Henry George and Diversity at the Wine Blogging Conference
I face-timed with my son last night while he was eating dinner 3,000 miles away. On his plate was cheese, apple sauce, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, some sort of a boiled grain that his daddy never fixes for him, and some strange sort of protein that was unidentifiable. Additionally, he had a sippy cup of milk.
It was pretty diverse diet.
What would be clear to any winery employee, editor, marketer, importer, publicist or other member of the wine world were they with me at the Wine Bloggers Conference in New York’s Finger Lakes District is that in this building analogy, they are my son Henry George and the bloggers are the food on his plate.
The wine blogging community is a remarkably diverse group today. And I’m not talking about there being boys and girls or people of various shades. I’m talking about perspective and voice—the kind of diversity that is truly important in the wine blogging world (and the traditional media word, for that matter)
At a Conference session I moderated at highlighting five of the seven winners of this year’s Wine Blog Awards, we had the following individuals speaking:
• A trained scientist with an in-depth knowledge of ants and bees
• A serious and accomplished writer and journalist with numerous awards under their belt
• An opinionated and empathetic alcoholic with a knack for sarcasm
• A singing stay-at-home dad and former Marine with a penchant for video production
• A full-time, California marketing professional who is more filmmaker than blogger
(Three boys and two girls, for the record)
As I stood back and listened to their stories, realized that for the wine blogging community to be successful and for it to be an asset to the wine industry, it must be first and foremost offer a diversity of experiences and points of view. The racial and gender makeup of the blogging community is far less important.
Knowing that I’m a older, white guy, it perhaps won’t come as a surprise to some that I have this perspective. Others may be surprised. Yet others will probably think I’ve late to the party with this perspective.
In any case, what those who wonder if they ought to engage with the wine blogging community should know is that there is a blogger out there (probably many) who can relate to you and what you do and why you do it because they have a unique perspective that isn’t governed by their sex or gender, but rather by their experience.
Henry George has become a pretty good eater probably because we’ve put a diversity of foods on his plate in his short 15 months. It turns out he also likes wine, beer and cider, but hasn’t really wrapped his palate around bourbon. I’ll start to be concerned when Henry George only wants to eat one kind of food. The wine blogging community as well as the wine industry should become concerned when the idea of diversity in wine blogging is focused on the narrow issue of gender and race, rather than on diversity of experience.