What I Know and Think About Wine Blogging

Typing Five years in to the wine blogging revolution and five days out from the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference, it's time to assess the things I now know and think about wine blogging and wine bloggers.

1. Given the number of new and compelling voices that make up the wine blogosphere, it's clear to me that prior to the emergence of this self-publishing revolution literary-minded wine lovers were denied access to what must have been a host of fascinating voices who could have expanded all of our views about wine were it not for their lack of a venue to publish their thoughts, commentary and ideas.

2. Wine lovers find themselves living and drinking in a "Golden Age" of wine writing.

3. The only difference between the wine blogosphere and the traditional wine media is that those getting compensated to do their writing are paid slightly more than the bloggers who are doing it for free.

4. There is no reason to believe there will be a "culling" or "fall out" of wine bloggers…they'll just keep coming and emerging and growing in number.

5. There is extraordinary opportunity for one or more wine bloggers to bust out of their relative anonymity and become highly influential with hard core wine lovers if only the right person finds a way to become a comprehensive source of wine reviews.

6. I remain shocked that no one has taken the easiest path to wine blogging success and fame: creating a blog that chronicles the wine drinking habits of the rich and famous.

7. It is somewhat disconcerting to me that while I make a very good living as a wine public relations consultant, I am best known in the wine industry as a blogger with an audience to exploit.

8. I'm flabbergasted that no one has taken the most obvious path to wine blogging success: post 5 to 10 times per day on intriguing topics.

9. Five plus years of blogging, 2,085 posts and 13,165 comments later, I still get excited when I'm alerted that there is a new comment on my blog, making me wonder if blogging really isn't just best understood as a good source of adrenalin. 

10. Walla Walla, Washington, the host of the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference, has a remarkable public relations opportunity that is unlikely to be missed.

18 Responses

  1. Andy Perdue - June 21, 2010

    This is a complete non sequitur, but when did you change your photo? (I tend to read through the RSS feed.) You don’t look as tough in this photo. I like the tough Tom Wark better.

  2. Marie - June 21, 2010

    And given that there are more venues right now for us to share our interests and continuously evolving knowledge about wine, let us encourage more wine enthusiasts to share their thoughts and experiences with wines. Cheers to us!

  3. twitter.com/dmhoro - June 21, 2010

    Regarding 7. I think you’re the best when it comes to the 3-tier or “wholesaler protection” system.
    Seeya in Walla Walla!

  4. Benito - June 21, 2010

    “8. I’m flabbergasted that no one has taken the most obvious path to wine blogging success: post 5 to 10 times per day on intriguing topics.”
    I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around this concept for a couple of hours. Seems like most of the content would have to be links to other bloggers or press releases, and keeping up with it all would be a full time job. How to support that level of activity for a few months until it got popular enough to run on ads (if that’s even possible)?
    I can sort of see someone with access to a *massive* portfolio doing something like that, say a Constellation or Gallo-sponsored blogger that might work out of a warehouse.

  5. Kevin Glowacki - June 22, 2010

    Great piece Tom. I especially identify with #5, as I talked about this at a social media breakfast a few weeks ago. I think a consolidated place where several opinions about wines would be a great resource. Sort of a hybrid between traditional media and cellartracker.

  6. Scott - June 22, 2010

    Interesting how you phrase point #7; “with an audience to exploit.”

  7. Tom Wark - June 22, 2010

    I’m not nearly as tough as the first photo suggested, which of course was its appeal. However, I thought an update after 5 years was appropriate.

  8. Tom Wark - June 22, 2010

    One would certainly need time to pull that off, commitment and a plan. However, I don’t think one necessarily would have to review wine nor simply rely on linking to other blogs or to re-issuing press releases.

  9. Tom Wark - June 22, 2010

    Yes, it is.

  10. A.C. Houston - June 22, 2010

    Lots of interesting points raised about wine blogs here. What about if a wine blog had some regularly scheduled interactive events (lots of digital options nowadays) where followers sign in and everyone involved does a virtual tasting together? Pick a time slot and a set of wines (everyone buys their own, or create a master list and people buy and try a subset of those). I would find it fun to be sitting at home doing a tasting and commenting online, seeing the real-time comments of others on the same wines. You can do a real tasting with your friends, but a blog context connects you to interesting wine people you might not otherwise get to interact with. Is this too geeky?

  11. Tom Wark - June 22, 2010

    Sure, why not? It’s been done in a number of other venues, why not at a blog. Of course, the first chore is finding enough takers.

  12. Chef E Stelling - June 22, 2010

    I just wish the ‘rich and famous’ would come and read my wine and food blogs 🙂 Are you available?
    Thank goodness for amusing wine blogs such as yours my dear!

  13. Andy Perdue - June 22, 2010

    Tom, I’m heartened to notice you left your “tough” photo as your favicon.

  14. Dave Erickson - June 22, 2010

    I don’t write about the wine-drinking habits of the rich and famous, because Jay McInerny already has that covered. I don’t publish great wine ideas umpty times a day because I have to devote an excessive portion of my waking hours to actually selling wine. And in any event, while I could really get into being rich from wine blogging, I don’t think I could handle the fame part, and if I understand the model correctly, the former requires the latter.

  15. tom hyland - June 23, 2010

    It is a nice feeling to see there’s a new comment on what you write, isn’t it?
    Congratulations on all your fine work!

  16. Chicago Pinot - June 23, 2010

    I’m curious if you are really sincere about #6. As long as this country remains in a recession, with two (?) wars and one oil gusher to juggle, the audience for #6 will be limited, and getting smaller every day.
    Besides, Wine Speculator already has #6 thoroughly covered.

  17. Liz Mendez - June 24, 2010

    Dig the bullet points and as always this was an enjoyable read.Especially enjoyed 1-4 as I was just in a huge “conversation” with someone about blogs having an impact on business. My ‘Head in the Sand’ counterpart does not believe blogs have an impact on business, in wine or any other arena for that matter. Unfortunately I won’t be by his side when he sees the truth and must cave to the obvious realization that blogs are not only here to stay, but that they matter and have impact on business.

  18. Firstvine.wordpress.com - June 29, 2010

    I’ve tried it — both online and by conference call — with limited success. It works better with more experienced tasters, for newbies it’s better in-person where I can see if they’ve got questions or help with technique.

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