Thoughts After A Decade of Wine Blogging

kathytom Over the last ten years this wine blog has published 2,873 posts. This equates to 1.1 posts per week day since November 2004. So, I can say, at the very least, that I’ve achieved the “Daily” part of this blog’s name: FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog.

I can’t say for sure what else I have accomplished. I never set a goal for this blog at the outset or since. I only wanted to say things about wine, culture, politics and the business. I set a fairly low bar. ferm1

One thing that is interesting to note is that since its founding, this blog has reached 2.7 million unique devices (surely not that may “people” since we all use multiple devices these days to access our media). That’s something.

ferm2The number of postings has dropped off since May 21 when Henry George entered the world. I used to get up early in the morning to think and write. Now I get up early in the morning to feed and play with Henry, who, by the way, turned six months old today. My new morning henryroutine is far more pleasurable than the old one.

A decades worth of blogging at Fermentation seems like as good as time as any to stop. And it’s something I’m thinking about. In addition to this blog, I also am publishing The Cider Journal as well as “SWIG: Sober Advice From Wine Publicists” along with my colleague and friend Julie Ann Kodmur. And of course on top of this there are The National Association of Wine Retailers, the American Wine Consumer Coalition, Wark Communications’ clients and, most important, my family.

swigIt’s tempting to use this 10th Anniversary post to make a list of all the things I’ve learned about wine blogging or pontificate on how blogging and the wine media has changed in ten years or list my favorite posts or something else that marks the time. But that would take far too much time and far too much effort than what it would offer readers.

Instead, I simply want to say “Thank You” to those who have read this blog in the Tompast, to those who read it now and to those who have continued to encourage me. To this day, I still feel an adrenalin rush when I notice a new comment on this blog or look at my readership statistics and know from this that what I wrote has been read.

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that a good-sized chunk of my self-identity is tied up in this blog. It has been a slow and consistent build up the way FERMENTATION has taken over a larger and larger part of the answer to the question, “who am I?” You don’t see it happening. You don’t see it happening but it does. And if no blog posts ever appears after this one, rest assured I will in the process of dealing with a part of me being sliced off. I don’t know if I can do that.

It would be something if in another ten years I was writing a similar post as this. I’m not sure what. But something to note for sure.

Posted In: Personal, Wine Blogs


21 Responses

  1. Bill Mciver - November 20, 2014

    Tom, you have left and indelible mark on the wine world. Enjoying life with Henry George will be the best years of your life. Bill

  2. Tom Wark - November 20, 2014

    You are kind, Bill. When I look back, you are partly to blame for all this—-the blogging, not Henry.

  3. Douglas Hillstrom - November 20, 2014

    I always look forward to your missives. In a blogosphere full of pap and self-promoters, your thoughtful and opinionated posts stand out. Thank you.

  4. Ed Thralls - November 20, 2014


    Yours was one of the first wine blogs I discovered and was honored to grace one of your posts. Since then we have met on many occasions to think, drink, discuss golf (still need to do that!) etc. Congrats on a great read and for stirring it up a bit when necessary.


  5. Rusty Eddy - November 20, 2014

    Your reasoned and pragmatic posts will be missed, Tom. Time to start drinking cider.

  6. Jeff Lefevere - November 20, 2014


    ‘The Godfather.’ Your contributions to wine blogging are immeasurable. For many, as Ed noted, you were one of the first bloggers we were exposed to. You and Alder deserve a great deal of credit for fostering a friendly environment and inspiration for others to give it a go. If the measure of a man isn’t what he has accomplished, but who he has inspired, you’re living in grace.

    This, to say nothing of the contributions you have made in supporting what is now significantly relaxed wine shipping laws over the last decade. Your contributions here deserve a Wikipedia entry, if not a plaque in a to-be-built wing at the California Wine Museum.

    From a readers perspective, it has been a treat to pay witness to the subtle machinations of your life — fightin’ the good fight for wine shipping, the dissolution of your prior relationship, moving to Napa, quitting smoking, getting hitched and the birth of Henry. As the late Robin Williams said in Goodwill Hunting, “That’s the good stuff.” A man at peace is a man at rest.

