Wondering About Wine Bloggers and the Wine Bloggers Conference

On the eve of the 11th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, I wonder..

-If I’ll discover any alternative to using social media and email to drive readers to a blog that is both effective not a time suck?

-If we will ever see a wine blogger commit to posting multiple original, compelling articles a day (5?) in an attempt to rise quickly to the top of the pack? It’s something I know will work, yet perhaps no one has the time or imagination

-Whether the same kind of blogger camaraderie will be exhibited among the attendees in Walla Walla that existed at the earlier Wine Blogger Conferences.

-Why there is still no semi-comprehensive, daily curation of wine blog posts. Terroirist and Dwight Furrow at Edible Arts make nice attempts, but still, there is nothing semi-comprehensive.

-Will Lew Perdue, in his Keynote Speech, deliver doses of tough love or go for the warm embrace?

-Why I still have hope that more bloggers will take up the cause of consumer rights and post much more about the various regulatory and legal obstacles that prevent wine lovers from fully engaging in wine and hinder the development of the American wine industry. Hope is there, but it’s waning.

-If the Wine Valley Golf Club in Walla Wall is every bit as amazing as the reviews and write-ups say it is. I’ll be able to report on this Thursday evening.

-Who I will discover at the Conference that checks off all the boxes for wine blogging greatness including, curiosity, great writing style, breadth of knowledge, commitment to the form and stamina.

-If there will be any talk at all at the Conference of the upcoming Supreme Court case that will determine if American wine consumers in most states will have access to nearly every wine available for sale in the United States.

-To what extent national politics will find its way into the discussions at the Wine Bloggers Conference and whether or not, if it does, if the conversations are germane to the issue of wine and wine writing.

This marks my 9th Wine Bloggers Conference and second visit to Walla Walla in that context. I’m excited to still be connected to this community after publishing FERMENTATION for nearly 14 years and to still be involved in the development of this conference. It is more than anything else an excellent source of inspiration for all who attend.

Posted In: Wine Blogs


7 Responses

  1. Gregg Tilston - October 3, 2018

    Hey Tom, having spent many of my previous years in the social/content space (granted travel and on the brand side) I will keep a keen eye on what you find. Still being on the brand side (but now retail and wine) you bring up three key points that I’m gnawing on; content consistency, social amplification, and (stating the obvious) national legislation.

  2. Elizabeth Schneider - October 3, 2018


    That is a tall order. I only attended once and I found it didn’t check the boxes I had hoped (mine are slightly different from yours, of course) but I hope you find some cool stuff happening in the space. Walla Walla is so awesome though, it almost doesn’t matter!

    If it doesn’t suit all your needs, look forward to our lively discussion on the show about the Supreme Court case, state cases, and your efforts to bring this system DOWN. The Wine For Normal People community is ready for you! Lots of people ready to write those letters over here. So happy that you are fighting the good fight for us all.


  3. Tom Wark - October 3, 2018


    You know I can’t wait to talk to you and your folks.

    I always find something inspirational at the Bloggers Conference. I expect I will this year too.


  4. Bob Silver - October 3, 2018

    Taking it in order:

    1. Doubtful – see the words ‘time suck.’
    2. Likely impossible w/out compensation – I managed newspaper columnists for 15 years and it was a struggle for many of them to do 2-3 columns per week. Wine bloggers have a more limited environment and most don’t get paid. A labor of love only goes so far.
    3. Usually happens during the after-parties, right?
    4. Beats me – see ‘time suck.’
    5. I’m betting on tough love from the former journalist.
    6. Fermentation kinda sets the bar here.
    7. Wine Valley GC is dazzling – buckle up for multiple 3 putts, brother.
    8. Damn, that’s a tough punch list.
    9. See No. 6, above
    10. Of course national politics will find its way into the discussion, particularly in the after parties. I’ll be curious to see if any fist fights result from those conversations in cabernet-red eastern WA.

  5. Helene - October 4, 2018

    Dear Tom,

    As a non-American living and working in the EU (as it is at present!) I find your blogger-items interesting, pertinent and pithy. What’s wrong with that?

    I don’t really follow European (or even British) blogs because with one notable exception they are dull, boring and often not very well-written. And many require too much time to follow assiduously.

    Guess I’ll stick to lecturing and other parts of my portfolio career…

    Keep up the good work on yours, and thank you.

  6. Timothy McDonald - October 4, 2018

    Tom, Leave it to you to wonder. Only you can eloquently point out the 400 pound gorilla in the room. Look in the mirror folks. And if you can teach it to swim the backstroke…you have something. A Very tall order indeed. Scores still matter, Awards/Accolades that are well written still matter and Features still matter. I attended the first few conferences, and I remain curious about whether I will discover anything new. I am hopeful. You are at the Top of the pack with respect to covering more about the business of wine. You are a big picture blogger. The simple fact that # of eyeballs has to be meaningful, and help readers to pick good wines. All the digital writers have to figure out how to matter to the wine business when there is a limited amount of sources for scores and accolades on a brand. After a decade of watching the blogging trend, everyone who engages in blogging has to learn how to get their copy on a producer’s web pages because it is content rich. They also have to get brands to reproduce a score for shelf POS. They have to be an important sales tool in the selling of wine in retail. Aggregating content is a very key strategy to keep in mind to be successful. The importance of content remains #1. The wine blogs that matter are a small group (like the magazines & Newsletters) and this has to grow or it all goes away quietly. I applaud you and your efforts and many others who see the large picture. Good luck to all trying to make a difference. Cheers!

  7. Jeff Lefevere - October 6, 2018

    Bring a couple of extra cigars. You’re likely to be disappointed …

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