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:
BEST WINE BLOG WRITING
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.
BEST SINGLE SUBJECT BLOG
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.
BEST WINE BLOG GRAPHICS
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.
BEST PODCAST OR VIDEOBLOG
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.
BEST WINERY BLOG
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.
BEST WINE REVIEW BLOG
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.
BEST BUSINESS BLOG
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.
BEST WINE BLOG
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.