Bloggerview #22: Samantha Dugan
This girl has style and it shows through in her blog, Samantha Sans Dosage. The reason I know this is that many of her posts are longer than my typical post, which is too long for this format. Yet I find myself reading every single word of what Samantha writes, whether its about wine, food or the LA Lakers. In addition to posting regularly and carrying out a conversation with your readers, it's important for a blogger to commit to communicating with an authentic voice. That too is what shines through in Samantha's blogging. And it's an engaging voice. Her wine chops are pretty impressive too. All this adds up to a great read.
1. When did you begin blogging and why?
I started blogging just over a year ago, so March of 2008. I had been resisting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I have serious bouts of writer’s block. I also write for The Wine Country’s, (the store where I work) newsletter, people seemed to really like my style or approach to wine writing, they wanted more so I started a blog.
2 In two sentences describe the focus of your wine blog.
Tom, are sure you have read my blog?! Focus? Unless we are talking about my one-eyed-stumble “trying to focus” I’m not sure I have one. Hey, maybe that is my focus, it’s more about how wine enhances life and less about structured reviews.
3. What sets your wine blog apart from the pack?
Man, not sure really, maybe I expose myself a bit more? I may appeal more to the voyeuristic side of people. A good chunk of my posts are about eating and drinking too much, I think that is fun for people that do that too and those that secretly want to. I tend to share a lot, even personal stuff, so people sort of feel like they are there with me all the time, guess that is sort of different. Not sure it “sets me apart”, I rather like being part of a blogging community…I’m just that crazy aunt that sometimes has one glass too many and drops the wee ones on their noggins.
4. How would you characterize the growth in your readership since beginning your blog?
I so wish I was one of those super cool cats that could say, I don’t really pay attention to my numbers…nope I need constant affirmation so I check my counter dealie all the time! When I first started I was getting something like 20 hits a week, and I honestly felt incredible about that…I think I even bought myself a bottle of NV Billiot Brut Reserve to celebrate hitting the 500 hits mark, (blushing) but something happened late in the summer, (may have been the posts from my horrid vacation where I ended up stranded without my bags in Illinois…sharing stories with folks about what it’s like to walk around in a pair of men’s underpants, well, it just brings people together) from there it just exploded. I am still floored every morning when I check the counter…humbling.
5. Do you accept sample for review?
This is the serious “hot button” question right now isn’t it?! (Finger slipping under the collar) “Is is warm in here?” Truthfully I have never been sent a sample per se, but I am a buyer for a retail store so I am tasted on wines nearly every day, sometimes they drop off a bottle but that’s rare. More often than not I am hunched over in the tasting room, sniffing, slurping, spitting and taking notes with sales reps, but the bulk of my posts are about the wines I buy.
6. What kind of wine rating/review system do you use and why?
I don’t. I will write up wines but I never affix a number or score to a wine, I’ve just never understood that. I tell the story of the wine and it is for the reader to decide if it sounds appealing to them…who the hell am I to grade someone else’s work?
7. How do you fit the maintenance of your wine blog into your daily schedule?
You know, sleep is overrated. Seriously though, I almost never blog from work so everything is done either in the morning, before work or when I get home…I’m not a big sleeper so that works in my favor for blogging.
8. Have you utilized any particular techniques to successfully market your blog?
Other than having my blog linked to The Wine Country’s website and facebook, not really, seems more word of mouth for my blog.
9. In your view how, if at all, is blogging different than traditional wine writing for print?
Curse words? I think there is a tremendous amount of freedom in blog writing, personality seems a big player in the blog world, much more so than print media…it’s an individual’s perspective, not a publications, somehow feels looser and more relatable for people that may not be in the business or lifelong collectors.
10. Which other wine blogs do you read regularly?
Well Tom of Tom Wark’s Fermentation, I um, read yours. The Pour– I think Eric is fun to read and the comments suck me in. Benito’s Wine Reviews– I love his enthusiasm and crazy cooking stories, not to mention he has been remarkably helpful in getting my blog off the ground. Besotted Ramblings and Other Drivel– Peter and I share a passion for Champagne and I love the way he writes. Nancy On Wine– She is an ex Wine Country staffer and dear friend. Alice Feiring– her palate makes sense to me and I gotta love me another spunky wine chick. I’ve just started reading McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail– I really like his style too, kind of wine as seasoning to life, very comfortable for me. I read others too but those are the ones I read while sipping my coffee in the morning.
11. Do you believe wine blogs have made any marked impact on the wine industry or wine culture?
I think it is starting to, the more of us there are, with our varied styles and voices, the more people we are going to reach, and that is all good for this industry.
12. Vacation: Paris or the Caribbean?
Paris, this chunky girl does NOT dig bathing suit weather.
13. Pet: Dog or Cat?
I live in one of those evil complexes that allows neither but if I could, a dog Oh and I wou
ld not leave it in the car while I went wine tasting…man, do I hate pouring wine for some jackass with wine stained teeth, knowing the whole time their beloved pooch is sitting in the car, “Couldn’t stand to be away from the little darling huh? I mean aside from the three hours you’ve been here getting your drink on”
14. Airplane Reading: New Yorker or People?
Sky Mall, I am so getting me some of that stuff…they have a 3 foot plaster Bigfoot in there, I’m just sayin’
15. Car: Prius or BMW?
Not sure I’m cool enough for either, I drive a Camry…it is a red one though! So I’ll stay in the Toyota family and say Prius, plus it makes me look all green and junk.
16. Chablis or California Chardonnay?
Let me think, now Chablis reminds me of freshly sweating skin and California Chardonnay, (not all of them…don’t jump on my neck) reminds me of that orange that is sitting in the bottom of the bowl a tad too long…gonna have to go with Chablis.
17. Describe what you would have at your last meal?
Half a dozen oysters, icy cold with just a shot of lemon juice washed down with a glass of Agrapart Cuvee Venus. My Mother’s Sunday roast beef, rare with a blob of horseradish for dipping…I miss her, with a glass of Domaine de Montille Pommard Pezerolles. Cheese plate with a glass of Tempier Cabassaou.
18. What is Heaven Like?
This isn’t it?
19. If you could invite 4 people dead or alive to your fantasy dinner party, who would they be and who would you have bring the wine?
This was the hardest question for me, so I’m going to cheat by adding a “If your friends and family were all out of town” Dorothy Parker, Barack Obama, Lewis Black and Didier Dagueneau…so I guess I would leave the wines to the wild man from the Loire. Laughter and politics just do it for me.
20. What advice would you give to someone considering starting a wine blog?
Write about what you love. Write something you would want to read. Don’t measure your success by the number of comments on your blog. Post often. Check your facts, credibility is earned. Don’t blather, that’s my gig!