How 7 Years of Wine Blogging Will Change You

EyeSeven years of blogging about wine will produce some interesting changes in a person.

With this, my 2,361st post on Fermentation, I mark the seventh anniversary of maintaining this platform. My output over these past seven years amounts to 6.5 posts per week for 364 weeks. I'm not sure what kind of an achievement that is besides perseverance and habit maintenance. However, it has produced in me the formation of some ideas about wine blogging, writing, journaling, the media and myself. In no specific order, these ideas and thoughts are:

1. I take pride in having been part of the wine blogging phenomena from its relative beginnings

2. Blogging has created in me kind of courage I did not possess at the outset of this project

3. I become genuinely excited when I discover a new, talented voice in the wine blogging world

4. I often feel pressure to publish a new post and that doesn't feel good

5. Blogging regularly produces in me an acceptance to being exposed

6. I sometimes wonder about what will become of all these posts an words when I meet my end.

7. I believe roughly 10% of the wine blogs offer anything of value to the wine community

8. I'm certain the rise of blogs and wine blogging have undercut professional wine writing and it bothers me some that I've contribute to this damage in some small way.

9. I'm surprised more wine bloggers have not risen from their journaling to professional wine writer

10. The 20,000 monthly unique readers this blog attracts strikes me as far fewer than it actually could be and that sometimes depresses me.

11. In the seven years since starting this blog, I've become progressively more cynical about the wine industry, yet progressively more enchanted with the people that occupy the industry.

12. The substance and character of wine blogs have changed very little over seven years and I don't expect much evolution over the next seven.

13. The working of my mind has changed: I frequently view encounters with people and information in terms of whether or not they are blog-worthy.

14. Good bloggers know that it takes an effort to effectively stroke their own ego.

15. I've concluded that if the top 10 bloggers shut down their own wine blogs and combined to create a single wine blog featuring them all, they could wield great influence and a large audience.

16. The most significant evolution in wine blogging will continue to be how readers find blogs and how wine blog content is distributed.

17. Writing for wine consumers, rather than the trade, is the only way this wine blog can change.

18. The quality and quantity of a wine bloggers audience is the best measure of their worth.

19. I think I may have a good 10 more years of wine blogging in me.

20. My primary problem with wine blogger and wine blogging is that there is too much commentary and not enough original reporting

21. I've learned after 7 years of blogging that the line between intimacy and exposure is not a bright one.



21 Responses

  1. 1WineDude - November 28, 2011

    Happy birthday! “I’ve become progressively more cynical about the wine industry, yet progressively more enchanted with the people that occupy the industry.” – Cannot tell you how deeply that comment resonates with me today!

  2. Samantha Dugan - November 28, 2011

    #18 just made me feel bad about myself, thanks Tom! Off to pout….

  3. Tom Wark - November 28, 2011

    Samantha….But….we know the quality of your audience is peerless.

  4. El Jefe - November 28, 2011

    So… you are 0.5 PPW (posts per week for the TLA challenged) short of your goal. Persevere, man, persevere!
    And happy birthday!

  5. Thomas Pellechia - November 29, 2011

    “#18 just made me feel bad about myself, thanks Tom! Off to pout….”
    Wait a minute, Sam…
    Happy birthday, Tom, even though you’ll never catch up to some of us!

  6. Lewis Perdue - November 29, 2011

    #20 – Original reporting is maximum effort for minimum return. Making minimum wage is a distant and probably unobtainable goal.

  7. Tom Wark - November 29, 2011

    In the wine arena, “original reporting” need not be SOOO full of effort. It may only mean calling a few wineries and asking questions about Harvest or a new Law or their thoughts on this or that. Or, it might mean enlightening us on the circulation figures for wine magazines…again, just a call. I’m not necessarily asking for muckraking or highly investigative pieces. But I do think more original reporting, versus simple comment and opinionating, would raise the perception of the wine blogging community.

  8. Blake Gray - November 29, 2011

    Tom: Nos. 8, 9 and 20 are the same.
    I love wine blogging, but if I’m going to put time into original reporting for something, I want to be paid. Of course, there are fewer outlets paying real money because bloggers are willing to write for less money.

  9. J.A. Kodmur - November 29, 2011

    Congrats, Tom, such a great job you do, challenging all of us, inspiring us, enlightening us!!!!!

  10. EVO - November 29, 2011

    Happy Birthday Tom.

  11. mari kane - November 29, 2011

    #10 -” The 20,000 monthly unique readers this blog attracts strikes me as far fewer than it actually could be and that sometimes depresses me.”
    Now, that point depresses me to no end. If I had 20K visitors I’d be a very happy blogger. Chin up, Tom.

  12. Tom Wark - November 29, 2011

    There is no question that the rise of the blogger has undercut the business of professional writing. But more importantly, I think, it’s the rise of the aggregation sites like Huffington Post and others that have done more to harm the field. That said, original reporting is time consuming and this hampers the possibility of bloggers doing it. But as I’ve said above, original reporting need not necessarily be in depth or investigative to be of use. In many cases its merely a matter of picking up the phone and shooting off some emails.

  13. Jeffrey - November 29, 2011

    I am relativly new to the online comumnity but I am very thrilled to be a part of it. Everyones knowlege and comments have given me stronger insite to brewing and sampeling as well as enjoying blogs like this one. Thanks Tom!

  14. lori - November 29, 2011

    Wow. This is a thought-provoking list. A littlle depressing, a little inspiring…

  15. Mia Malm - November 29, 2011

    Great post, Tom, and congratulations!

  16. Blake Gray - November 29, 2011

    Tom: But let’s be real; as a professional journalist and wine writer, I know who to call, and maybe they’ll take my call, and I STILL think it’s a pain to do reporting for a blog post. When I try, I often get, “What is this for?” And I have had plenty of wine companies — and Nielsen, among others — say that if it’s for my blog, not one of the newspapers or magazines that I write for, that they just don’t have somebody available to speak with me.
    And like I said, I’m not exactly unknown. I feel sorry for bloggers who are.

  17. Tom Wark - November 29, 2011

    Blake…I hear you. And for the record, you can call me about any of my clients and I’ll respond, even if it is for your blog.
    That said, bloggers SHOULD make this effort your describe, even if they do get the backhand from some. The payoff would be valuable, if occasionally futile.

  18. Ron Saikowski - WINE WALK Columnist - November 29, 2011

    One of these days I hope to break into the blogsphere. I was 54 when I broke into wine journalism. After seven years I have evolved, but you are awesome with 6.5 wine articles per week. I only do two articles per week. Perhaps during Christmas when I can take off from my day job acting as a consulting engineer that I can learn to blog and Tweet. Keep up the awesome work! Happy seventh anniversary on your blogging! Wouldn’t call it a Birthday, perhaps a Blogsday?

  19. cono_sur - November 30, 2011

    Good read. I am approaching Year One. I can only wonder what I will be doing 6 years from now.

  20. Jeff - November 30, 2011

    Happy blog birthday to the Elder Statesman and as I’ve oft cited, you were one of the key inspirations for me starting my blog.
    This is a great list — full of insight that resonates with me (affirmative on #13 & 14 ). I could write a lot on these gems, but re: 15. I’ve found that the barrier to this is: 14. Nobody is getting paid much in dollars, but wine bloggers are 1%’ers in ego.

  21. - December 12, 2011

    …………..”the line between intimacy and exposure is not a bright one”. Very wise and true words. Thanks for opening up about what the blog has done for you, and you for it.

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