Bloggerview #30: Dale Cruse

Bloggerview #30

Who: Dale Cruse
Blog: Drinks Are On Me

 This Dale Cruse character is an interesting guy. Wine is his sideline, as it is for probably the majority of bloggers. His real life is as an outstanding web developer. I've followed his mercurial work and uneven temper at for some time now. It's an odd site that is unpredictable. One day you get a lengthy investigation of Dales' own palate, another day you get a recipe, another day a commentary on what's new in wine marketing, technology, another day a semi naked woman. What you always get is an engaged, quick mind that you just know could be used for more nefarious purposes if it wasn't already focused on wine and web development.
1. When did you begin blogging and why?
Drinks Are On Me started clogging the arteries of the Internet in September 2007. The site combines all my interests: Writing, photography, wine, & website publishing.

2. In two sentences describe the focus of your wine blog.
I publish the website I want to read. It includes smart writing with an attitude & pictures of beautiful women enjoying wine.

3. What sets your wine blog apart from the pack?
Boobs. Who doesn't like boobs? Some friends on Twitter have taken to calling me the Hugh Hefner of wine. I gladly accept that moniker! Hef has done so much to make what was once taboo acceptable while changing the publishing world. I haven't done anything yet that's even remotely in his league, but I'm honored to mentioned in the same sentence.

4. How would you characterize the growth in your readership since beginning your blog?
It's a fact of life that people like boobs more than they like wine.

5. Do you accept samples for review?
Yes, but I rarely write about them. Sometimes I'll Tweet about them but not often. I think that's one of the many things broken in the wine industry. Public relations folks send out samples hoping someone will mention them. Even when people don't, they still keep sending samples. Why? You might as well pour that bottle down the drain & save postage. Seriously, stop sending me free wine. I'm not going to write about it. You're just wasting effort.

6. What kind of wine rating/review system do you use and why?
I don't believe in trying to objectively measure a purely subjective experience.

7. How do you fit the maintenance of your wine blog into your daily schedule?
That's the easy part. I'm a website developer with a high-profile client list. I can't believe people pay me to wear whatever I want & listen to music while I code their websites! Lately I switched blog platforms from WordPress to Tumblr. WP is awesome but I was spending too much time fiddling with it – there was always some new plugin to update or whatever & I wasn't spending time publishing. So I threw that out the window and started over on Tumblr. I can publish from the web, via email, or instant message. I can even phone in a post. I'm back to publishing & I'm doing it more often than ever!

8. Have you utilized any particular techniques to successfully market your blog?
Be everywhere. Friend everybody on Twitter, Facebook, & all the rest. Don't give anyone any reason not to be able to connect to you.

9. In your view how, if at all, is blogging different than traditional wine writing for print?

We need to stop thinking of the online world as somehow different or separate from real life. We buy things online & can meet people online. Just about anything you do online you can do in real life. The lines have blurred so much to have become irrelevant to me.

10. Which other wine blogs do you read regularly?
I don't read many wine blogs – I mostly skim the headlines via Google Reader. The problem I see over & over again is wine bloggers writing with only other wine bloggers in mind. After a short time, the community becomes an echo chamber at best & some sort of sick circle jerk at worst. The blogs I pay the most attention to usually have nothing to do with wine. is the gold standard to me. That woman can make constipation interesting. That being said, there was one wine blogger who captivated me every time she wrote: Leah Hennessy. She's so good I had to have her. I convinced her to publish on my site instead & soon you're going to start seeing her featured there.

11. Do you believe wine blogs have made any marked impact on the wine industry or wine culture?
Not in my opinion. Here's a dirty little secret: Wine consumers don't need us. They don't need Parker or Wine Spectator or anybody else either. Instead, they need to determine what tastes good in their mouths & vote with their pocketbooks. I'm all about that level of empowerment.

12. Vacation: Paris or the Caribbean?
If you're doing what you love, you never need a vacation.

13. Pet: Dog or Cat?
My Maine Coon named Clifford is pretty cool for a creature whose poop I have to scoop.

14. Airplane Reading: New Yorker or People?
Neither. I'm currently reading Mark Bittman's "Food Matters" & Tim Ferriss' "The Four-Hour Work-Week."

15. Car: Prius or BMW?
I have been a proud Toyota Prius owner since 2002, the second model year they were available. I love my car & am happy to show it off to anyone who's willing to listen.

16. Chablis or California Chardonnay?
Some subscribe to the "ABC method": "anything but Chardonnay." Fuck that. I don't believe in any system that completely eliminates any type of wine. Though I might choose Chablis first, there's a time & place for Chardonnay.

