What’s the Best Wine Blog?

Wba If you are interested in good wine writing and wine information…

If you appreciate good wine blogs…

If you want to offer encouragement to the best wine blogs…

...Then you best get over to www.wineblogwards.com and nominate your favorite blogs for the 2010 Wine Blog Awards. The nominations process ends on April 7th.

Awards strike me as a matter of a "Meta criticism", an effort by a large, somewhat well informed group (rather than an individual) to identify the best in a category. This is most certainly what the Wine Blog Awards attempt. The very act of criticisms, as in film criticism, art criticism and literary criticism, is on the wane. The individual, well-read, expert critic is a dying breed as the citizen critic and meta scores seem to carry more and more weighty.

While I don't believe that the work of the traditional, single, lonely, well informed, educated critic is anything at all similar to the "meta score" or the Meta Critic that is an awards process, they do serve similar purposes. Both Robert Parker, Jr. and the Wine Blog Awards attempt to identify the best. That's a worthwhile process.

This is the 4th year the Wine Blog Awards have sought to shine the light on the best of this new genre. In my experience, this process of nominating blogs in different categories is the most important part of the process. This is the moment when that somewhat unknown blog can be nominated and eventually brought to the attention of the judges. This is the process by which we assure certain blogs don't bet overlooked.


Posted In: Wine Blog Awards


9 Responses

  1. Thomas Pellechia - April 5, 2010

    Maybe, as you post, awards are a form of meta-criticism (to which I do not agree), but I do agree with the dearly departed Hosemaster of Wine: it is meta-unseemly for bloggers to beg for readers to vote for them.

  2. Ron Washam, HMW - April 5, 2010

    I ain’t dead yet!
    And, honestly, would there even be any nominations if the bloggers didn’t beg their siblings and eight readers to nominate them? The awards are about self-promotion and popularity, not the least bit about actual talent. As if People Magazine were awarded a Pulitzer. To pretend otherwise is simple hubris. I guess it’s all about how one defines the word “best.”
    And, hey, how come nobody nominated the HoseMaster? I’m just on hiatus, I swear.

  3. Tom Wark - April 5, 2010

    Asking one’s readers to nominate you for an award may in fact be about self promotion and popularity, but the Awards themselves are not so necessarily about promotion and popularity as you suggest.
    To suggest the entire awards process is merely about popularity dismisses any notion of critical thinking on the part of either those who eventually vote for the winners or for the judges that also take part in that process. And while this might seem like a comic turn to to take, it’s hardly a thoughtful take on the turn of events that is the Wine Blog Awards.
    For example, last year Frederic Keoppel won for best wine review blog. Not exactly the most read blogger at the time. Not example the most popular blogger. But if you look at his work you’ll find it was an outstanding choice. How could this happen if it’s just about self promotion and popularity?
    Yes, like all awards there is an element of self promotion. But there is also a big old dollop of uncovering real talent and effort.
    And, by the way, you have been nominated.

  4. Ron Washam, HMW - April 5, 2010

    Once again I’m nominated in a category where I simply do not belong, just like last year. Best Single Subject? What the hell does that even mean? The single subject is comedy? Poorly written, so not Best Writing? Yikes.
    Whether my comments are “thoughtful” is another discussion. God knows I’m not as thoughtful as your average wine blogger. Do the awards serve a purpose? Well, they made your blog really famous. Are they strictly a popularity contest? No, absolutely not, they’re also a vanity award. Look, we’re important, we get awards! We give them to ourselves, but they’re still awards, dammit. They have meaning because we say so. Industry awards are always about self-promotion–Oscars, Emmys, Grammys… That’s why they exist. No shame in that, it’s just the truth.
    It has always seemed to me that there are two kinds of wine bloggers, the ones who do it strictly for love and self-expression and the ones who do it as a vehicle for self-promotion and a feeling of importance. Which ones do you think will win the awards?
    I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving awards. Attaching importance to them is another story. Sheesh, let’s get over ourselves wine bloggers. It’s supposed to be about the wine.

  5. Tom Wark - April 5, 2010

    Believe it or not, I’m going to take issue with a few things.
    First, while industry awards are indeed always self promotional, that is not only what they are. While I may disagree with who ultimately wins, say, the MVP in the National Baseball League, it remains an informative and reliable barometer of who played extraordinarily well and who made the biggest impact in a given year.
    The point of course is that there is information embedded in an award that goes well beyond, “who did the best to promote themselves for the award.”

  6. 1WineDude - April 5, 2010

    Guys, I don’t see the harm in the awards. If they are partly self-promotional (at least in terms of being peer awards), then by that same reasoning (being peer wards) they are also valuable in indicating who is thought to be providing compelling / valuable content by the people who best know the effort needed to produce that content.
    Maybe I’m being too simplistic but I don’t see anyone being harmed in that scenario.
    In fact, the only criticism I have left for the WBA is that the process of the judges sorting through the nominations could be more transparent; other than that, it looks like there’s been excellent incorporation of feedback on the previous awards and they continue to strive to be better each year.
    Maybe I’m crazy but I’d say that’s an excellent track record for peer-based awards that have almost no funding, no permanent governing body, etc. I guess what I mean is, so long as the awards aren’t deceiving the public that they are independent from the wine bogging world, there’s no foul play.
    Looked a another way, if wineries within a region had an awards process where they themselves nominated their peers’ wines and peers chose the winning wines, I’d be interested in the outcome of that, and would probably find some value in them…

  7. Ron Washam, HMW - April 5, 2010

    Hi Guys,
    The MVP award is hardly an accurate analogy seeing as it’s based on measurable performances, batting average, RBI, etc, and voted on only by qualified and experienced sports writers, not the public. But your point is well-taken, Tom, the awards do indeed stand for more than popularity and self-promotion–we just disagree as to what that is.
    Joe, easy for you to say as you are a shoo-in for an award. I completely agree that the transparency of the process leaves a lot to be desired. And I also think it’s creepy to have professional writers, guys who are paid to write about wine, like Heimoff and Asimov and many others, competing against ordinary folks who do it on their own dime and outside of their fulltime jobs. It’s like Meryl Streep winning an acting award at a 99-seat Equity Waiver theater. Makes the theater look good, but it’s hardly about amateur acting any more. Asimov winning might make blogging seem more important, but it’s a slap in the face to the rest of us.
    So, Tom, if the awards are about who has made the most impact as opposed to who is the “Best,” as the categories state, then I concede your points. Unfortunately, I’m nominated in the “Best Single Subject Wine Blog,” a category where I’ve had no impact.

  8. 1WineDude - April 5, 2010

    Ron – I’d certainly say that your blog ought to be considered for the Best Writing category. I’m happy that you feel I’m a shoo-in, but given the amount of blogs out there I’m not prepared to concur!
    I take your point on pros vs. ams – personally, if you’re getting paid to do it then it’s not a blog, it’s a job :-). But in some cases like Steve’s, the blog is NOT part of his job, so the lines aren’t clear-cut…

  9. Earle Wines - April 10, 2010

    Chris Townend’s http://wine-gums.blogspot.com is a recent wine blogger but has made some good observations and criticisms about the trade

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