Wine Blogging and the “US vs. Them” Factor

Usvthem Today, in response to the perceived and real "Wine Blogger Bashing" that has been occurring occasionally here and there, someone will proclaim:  "Prove Them Wrong With Every Post."

This is sage advice
and comes from someone who knows of what they speak.

However, let me say to those bloggers who HAVE in the past suggested that the mainstream wine media is out of touch, or are the past, or are too threatened by bloggers and to the mainstream wine media folks who believe many wine bloggers are either irresponsible or sloppy….you are all aiming your venom at the wrong people.

There ARE differences between the mainstream wine media and the wine blogging media, but these are primarily technological, not substantial. Both types of media seek to do the following:

1. Educate Wine Drinkers
2. Elevate Wine Among Americans
3. Make A Contribution to the Dialog

Wine Bloggers, however, should recognize that those writers who make their way into traditional media outlets have in fact done so by proving themselves. I would argue that the vast majority of writers working in mainstream wine media do have more experience, more perspective, a deeper well of wine knowledge and more at stake in their writing than most wine bloggers. They have been plucked by experienced editors at money-making enterprises to represent the enterprise and provide their customers with high quality content.

But those who write for mainstream media must understand that the new corps of wine bloggers represent something important. They tend to possess a passion for wine and communicating that is second to none in the wine industry. They tend to be uber-champions of the average wine drinker. And if they seem to be navel gazers at times it's because they recognize far better than the mainstream wine media that blogging and on-line content will revolutionize the way wine lovers educate themselves. And these wine bloggers believe they have responsibility to make this medium as meaningful as possible.

I tire of the seeming rivalry between mainstream wine media and the wine blogging media. I tire at the swipes each take at the other. I really hope it ends.

17 Responses

  1. Samantha - July 24, 2009

    No doubt. The same conversation, over and over again…the same people thumping the same point to people that do not and likely will not change their minds, just stop already. Just write or read what moves you, teach, share, emode…whatever, people will follow what moves them and in the end we all want the same thing, more wine drinkers. This pissing and moaning about who should or should not be listened to just makes everyone look like a whiny bitches, makes me cringe.

  2. Tim - July 24, 2009

    I totally agree. And I’m tired of the manufactured controversy, no
    matter who initiates it. I’ve been tired of it and bored with it for quite some time.

  3. JD in Napa - July 24, 2009

    Yay! And I’m tired of the ethics stuff being thrown around, too. Let’s just have fun with our favorite social beverage.

  4. Alfonso - July 24, 2009

    reminds me a little of the debate between the traditional 3-tier folk and the next generation of wine marketers.
    I like your Educate/Elevate/Contribute trinity mantra, Tom.

  5. Thomas Pellechia - July 24, 2009

    Seeing that I fall into both camps–mainstream media (which I interpret to mean print) and blogging (which if I interpret any way other than to mean online, I might have to assess my intelligence) I value these two things:
    Training and study in the subject being covered (wine or otherwise); skill in the communication medium chosen (writing, that is).
    Not a lot to ask.

  6. Phil - July 24, 2009

    Excellent post Tom, I agree completely. I noted on one of 1WineDude’s posts earlier that this is starting to remind me of opposing sides in politics, which is definitely not a good thing. People on both sides need to take some deep breaths.

  7. Steve Heimoff - July 24, 2009

    I think the rivalry is ending. The mainstream guys (like Parker and Andy Blue) will think twice before insulting bloggers. And bloggers are coming around to understand that the older mainstream guys are in most cases pretty smart. Then there are those of us who bridge both worlds and like to think we are living illustrations of that old question, “Can’t we all just get along?” : >

  8. Ron Washam, HMW - July 24, 2009

    Competition is good. Criticism is appropriate. The conversation is extremely dull, granted, but certainly not unwarranted. I, for one, don’t really think that civil discourse is always the best. Opinionated, articulate people often resort to name-calling and backbiting. Hell, it’s only wine. There’s lots of fun to be had in disagreeing about it.
    Just pray that Parker doesn’t develop nuclear weapons. Bye-bye Flamingo Hotel.
    Am I the only one who isn’t bothered by good old American infighting?

  9. Ron Washam, HMW - July 24, 2009

    Of course, the highlight is Steve Heimoff quoting Rodney King. I’m sure the opposite has never happened.

  10. Andrew Fegelman - July 24, 2009

    You certainly nailed it here Tom. In fact, everything you write applies to most blogging vs. main stream media. Both need to acknowledge the role the other plays in public discourse and both need to adhere to journalistic standards if they expect to build and maintain credibility with readers.

  11. Charlie Olken - July 24, 2009

    Parker and Blue may have made stupid comments about blogging but both WS and WE writers have blogs. Asimov has a blog. Jon Bonne has a blog.
    All the writers in print who are more than part-timers writing for next to nothing will have blogs. You can bet that Parker will have one at some point, but I would not bet on Blue unless he can make a buck at it.
    Ron Washam has a blog–although since he gave up including pictures of naked ladies, only three people read it. Sadly, I am one of them.
    Somewhere is this great land of ours there will be winewriters who have been around longer than me. And folks, I read blogs, post on blogs and will have one soon enough with its own slant on what online wine journalism can be.
    If I can do it, everyone but my 95-year old mother will soon have a blog. Of course, Andy Blue will still be railing against the bloggers, but that is to be expected–at least until he gets his own blog.

  12. Thomas Pellechia - July 24, 2009

    I have a horrible feeling that I can compete with you in the longevity department…and I already have a blog that is almost 3 years old and nearly on hospice care.

  13. Roger - July 26, 2009

    Like everything Internet, blogs are a mixed bag. It is irresponsible to try to categorize bloggers as uninformed or what was the word… “gadfly”.
    People blog because they want to share their experiences. Since wine is very subjective subject, who is anyone to say that these opinions are wrong?
    After ten years of wine writing I have given into modern technology and as some of the print newspapers who once sent a check go out of business, blogging is a great way keep writing.
    Great post!

  14. KenPayton - July 27, 2009

    Odd post.

  15. Thomas Pellechia - July 27, 2009

    Opinions cannot ever be wrong, because they are as subjective as wine tasting. But opinions can be based on wrongness, especially when an opinion is issued without knowledge of the subject to back it up.
    It is false to say that all opinions matter–only informed ones matter.

  16. Mark - July 27, 2009

    I think any time we can elevate the conversation about wine among consumers and help to educate them, that’s a good thing.
    Great wines are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, not just the sophisticated professional tasters.

  17. Thomas Pellechia - July 27, 2009

    Elevate is the operative word.
    Is it elevating the conversation when people who don’t know what they are talking about are full of opinions anyway? It’s not elevation; it’s noise; and noise is not the same thing as education.
    There are many good, solid wine people blogging–but there’s also a hell of a lot of noise.

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