My Sense of Wine Blogging: An Update

I sense a change or perhaps "evolution" in the world of wine blogging.

It’s not so much a change in the way wine bloggers are blogging, but rather a change in the way observers of wine blogs are observing.

In part this sense I have comes from the fact that I am now receiving upwards of around 5 press releases or story pitches sent to me on a daily basis. I have to admit it remains a bit weird for me, a PR Guy, to get the story pitches and press releases rather than being the source of them. Nevertheless, these press releases and story pitches are coming from wineries, event producers, restaurants and those who produce products that relate to wine. I still receive at least one offer of samples per week. I’ve tried to be clear that I don’t do wine reviews. Still, I get the offers.

I suspect that other bloggers are also receiving more and more press releases and story pitches.

This all adds up to the realization that more and more people who are concerned with what the media has to say are treating wine bloggers more and more like legitimate media. And of course we are.

One of the interesting things about the wine blogging community is that there is a severe camaraderie among the bloggers. I always thought this was case because wine bloggers were, together, setting off on a path that had not been trodden as the world of wine blogging was relatively new. There is safety in numbers. But this has evolved, it seems to me, into something different…something that has always existed: a camaraderie among writers/media.

There has always been clubby connection between writers, reporters and media types. They all do the same thing: they watch and observe as a profession. That’s a pretty weird profession when you think about  it. What’s weirder is that the "writer" has always been something of a celebrity in our culture and most cultures because they acquire an audience for the results of their observations. This also makes them attractive to marketers.

It was Gore Vidal I believe who once said, "A little part of me dies every time a friend succeeds." There’s an ugly truth in this personal observation of Vidal’s that most people can understand. But Vidal’s comment on his insecurities doesn’t remark on the other effect of a friend’s or colleague’s success: it creates motivation, as well as a little pain.

Any wine blogger that takes their blogging seriously doesn’t mean it when they say, "I just like to blog for my own satisfaction." And I hear this from time to time.

As this evolution I sense takes off and becomes something more, as it becomes a state of affairs where bloggers’ words and commentaries have a measurable effect on buying habits and opinion making, I suspect we will see a real separation of the wheat from the chaff. Those who take their work and their growing audiences and their significance seriously will be viewed as even more serious and significant by folks like me—PR and marketing folks. They’ll also be taken very serious by their readers and even by casual observers of the world of wine.

The 2008 wine blogging season is going to be very, very interesting. The evolution I sense now will, I think, coalesce into a state of affairs where wine blogs become the center of attention to a great number of people in the wine industry. That’s going to be exciting for a lot of wine bloggers who choose to make a grab at the prize.


12 Responses

  1. Ryan - September 6, 2007

    Hope your right! I just got back from a lunch today with a wine club here in Spain, who is looking at the world of Wine2.0 and blogs to help take them to the next level. I too feel that 2008 is going to be interesting, in many different ways…

  2. Jeff - September 6, 2007

    Profound post, Tom.
    I have been guilty of saying, “I do it for my own satisfaction.” But, the truth of it is, when I started that was the case, but now the satisfaction comes from comments, responses from readers, and traffic growth.
    And the Gore Vidal quote, for me at least, is accurate as well. I would lying if I didn’t acknowledge that the increase in quality from other bloggers has me at once proud and nervous–hoping that I get some acknowledgement in the next round of Wine Blogging Awards, while wishing for the best for newer bloggers that are bringing real diligent quality.
    Ah, these are interesting times, indeed.

  3. Erika Strum - September 6, 2007

    Very interesting post. A lot of the camraderie has also been facilitated through use of Facebook groups and Twitter updates. It makes it much easier for the wine blogging community to feel more globally connected.

  4. Terry Hughes - September 6, 2007

    Here I am, Ye Olde Contrarian, adding to this chorus of agreement. “The wheat from the chaff” — I think we’re seeing it already.
    Love that graphic too. It could be the dedicated blogger’s universal logo.

  5. Paul Mabray - September 6, 2007

    Great article Tom – the facebook comradarie is proving your point. It is excellent to see this group come together to help become a major force in the wine industry media.
    Inertia – Powering the Wine Revolution
    —Paul Mabray

  6. Joel - September 7, 2007

    Nice article Tom. No question there is a camaraderie among wine bloggers and FB and other social gathering places make the world smaller and, for this community, more friendly.
    I would add that those that say and/or think that “I do it for my own satisfaction” are joined by those that think they will monetize a blog and make real money. I don’t think you can do that just yet. Should there be a hockey-stick of interest/popularity for wine blogerati who knows. This whole thing has moved quite a bit in the last few years.
    I always believed that these online “social” technologies were a natural fit for wine and the wine community. I think we are seeing the effects of wine’s inherent social nature just jelling with the latest in social technologies.
    What ever the evolution, the more people to share a great glass of wine with the better!

  7. marisa d'vari - September 7, 2007

    Glad you posted this, Tom. Love what you are doing with your site and especially your blog awards!

  8. winebroad - September 7, 2007

    What I’ve found interesting about this whole blogging thing is that most of the comments you see on blogs are written by other bloggers (either because they like the “community” aspect, or because that’s what you have to do to drive traffic back to your own blog). For me, it’s a little bit of both. The thing that really gets me excited is when non-bloggers post on my site. It’s sort of like when a gay guy pays me a compliment: I know he’s not saying I look cute because he wants to get lucky! That said, I do enjoy the blogger comments too; I’d just like to see more of a balance.

  9. Dr. Debs - September 7, 2007

    I agree that I started this for my own satisfaction, and it has come more–including more of a responsibility. I hope I’m doing an ok job shouldering that responsibility along with all the other ones associated with my full-time job–not to mention my personal life. I do see evidence from my readers that they take blogs very seriously indeed. But I believe the industry still doesn’t know what to make of us. Also, I would hope that when the wheat separates from the chaff (if indeed that happens) there is still a place for the chaff. I started out as chaff, and I suspect that’s true of 90% of bloggers. As some of us become more prominent, I hope that we don’t lose sight of where we came from. That’s the one thing that alarms me about the trends Tom describes.

  10. Carol - September 8, 2007

    I agree with what winebroad wrote. I absolutely love the interaction and community aspect that’s developing, but to know that people who are “outside the circle” so to speak are reading my blog and interested enough to comment is great. It’s going to be interesting to see how both the community AND wine blog evolve over the next year as there seems to be more and more interest.

  11. MonkuWino - September 8, 2007

    There’s a lot of truth to your interesting post. I’m one of those saying my blog is for my own satisfaction, but in truth I find that my “shadow” is at the same time thinking how nice it would be to have a large readership. One thing that is good: I’ve met some great folks over the net during the short time I’ve been blogging!

  12. David McDuff - September 16, 2007

    Interesting thoughts, Tom, and quite lucid. It’s good to see a “big blogger” like yourself staying in touch with what it was like to start out. As someone who’s been passionate about wine for years and has been involved with writing, however intermittently, for even longer, your post hit home. I absolutely do get satisfaction out of the time and work I put into wine blogging. But I also will admit to craving recognition, to feeling satisfaction when comments come through or when I find out that someone’s tried a wine, visited a winery or checked out a restaurant based on something I’ve written. And I’m always hungry for a larger audience.
    I think we’ve a way to go before wine blogs begin to compete with the major magazines and food networks for the attention and respect of the “casual observers of the world of wine.” But it will indeed be interesting to see what the coming seasons will bring.

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