2008 American Wine Blog Award Winners

Anyone who has been paying attention to the development of the world of wine blogs will likely recognize the winners of the 2008 American Wine Blog Awards. They represent a variety of things in this world: The Standard, The Expert, The Innovators, The Dedicated.

The winners are, each of them, proof of what I’ve been saying for a few years now: wine journalism and wine writing will be be altered and broadened as the best wine bloggers demonstrate quality and professionalism.

The American Wine Blog Awards are not perfect. There are ways the Awards can be improved. But it can’t be said that they don’t identify truly hardworking, high quality wine blogs and wine bloggers.

This year, the winners were determined by a vote of over 2000 members of the public who were given 70% of the voting power and a panel of 6 judges who were given 30% of the voting power.

Finally, my thanks to all those who participated from the nomination process, to the judges, to those who voted for the finalists I think them very much.

The 2008 American Wine Blog Award Winners:

Last year Alder Yarrow’s Vinography took the prize for Best Wine Review Blog. I consider this award offering even broader recognition to what has become the standard bearer of the wine blogging effort. Alder has not built a substantial readership based on marketing and promotion. He’s earned it through his thoughtful, insightful writing and analysis.

Good Wine Under $20
Deb Harkness, aka Dr. Debs, the LA college professor and wine blogger has probably been the most newly noticed wine blog of the last 12 months or so. This is all due, as far as I can tell, to her enormous passion for both wine and her readers’ passions for wine. Her subject matter has of late broadened beyond recollections of her search for good wines under $20. This is very good news because she is quick witted and has an excellent eye for the curious and newsworthy. Yet her focus on value remains true and will likely be what delivers even more readers to her outstanding blog.

Chateau Petrogasm
Benjamin Saltzman and Andrew Stuart have done something remarkable. They created something new and very, very good in the world of wine reviewing. When I first came across Chateau Petrogasm I was knocked by in my chair by their graphic approach to reviewing wines. How simple. A single picture to convey their impressions of a wine. The approach is both highly cerebral as well as arresting due to its implications for how sophisticated  and  precise the simplest form of communication can be. There is no doubt a coffee table book in the Chateau Petrogasm’s future.

Grape Radio
The crew that produces Grape Radio deliver one of the finest wine radio shows in America. And they have for quite some time. In my mind, what sets them apart from other wine related radio broadcast, be they originating on the Internet or via broadcast, is their willingness to treat their listeners with the respect they deserve, not talking down to them and not assuming they all need remedial education. The American Wine Blog Awards is hardly their first piece of recognition. The Grape Radio crew is now twice honored as a James Beard Award Nominee.

Tablas Creek
Tablas Creek has one of the longest running winery blogs. Any really good winery blog must impart the experience of working at a winery and running a winery. The Tablas Creek blog not only does this but is able to do so by also imparting the excitement they possess for being in the business, the seriousness with which they take their efforts and with the occasional self deprecating approach. It is a joy to read that takes one inside the head of someone who thinks clearly and communicates clearly about the business and fun of growing grapes and making wine.


Good Wine Under $20
This was for me by far the most interesting group of nominees in this year’s awards. All four nominees do give their readers an educated and passionate glimpse into their view of the world of wines. Deb Harkness of Good Wine Under $20 did not necessarily win this category running away, but she did win it convincingly, with both the public and the judges. Why? I think it’s because voters and judges see in her reviews exactly what we all want when we encounter a wine we’ve not tasted: an excitement stemming from true discovery. Dr. Debs is clearly becoming an important person in the world of wine blogging and wine reviewing.


The Wine Collector
The raise to win Best Business Wine Blog was easily the closets of them all. In the end, Steve Bachmann’s The Wine Collector took the prize, actually garnering the most votes from both the public and the judges. The Wine Collector was the winner of last year’s prize for Best Single Subject Wine Blog. This year it was honored for what it does best: deliver exceedingly high level analysis of the wine market and wine selling from the perspective of someone who knows markets and knows about selling wine. Steve’s blog posts, however, are not so far in the air above people’s heads that they won’t appeal to a broad market. What accounts for this is the straightforward nature of his writing. The Wine Collector is a deserving winner.