17. Describe what you would have at your last meal?
My f
riends Rich Auffrey & Jackie Church & I have this running debate about what wine pairs with "long pig." I think it depends on the method of preparation. And of course sauces speak loudly.

18. What is Heaven Like?
Forget waiting to find out. Instead, truly live every moment here on Earth & create your own personal Heaven right here right now.

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?
Heather Armstrong. Danni Ashe. Hunter S. Thompson. My son. Gary can bring the wine.

20. What advice would you give to someone considering starting a wine blog?
Wait it out – that feeling is probably just gas.

Posted In: Bloggerviews


16 Responses

  1. @nectarwine - January 6, 2010

    Dale is humorous and engaging. His site is one of the handful I visit every day! Depending on the boob content, maybe several times a day. I love his response to #11 “Wine consumers don’t need us.”
    Dale, send your samples my way – I’m happy to pour it down my drain, uh mouth!
    Josh @nectarwine (twitter)

  2. dadekian - January 6, 2010

    Outstanding, as expected. Dale is Hef!

  3. Del - January 6, 2010

    Interesting comment on how to write a wine blog, please look at our blog, quite varied postings and offering good tasting notes, please let us know if you would like to link any on your site

  4. Jacqueline Church - January 6, 2010

    I love Dale for the fact that he makes *me* seem polite, conventional, and restrained. Then again, these are not really traits I aspire to…oh, it must be the boobs. Not Dale’s but …oh never mind. Let’s just say it’s the wine, okay?

  5. Marco Montez - January 6, 2010

    Drinks Are On Me has been one of my favorite blogs for a long time even before the recent boobs & butts upgrade. I know few people like Dale… it’s an honor to know him personally.

  6. Anonymous - January 6, 2010

    I want to like his blog – but I just can’t get beyond the boobs. I want to talk about wine on the web not further objectify women. I think you missed the boat with this profile….

  7. Dale Cruse - January 6, 2010

    I wish the previous commenter had the guts to leave a name. That way I could directly address the accusation that I’m objectifying women. Instead I’ll say that if anything I’m glorifying women. I have never published full nudity or anything degrading. I post playful photos of women with wine and accompanying captions that are never mean or distasteful. Suddenly I’m starting to understand Mr. Hefner more than ever before.

  8. 1WineDude - January 7, 2010

    I just wanted to say… BOOBS!!!!
    Great read!

  9. 1WineDude - January 7, 2010

    Also – love your quotes.

  10. John Cesano - January 7, 2010

    That was a great Q & A. Thanks to both of you.

  11. VinoCulture - January 11, 2010

    Oh for fu*ks sake, what are you guys – 12?
    So cliche. Why is it a certain “type” (read: middle-aged-white-guy) will defend his right to link nekid women with completely random subjects (cars, tools, wine) – and then whine and pout when someone objects to it? If you’ve got a right to post it (which I will defend), then other people have a right to object to it. What’s with the childish ridicule and the pretend bent egos?
    Ditch the teenage acne and pocket pool, guys. Wine is not a boys club.

  12. kenny - January 12, 2010

    Hey, I like Time Ferris and of course I like boobs and I read Dale and I have a lot in common.

  13. Dale Cruse - January 13, 2010

    VinoCulture, no one’s whining our pouting. All your vitriol is for naught. Thanks for reading!

  14. VinoCulture - January 13, 2010

    No vitriol from me Dale, I’m sure sorry if you read it that way. Exasperation, maybe. I know, you want to frame me as angry or ridicule me (see the anonymous post above) – it’s certainly easier than having an intelligent discussion on the merits of the topic at hand. But, you’re just supporting my previous post.
    The point I’m making is that when you are intentionally provocative, you should not feign shock when the sideshow overshadows your content, and turns people off. “Gosh, I’m only lovin’ on women – now I know how Hef feels [Dale shuffles feet]” That’s kind of pouty….
    And thank YOU for reading – I’m guessing you and I have more in common than you think.

  15. Dale Cruse - January 13, 2010

    VinoCulture, I didn’t ridicule you or the anonymous poster above.
    I’m also not shocked when people react negatively to what I publish. And if you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I’ve never pouted a moment in my life.
    All I’m saying is that if I’m going to be accused of something, I’d like to be accused accurately.

  16. VinoCulture - January 13, 2010

    Well, then – I’ll look forward to meeting you someday. But maybe we just have a different pout threshold, because in my opinion, the pout comment is accurate. I know you took exception to my initial comment, but it was not just directed at your response, but also at the fit of Tourette’s from the Dude. Surely you would agree that sort of response does not *ehem* facilitate dialog. Use whatever word you want (ridicule? bully?), but clearly the intent is to silence a point of view.
    In any case – continued success to you, I do have admiration for intelligent pot stirrers.

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