    Cheers to many more years to come. On your schedule, when you have something to say, not because the hungry maw of the content beast needs to be fed.

  7. Tom Wark - November 20, 2014

    Rusty….The blog isn’t required just yet. Just contemplating. Thanks, much.

  8. Alfonso Cevola (@italianwineguy) - November 21, 2014

    10 years does seem like a long time in blogging terms. I reckon that makes you one of the silver-backs of the eno-blogosphere. I’m right behind you and feel (and understand) all you said on this post. Congratulations on reaching this milestone. That’s a lot of free “virtual” ink.
    Happy trails…

    -the Consigliere

  9. Ron Washam, HMW - November 21, 2014

    Whether you want it or not, I give you a lot of credit for “discovering” the HoseMaster of Wine, and spreading the word about my stupid blog. I’m sure many other bloggers (or, wait, my mistake, other Wine Writers) would say the same thing. Thank you for that.

    It feels good to threaten to quit. Hell, I do it once a year or so. People show up to say kind things about you, tell you you’ll be missed, all that honest and gratifying stuff. And then we go on. You have the writing disease, my friend, and it won’t be easy for you to walk away from all that you’ve built here. Trust me, I know. But if you do somehow manage to walk away, at least you can walk away knowing you left something important behind. Probably your car keys.

    I always think it’s best to leave the party too soon rather than too late. Leave them wanting more. For me, it’s way too late for that. But from Sermontation we want more. There must be great satisfaction in that.

  10. Thomas Pellechia - November 21, 2014

    Just as I make ready to say kind things and tell you that you will be missed, Hosemaster ruins it by exposing what I was about to do.

    Anyway, if you go away, Tom, it will mean the disappearance not necessarily of reason but certainly of reasonableness. Your ability to engage in debate without reducing the conversation the way so many online conversations wind up going has been a treat for a guy like me who loves to debate. Hell, you may have even been correct once or twice. 😉

    If you stop Fermentation, I will lose one big avenue for procrastination and probably will have to go to work sooner each morning.

    I also love that to comment I have to practice my math.

  11. Alder - November 21, 2014

    Happy Blogbirthday.

  12. Alison Crowe - November 21, 2014

    Tom, you do what viticulturists can only dream of:

    Simultaneously produce prodigious quantity as well as astounding quality.

    I’ve been enjoying SWIG and will keep watching what you and Julie Ann get up to, not to mention Prince Henry!

    Bonne Anniversaire!

  13. David Vergari - November 21, 2014

    Say it ain’t so, Tom!!! Are you really ending the Fermentation blog in order to prepare for the Nationwide Tour?

  14. Tom Wark - November 21, 2014


    I’m considering focusing on other things. We’ll see if I can do it. And it would be the Senior Tour for me. However, I did join the Golf Channel Amateur Tour…First Tournament this Sunday. Thanks!

  15. Ben Sessions - November 21, 2014

    Golf, Henry, your lovely wife and cider. well played my friend.

  16. Jim Caudill - November 21, 2014

    Your priorities are changing in the right direction, and there’s a certain satisfaction in going out at the top of your game. This blog redefined you, or certainly sharpened what we knew about you, and all for the good.

  17. tom merle - November 21, 2014

    You write that your “blog is not required” It sure seems so to a lot of readers (yes I know it was probably a typo, but then you don’t make typos–consider the Freudian meaning if it were a typo…).

  18. Thoughts after a decade of wine blogging | The Kellett Digest - November 28, 2014

    […] Over the last ten years this wine blog has published 2,873 posts. This equates to 1.1 posts per week day since November 2004. So, I can say, at the very least, that I’ve achieved the “Daily” part of this blog’s name: FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog. At Tom Wark’s FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog […]

  19. Bart Vaughn - December 7, 2014

    If you are hanging it up your thoughts will be missed by this consumer!

  20. Bob Henry - December 12, 2014


    If you do retire your Fermentation wine blog, exit by publishing an anthology of what you consider to be your “greatest hits.”

    And update them as needed.


  21. Jeff Kralik - December 15, 2014

    Congratulations on a decade of posts–yours in one that I always (try to) read!

Leave a Reply