Soothing, Arting, Blogging, Producing

1. Very Promising New Wine Blog

Arthur Przebinda had been known for his Red Wine Buzz web site, but it’s his new blog, "Wine Sooth", that I’m taken with. Arthur’s first posts are smart, opinionated and well-informed, a deadly combination. It strikes me as the kind of wine blog that could gain a wide audience if the pace of posts is kept up. As an aside, Arthur was published in the LA Times today with his response to Joel Stein’s disastrous column of a few days ago.


2. Art, Wine and the Guerrilla

I came across what appears to be a new winery that has done a beautiful job of incorporating what I think is stunning artwork into its label design. Wine Guerrilla appears devoted to Zinfandel and the vineyards that make it great. But its Sean Colgin’s art on the labels that is really worth a look. It’s noteworthy the the winery has procured grapes from both Coffaro and Forchini in Sonoma County.

Winebloggerslogo1 3. Wine Blogger Conference & Ethics
It seems likely that the issue of Ethics and Wine Blogging will get a good airing out at the upcoming Wine Bloggers Conference set for October in Sonoma County. Already folks at Open Wine Consortium, one of the producers of the Conference, have a very interesting discussion of the topic underway. The question I have is this: Ought the ethics of wine bloggers be any different than the general set of ethics that are applied to columnists at any other journalistic endeavor? I can’t see why they would be. But I’ve been wrong and uneducated before.



4. Productivity & Reward

By 10am today, I shot a scorching 64 on a little par 62 executive course here in Sonoma—a personal best, I got out 4 very good, well crafted and unique story pitches to four publications for a client, I put the finishing touches on some marketing materials for a new wine, I designed and sent off to the printing new business cards and I sketched out the attack positions I’ll take when I debate sit on a panel with Craig Wolf of the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers Association at the upcoming National Conference of State Liquor Administrators. I LOVE being productive. And that’s the thing about this blog…writing it always feels like the reward I give myself for being productive.

13 Responses

  1. Arthur Przebinda - June 18, 2008

    Tom, I am utterly flattered by your mention of wine sooth. I hope to live up to the expectations.
    Re: Wine Blogger Conference & Ethics – I think that we (bloggers) should do BETTER than mainstream journalists. They are not all Tim Russerts or Charlie Roses. Many of them engage in borderline tabloid journalism.

  2. Agent Red - June 18, 2008

    Sean Colgan’s art on the Guerrilla wine bottles is lovely, but what’s inside the bottle is a work of art as well. D.C. and W.G.’s Forchini Zinfandel is delish!

  3. Steve Heimoff - June 19, 2008

    Hey Tom, on blogging ethics: I can’t see any reason why they ought to be different from columnist ethics in general or journalistic ethics in particular. Given the impossibility of policing wine blogs, there would be no way of enforcing some kind of rigid ethical code anyway. Besides, in a peer-to-peer world (which is what the blogosphere is), if a wine blogger writes something really outrageous, we can count on you and our fellow investigative reporters to pounce on and denounce it, the way a lot of us did with Stein.

  4. Tom Wark - June 19, 2008

    I agree. I’ve been thinking about it and I can’t see how bloggers would need a substantially different set of ethics than any other journalist/columnist. It is substantially the same work. However, the one difference is that the writer of a blog is also the proprietor of the blog. Not usually the case for a columnist at a magazine or newspaper. I think the “owner” of something has a different set of ethical considerations than the journalist.

  5. Arthur - June 19, 2008

    Tom, my curiosity is piqued. What types fo ethics is an owner/proprietor faced with and how are they different. Not looking for a fight, but rather trying to get this better articulated.

  6. Tom Wark - June 19, 2008

    It’s just a matter of business ethics in addition to journalistic ethics. Two different things, I think.

