Who Trusts Wine Bloggers?

This blog does not publish reviews of wines. That fact makes this blog fairly unusual in the world of wine blogs as many, if not most, do indeed review wines.

It’s for this reason that I find the following results of the just finished survey conducted of readers of this wine blog most interesting:

Q. Have you ever purchased a wine after seeing it reviewed on a wine blog?

YES: 68%
NO 32%

If you are a wine blogger and review wines on your blog, consider these findings seriously.

If you are a winery that utilizes 3rd Party endorsements as a method of marketing, consider these results seriously.

……………Are you finished considering these findings?

Good. It shouldn’t have taken too long to understand the implications.

Now, given that most wine bloggers are not "professional" wine critics, you should probably consider this question: Why are folks SO WILLING to take the advice of a wine blogger who is quite likely to have no professional experience evaluating wines for the consumer?

The answer clearly has something to do with trust. So consider the answer to this question that also appeared on our recently completed survey of FERMENTATION readers:

Q. Generally, how trustworthy do you believe the information is that you read on wine blogs?

Extremely Trustworthy: 9%
As Trustworthy As Any Other Medium: 85%
It’s Not Very Trustworthy: 6%

There is a lot going on in this response that needs to be considered and I suspect I’ll be considering them in the future. But for the moment its enough to point out, in conjunction with these results, that the number of readers of wine blogs is growing and there is no reason to believe that each new reader of wine blogs will be substantially different from those that are reading wine blogs now.


13 Responses

  1. David - July 17, 2007

    Interesting data. I find it reflects my personal view. I believe most journalists write positively about what sells ads while the wine blogger will most likely say what he thinks.

  2. razmaspaz - July 17, 2007

    This is certainly interesting. Any survey like this has to be taken with a grain of salt. Understand that it is likely that a respondant (myself included) to this survey is a blog reader. Which begs the questions, who reads stuff they don’t trust and who reads wine reviews without the intent of listening to them and acting on them?
    What is important to note is that as a wine blogger, I have a responsibility to my readers (which is probably just me and my mother) to be honest about my opinion. It also shows that it is in a wineries’ best interest to send me (or any other blogger out there) free wine, because IF I like it, I’m going to recommend it on my blog.

  3. Dr. Debs - July 17, 2007

    It’s going to be very interesting to see these results come in from your poll, Tom. I suspect that they are an accurate snapshot of the way that wine blogging is changing wine criticism and review. Before, there were only professional critics, friends, and store owners to listen to for advice. Know there are wine bloggers, too. With that addition, the consumer (self included) has more information. Some of it may be great, some merely good, others bad, but I think more information in general is an excellent thing. Thanks.

  4. Benito - July 17, 2007

    I’ve found myself focusing more on local wine and food bloggers here in the Memphis area. Why? Because if you live in a state that doesn’t allow wine shipping, you’re pretty much limited to what is available in your local wine shops and restaurants.
    I know I’ve tried wines that Fredric Koeppel has recommended and I’ve seen some wines that I’ve written about show up on his blog. As I’ve shifted focus to include food as well, I find myself trying restaurants and recipes recommended by fellow local bloggers.
    I still enjoy reading wine blogs from all over the world, but hearing about a great bargain available at Oddbins in London or some obscure species of oyster in Maine doesn’t help me out much when it comes to my shopping decisions.

  5. tom - July 17, 2007

    I’m going to be posting all the results pretty darn soon, so you’ll be able to see the entire results. The main thing that screws up these results is that they are my blog, which is trafficked more heavily by industry members. I like that. But it’s not the average blog readers.
    You have to figure out who your audience is. If you have mainly folks from TN reading and you want to cater to them, then it’s clearly important to speak of wines they can obtain. I suspect, however the your readership is far wider than TN.

  6. JB - July 18, 2007

    I also find this very interesting. In fact, I think we may quote some of the statistics from this poll in that business plan we’ve been writing!
    One thing to note, though, and you already acknowledge this. You offered this poll online only (please correct me if I’m wrong), and on your blog.
    I’d love to see the results of the same poll but given to, say, the print subscribers of TWA or the Spectator. It would be interesting to find out what percentage of traditional press readers have migrated to reading wine commentary on the internet. How big is the wine blogging community to, say, the wine community at large?
    Thanks for this type of research. It really is fascinating and helpful.
    It seems a fait accompli that people answering a poll online, are probably more open to trusting wine bloggers than others, and it would be great to find out just what percentage of the wine curious community is new media savvy and active vs. what percentage is not…

  7. tom - July 18, 2007

    Your view of these stats of being indicative of a very particular kind of respondent is crucial to understanding them…I think.

  8. Fredric Koeppel - July 18, 2007

    As you say, Tom, there are layers of implications in the answers to this survey. And to the responses to this post. And, as you say to Benito, a great deal depends on who the audience is. Benito and I both live in Memphis, but I would no more think of myself as a “Memphis” website writer and blogger than I would try to storm the walls of Graceland during Death Week. The Internet makes every website and blog a matter of national if not international scope. Certainly http://www.koeppelonwine.com has a big readership in Tennessee, but that is surpassed by the readership in California; New York comes in third. Buenas Aires is in my top 10 cities. What I’m saying is that you have to WORK to limit your readership on the internet. And who or what is the audience anyway? (And btw, 85% of the responders to the poll didn’t say that they are more open to trusting wine bloggers, just that wine blogs are as trustworthy as other media. Like CNN? Fox News?) Anyway, my position, as a full-time newspaper reporter and reviewer for 21 years and a winewriter since 1984, is that the knowledge, education, experience and palate that I bring to readers of my website and blog (www.biggerthanyourhead.net) are, actually, more trustworthy than the opinion of the guy who runs, say, BobsWineBlog and tells us that his first taste of a real Chablis was freakin’ awesome. And I would say the same of the palate and experience and so on Burghound and Vinography and The Pour and others written by wine “professionals.” Finally, I would say to David, who believes “that most journalists write positively about what sells ads,” that he should spend some time in the newsroom at a contemporary newspaper and see how hard journalists fight every day to maintain the wall traditionally erected between editorial (news-writing) and business (selling papers).

  9. RichardA - July 18, 2007

    While checking out a winery website, they actually acknowledge the importance of bloggers to their wine sales. They rate the impact second only to Robert Parker.

  10. Jim Gordon - July 19, 2007

    Just saw that first comment by David, and I need to defend the traditional journalists. If you first learned the craft at a newspaper or news magazine, like I did and like most of the Wine Spectator guys did, then your whole mindset is to NOT suck up to advertisers. It’s inherent in the newsroom culture and a point of pride with reporters. The perception that David and other people have about this is totally wrong, based on my experience at wine magazines and websites.

  11. cisco ccna training - April 29, 2012

    Wine is a good for the body but too is not good.:) Wine lover must read this blog..

  12. Sunshine Coast Bookkeeping Services - August 1, 2012

    I am not sure how to take this into consideration. Anyway, you cannot please everybody.I respect wine bloggers but I am in doubt if how many percent trust wine products. But as for me, I appreciate it and I love to drink wine.

  13. Caloundra Bookkeeper - August 23, 2012

    I am not sure how to take this into consideration. Anyway, you cannot please everybody.I respect wine bloggers but I am in doubt if how many percent trust wine products. But as for me, I appreciate it and I love to drink wine.

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