Bloggerview #25: Joe Roberts
Here's what I think about Joe Roberts of the 1WineDude Blog: (wait, I shouldn't say that). Ok, here's what I think of Joe: The man possesses the talent, knowledge, cojones and potential to use his wine blog to move on to bigger and better things inside the world of wine. You can't say that about too many wine bloggers. If you peruse 1 Wine Dude you you should immediately notice that Joe possesses that quality that sets apart the best wine bloggers: A unique voice teamed with an analytical mind and he's not afraid to use it. In addition to his written posts, Joe is also doing video posts that are pretty fun to watch. I like his written stuff the best. I also like the way he makes a real effort to point his growing number of readers toward other wine blogs. Joe was kind enough to submit himself to the bloggerview. As you can see, Joe is a good-looking man. As you'll read, he's a man with a very interesting mind.
1. When did you begin blogging and why?
February `07. I'd wanted to give a little extra credence to my wine consulting gig, and wanted to write, so I kicked off the blog with a post about tasting a `67 Latour. Now, 2 years later, I dont have any time for consulting because of the blog!
2. In two sentences describe the focus of your wine blog.
Wine edu-tainment for the Intermediate wine lover. Whoops, that's only one sentence!
3. What sets your wine blog apart from the pack?
I'm not sure how to answer that. I think that 1WineDude has a unique voice, equal parts knowledgeable content, critical thinking, and gonzo insanity. I suppose it's a unique blend, a bit like one of those funky white wine blends – on paper it doesn't look like it will work, but in practice it's actually enjoyable.
4. How would you characterize the growth in your readership since beginning your blog?
Slow & steady growth of readers who are not at all slow (and arguably many of them aren't steady, either!). The dialog and discussion seems to attract knowledgeable wine consumers as well as other bloggers and fair amount of those in the industry as well. I want to thank also the many bloggers, industry publications, and wineries and others who have linked to 1WineDude.com and / or otherwise featured the site in some way, because they have really helped to spread the word about the site and grow the readership organically.
5. Do you accept sample for review?
Yes. I follow the fairly typical blogger rules of not promising any review (positive or negative) as a condition of receipt of a sample. Right now, I am absolutely overrun with samples. Once the economy tanked, some of us in the wine blog-o-world got inundated… I'm not complaining but I am in desperate need of a better storage system! Be careful what you wish for, as they say…
6. What kind of wine rating/review system do you use and why?
None. Personally, I hate rating wines. I hate rating wines almost as much as I hate the Dallas Cowboys.
I learn very little about a wine by reading a rating. I'd much rather know what it tastes like, and if it seems to be any good (or not), and the story behind the wine, its makers, its overall personality. That's what I strive for – personality, connection. A number just doesn't fit in with that approach for me.
7. How do you fit the maintenance of your wine blog into your daily schedule?
Painfully. I have a successful IT career, I'm in a band, I've got a family. Every day is a new lesson in balance. Often my wife reminds me when the balance is off (as she just did about 10 minutes ago…!).
8. Have you utilized any particular techniques to successfully market your blog?
Yes – I've used two and pretty much only two:
1) Write the best content that you can.
2) Network like crazy.
I happen to enjoy writing and networking, so for me it's a great fit. Every other "lesson" or piece of "advice" I've received about blogging I've largely ignored. I suppose it's like losing weight – people look for quick fixes, but a steady progression is the real answer and there's no magic to it. For blogging, it's writing and writing and writing, and reaching out to others. The rest comes with time – including opportunities. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunities that wine has afforded to me. I owe wine big-time!
9. In your view how, if at all, is blogging different than traditional wine writing for print?
Well, in my case, I receive all of my post ideas via beams of energy sent by orbiting intelligent space monkeys. So I guess that's a little different from traditional print writing. At least, it sounds better than rehashing the same stuff that always get said about the differences (self-editing, etc.). I'd add that there is one big difference that I think is often under-appreciated: blogging is built from the ground up to be a two-way street in terms of communication – you just can't get that with print. Right, benevolent Space monkeys?
10. Which other wine blogs do you read regularly?
I subscribe to so few blogs, it's embarrassing! But, that's just because I'm lazy – there are more and more great blogs coming to light every day for me. Another Wine Blog is one I've recently started getting into. Steve Heimoff and Lenndevours have been inspirations for me in a lot of ways. GoodGrape and Bigger Than Your Head contain just superb, superb writing. My Daily Wine and Dirty South Wine are great reads. Ok, I'll stop now…
11. Do you believe wine blogs have made any marked impact on the wine industry or wine culture?
I think as a whole bloggers need to move on from this topic, actually. If this topic was a play, it would be written by Pinter and would involve the lead characters doing a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth, Old Testament style. And furrowed brows – a lot of furrowed brows.The data is in, we **ha
ve** made and **are** making an impact – it's just an indisputable fact. Now… what are gonna *do* with our influence? *That's* the question we need to be thinking about collectively now.
12. Vacation: Paris or the Caribbean?
Well, my wife is going to pick Caribbean… and therefore so am ! I love culture, but I can always download high-def pics of paintings from the Louvre while sipping drinks on a pristine beach and eating Bahamian coconut bread!
13. Pet: Dog or Cat?
Dog. Always dog. 1,000 times DOG. I have a true story that I tell to cat owners, about an old lady who lived with three cats in my buddy's apartment building several years ago. She died in her apartment and the cats… well, it's rather gruesome so let's just say if you're a cat-lover the rest of that story might move you over to the dog camp… Just sayin…
14. Airplane Reading: New Yorker or People?
New Yorker. In fact, if I catch people that I know on the same flight reading People, I will roll up my New Yorker and beat them over the head with it!
15. Car: Prius or BMW?
Beemer. When they make a hybrid that really hugs the road, I'll buy one. But at the rate we're going, I'll be too old to drive by then…
16. Chablis or California Chardonnay?
Chablis, by a loooong mile. Nothing against Cali., but Chablis is my absolute fave Chard. region in the world.
17. Describe what you would have at your last meal?
An escape plan. Or were you talking about food?
18. What is Heaven Like?
It's the everlasting now. It's here right in front of us always, and if we can tune into that moment then we can realize that every act we take is divine and sacred (not religious – just *divine*). You can actually be there this very second. The more people realize that, the better off our world will be. Look, I mean this stuff and I'm not even high or drunk!
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?
1) Call me a homer but first on the list is Ben Franklin. He'd be in charge of the wine because Jefferson actually thought that Scuppernong had fine wine potential. Sorry, Charlie.
2) The Cuban-born but Italian-raised writer Italo Calvino. For story-telling purposes.
3) Rosa Parks. No idea why I included her, it just popped into my head.
4) William Shatner – because, well, he's Shatner!
20. What advice would you give to someone considering starting a wine blog?
Come original, or don't come. Let us hear your voice, your real voice, even if it means busting up every convention that you've ever heard about blogging. Now is not the time to be timid!