It was not even close. Alder Yarrow’s comprehensive take on the world of wine and wine drinking has impressed a host of people for many years now. I don’t know a blogger more serious about what he does than Alder. This comes through not only in his comprehensive tastings and unique perspective on the wine news of the day, but also in the seriousness with which he delivers his opinions on a variety of matters relating to wine. There is an importance to recognition and attention that Alder Yarrow’s Vinography has gotten across the wine world. With a blog of this caliber being read and watch by so many, it delivers the message that wine blogging is to be taken seriously and has the potential to spawn important voices.

Posted In: Wine Blog Awards


18 Responses

  1. robert - March 31, 2008

    Thanks Tom. Congratulations to all the winners.
    I must say that although some of the results were expected, some others were not. I wonder whether the results will cause even more feedback than the list of finalists did!
    Much as I rate most of these blogs, their inclusion (and win) in certain categories makes me wonder, again, about how these results are more a reflection of the readership bias rather than quality.
    I wonder whether a greater weight to the ‘experts’ might have changed some of the results? Maybe this will come out in your write up.
    Also, and this is ABSOLUTELY no reflection on her site, but how can the overview of the winner of the Best Single Subject award include a description on how it has “broadened” and has not been a single subject blog recently? Doesn’t that look rather odd? As I say, this is about process, not the blog which I happen to like a lot and voted for in other categories.
    Anyway, let me know about my invitation to the focus group to discuss next year’s awards format! 馃檪

  2. 1WineDude - March 31, 2008


  3. Fredric Koeppel - March 31, 2008

    It was a great roster of finalists in every category. Congratulations to all the winners. However we view the mechanics of the process, the AWBA benefits all bloggers.

  4. Agent Red - March 31, 2008

    A hearty CONGRATULATIONS to all of the winners! You all deserve the honor.

  5. Tablas Creek Vineyard Blog - March 31, 2008

    I’d like to thank the Academy…

    So, the votes have been tallied, and the Tablas Creek blog has won Best Winery Blog at the 2008 American Wine Blog Awards! Thank you to everyone who voted; the award was 70% determined by votes from the public. The

  6. Frances - March 31, 2008

    Thanks Tom for keeping us posted on all of these top-quality blogs, some are new to me and I’m looking forward to checking them out.

  7. Mark Koppen - March 31, 2008

    Well-deserved congratulations to all the winners – there’s no question that it’s very hard work to consistently write an interesting blog, and all the winners and nominees deserve credit.

  8. Alder - March 31, 2008

    I’d like to thank you and all the judges who put in so much time and energy to make these awards happen. It’s not a small effort, and it has a tremendous impact on the blogosphere.
    Many many thanks.

  9. Jay Selman - April 1, 2008

    I am very proud of podcast, but I must say this award is a total shocker. I look around me and see other podcasts that are really top notch. Some of these podcasts are better than “mainstream” media. I am very honored by this award. I think I am going to pop something really good.

  10. Mitch Tarr - April 2, 2008

    Congratulations to the winners. Blogs take a lot of work. It is rewarding to see Tom make a note that content and excellent writing trumps marketing to develop a solid following.

  11. Robson Chaves - April 4, 2008

    How about a category in you blog for best blogs in languages other than English?

  12. Wine investments - April 10, 2008

    CONGRATULATIONS to all of the winners!
    You may think drinking wine is just for pleasure, but you can make considerable sums of money when investing in wine. However you have to buy the right wines at the right time.

  13. Lyn - April 22, 2008

    You have a very nice blog. I enjoy the information and access to other blogs. I’m a new blogger… have you seen the naked woman on the newest Imagine Wine label? Check out http://www.imaginewine.com. It is beautiful. I tasted the wines recently at the Santa Ynez Vintners Festival too and the wine is good and a great value, but has to be bought off the internet.

  14. VINSURVIN (茅chantillons.com) - April 23, 2008

    Hi there,
    Congratulation on the quality of your blog. Ever heard of the current best (visited) French wine blog ?
    Take a look at it !

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  16. Remind Myself - September 19, 2008

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    The top management of the listed company salary should be tied a portion of it to the shares…. so when the shares price drop, it don’t just penalise the investors, but those who don’t take care of the company…..
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  18. Adelaide venues - February 7, 2012

    Great post! Congratulations to all the winners. All of you deserving to have that awards.

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