identified as a constellation creation, I don’t have any problem with it. In fact, I think a Corporate Constellation blog would be pretty interesting read.