  7. Tish - June 19, 2008

    Re blogging ethics, the real bugaboo may lie in the ethics of omission. For example, consider a winery blog written by an employee. In that case, is the blogger free to pursue whatever he/she wants, or is that person going to be compelled (by management/ownership) from going in certain directions, raising certain topics or even mentioning certain other wineries/brands?

  8. Arthur - June 19, 2008

    Tish, What if the employee makes every efort to divorce their blog rom the winery?
    See as an example

  9. Tish - June 20, 2008

    Arthur, I checked out vintnersvoice and it is indeed a very clear example of blogging independence. Clear in the mission statement, and clear in the posts. Craig Camp’s blog and Anne Amie’s blog are two similar examples from Oregon. All three are darn good!
    It is certainly possible for any blog to be ethically sound, but it is never a given, especially with nested blogs. Are bloggers within a retail site allowed to criticize wines freely? Are they even allowed to mention competitors? Let’s say a winery has a blog; is the winemaker allowed to say he/she boosted the acidity in the Sauvignon Blanc? Take Wine Spec’s “blogs”: are those writers, as bloggers, ever going to question a fellow Spec critic’s rating of a wine? I can understand this not happening in the printed mag, but if these were actually independently voiced blogs, debate could/should/would be more common.
    I guess it will alwys come back to the old sniff test…. is there something fishy? Fishiness can cut so many ways. Sometimes you just know it when you see/read it. Obvious example here: any Fermentation readers knows exactly where Tom Wark stands in terms of his clients and connections to the industry. His openness makes the blog that much stronger.
    It is going to take quite an effort to come up with any standardization of blogging ethics, because blogs by nature have a short history and essentially zero rules. Perhaps the bloggers conference will come up with some sort of code and be able to display that commitment with some sort of icon. The entire wine community would benefit.

  10. Steve Heimoff - June 20, 2008

    As a newbie blogger, I have been wondering about changing posts after they’ve been published. Is this ever acceptable? How about if I notice a misspelling or typo and then correct it? What’s wrong with that? How about if I wrote something incorrect that was irrelevant to the content (such as someone’s place of birth), then correct it later? What is permissible and what isn’t?

  11. Arthur Przebinda - June 20, 2008

    I think spellings are a no-brainer.
    If switching a word here or there to maker the sentence more grammatically correct or clearer is necessary it may be acceptable, but I acknowledge it is a grey zone.
    However, completely re-wording something to say something different should not be done. That is effectively a change in position.
    Instead, if you need to clarify or re-word as a result of a comment, you should do it in the comments section. Treat it like a separate erratum.

  12. Steve Heimoff - June 20, 2008

    Arthur, good points! I agree about rewording things in a major way — I would not do that. I was wondering about the little changes and whether there’s some Bloggers Code of Conduct that spells it out.

  13. Kathy - July 1, 2008

    There is one BIG difference between most blogs and print: the editor(s). The editing being discussed here would be taken care of before the content is published. Or, you’ll see it in the corrections box.
    I have had countless questions for reporters when editing a story for content. And an equal number of questions when copy editing for grammar, spelling, geography, caption consistency with story and so on. As a writer, my work is not done until an editor has questioned me on at least one fact, conclusion, or opinion.
    This is not a code of conduct but there is no reason for:
    1. Misspelling a name. Don’t just assume that the first thing Google brings up is correct. This seems to happen frequently on wine and beer blogs, compounding the errors.
    2. Getting facts wrong. Look it up! Call the expert! Support your position, theory, or rant.
    3. Posting without a second read (yours after letting the post sit for just five minutes, or an eagle-eyed friend/family).
    4. Skipping accents on foreign words or using incorrect capitalization. Sémillon has an accent on the e (and hopefully this accent won’t end up as something else when posted here). Champagne is an appellation, a place. These have three different meanings: Stags/Stag’s/Stags’ Leap.
    5. Spelling a name wrong (it is worth saying again). If the local paper misspells your kid’s name in the Little League table, you will never forget or forgive. Please keep this in mind.

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