Get Yer Vote On! (2016 Wine Blog Awards Voting Is Now Open)

image: WineBlogAwards.org

Voting for the 2016 Wine Blog Awards is now open, so you need to get yer digital ass over to their website and cast your vote to help determine the winners.

Before you ask – no, I am not a finalist this year. I was a judge, and therefore requested that 1WD be recused from the awards (for all I know, 1WD wasn’t even nominated, so maybe that was an easy task for the organizers!).

On the negative side, I had to trudge through and eliminate a lot of (I’m being kind here) amateurish writing during the judging process. That is, however, to be expected; blogs are, at their heart of hearts, online journals open to anyone, not just those who write well. So I was unpleasantly not surprised by the volume of writing and media production that wasn’t (again, being kind) award-worthy material.

On the positive side, however, is that the writing that I did put forward from the nominees as potential finalists was, at turns, excellent; well-reasoned, deep, poignant, funny, useful, well-executed, and sporting personality. In other words, exactly what excellent blogging on any topic ought to be.

Those of you who have been following along with this WBA stuff for the last several years will see quite a lot of new faces among the list of finalists. Personally, that is the single most gratifying thing for me; seeing all of those “new” websites in the finalist lists, and realizing that I know so few of them (a situation that I will be changing with all speed).

When I won a WBA back in 2010, told the audience that I didn’t really want to win another one, because I sincerely hoped that the wine blogging community was more dynamic than that. Turns out, it really is much more dynamic than that. That’s heartwarming in a holy-crap-I’m-like-a-Wine-Blog-granddad kind of way.

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Get Yer Vote On! (2016 Wine Blog Awards Voting Is Now Open) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Recharging My Batteries

A recent wait staff training at Ruth's Chris in San Francisco gave my batteries a needed recharge. It reminded me who the critics are that I should be concerned about as a winemaker - the people that drink them.

The wait staff loved my wines and they rekindled my love for them too. They tasted alive and fresh and were just what I hoped they would be.

Last weekend brought another recharge as I presented my upcoming 2013 vintage Napa Valley releases to our distributor in southern California. They loved them for their balance and refinement. That’s what I love them for too.

It’s not that wine criticism has no place, the issue is that some critics actually love a style of wines that most normal wine drinkers don’t prefer. Sugary, bloated and alcoholic should describe neither wines or critics.

My continued support and enthusiasm for wine commentary on wine blogs is that it comes from real people drinking real wine the way it is actually consumed in the real world. The average consumer is far more likely to get wines that match words on a wine blog than from a critic tasting hundreds of wines, in a matter of hours, on their own. That's like saying you have a better idea of what a tiger is all about by seeing one in a zoo rather than in the wild. It's odd that an activity that is pointless generates almost all the point ratings given to wines.

Winemakers have to try to remember that wine is about not about critics. It’s about people enjoying food and each other.

Hopefully we are on the edge of a pointless era for wine as it's time that the point of wine is not points. Points are for games.

Recharging My Batteries

A recent wait staff training at Ruth's Chris in San Francisco gave my batteries a needed recharge. It reminded me who the critics are that I should be concerned about as a winemaker - the people that drink them.

The wait staff loved my wines and they rekindled my love for them too. They tasted alive and fresh and were just what I hoped they would be.

Last weekend brought another recharge as I presented my upcoming 2013 vintage Napa Valley releases to our distributor in southern California. They loved them for their balance and refinement. That’s what I love them for too.

It’s not that wine criticism has no place, the issue is that some critics actually love a style of wines that most normal wine drinkers don’t prefer. Sugary, bloated and alcoholic should describe neither wines or critics.

My continued support and enthusiasm for wine commentary on wine blogs is that it comes from real people drinking real wine the way it is actually consumed in the real world. The average consumer is far more likely to get wines that match words on a wine blog than from a critic tasting hundreds of wines, in a matter of hours, on their own. That's like saying you have a better idea of what a tiger is all about by seeing one in a zoo rather than in the wild. It's odd that an activity that is pointless generates almost all the point ratings given to wines.

Winemakers have to try to remember that wine is about not about critics. It’s about people enjoying food and each other.

Hopefully we are on the edge of a pointless era for wine as it's time that the point of wine is not points. Points are for games.

Wine Blogging Is Dead! Again! Long Live Wine Blogging!

Tom Wark recently asked me to chime in for an article he was considering for his blog, on the topic of whether or not interest in wine blogs was waning. I offered my views, some of which are quoted in his thoughtfully-considered piece.

Alive, though maybe not totally well (image: Grape Collective)

As to whether or not I agree with Tom that wine blogging has “died without a funeral,” I think we first have to ask ourselves if wine blogging is inherently different from other niche blogging topics. If we accept that it isn’t (in the same way that, say, DVRs aren’t inherently different from one another – they all basically do the same thing at the core, which is record broadcast video media), then Tom is also asking if niche blogging is dead.

To which I would say, No, it’s not dead.

This is the kind of question that gets posed periodically (go ahead, search it) when we see dynamic informal institutions, like online communities, do what they do, which is change (wait, you really expected this stuff to stay static forever? duuuuuude…. wtf?!??).

We shouldn’t mistake community maturation and the movement of engagement discussions from blog comments to Facebook, Instagram, etc., as a lack of interest in the sharing amateur content about wine (which is what blogs inherently are about – sharing info and opinions). Just because one outlet (longer form blog posts) isn’t as popular as another (image-centric, short updates on larger social media platforms) doesn’t mean that people no longer care about the core thing: sharing wine online.

They do care. A lot. There is no lack of interest in sharing content about wine (to wit: see just about any recent stat from Vintank on online wine mentions). And where that content is being shared, influence and money (in terms of what people who read and participate in those updates and discussion will buy) will often follow (though, maddeningly, in ways that are difficult to track, but that’s not the fault of the platforms themselves).

Anyway, if wine blogging is actually dead, then someone forgot to send that memo to Grape Collective, you also recently quoted me in dear-gawd-TMI-bro! fashion when they interviewed me for their “SpeakEasy interview series with influential bloggers.”

I’m not dead yet! I think I’ll go for a walk!

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2015. Originally at Wine Blogging Is Dead! Again! Long Live Wine Blogging! from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

OK, Everyone, Remain Calm And Have Another Sip (Wine Website Ranking Madness)

OK, Everyone, Remain Calm And Have Another Sip (Wine Website Ranking Madness)

image: ExcelWines.co.uk

Ok, everyone… calm down.

Pour another glass of something nice.

Have a sip. Relaaaaax.

Feeel zeee tension leeeaaaving your body…

Every once in a while, we get a roundup/list/ranking of wine websites, and then oscillate between being happy for some of the sites on the list, and getting bent out of shape about the ones that aren’t on it (or taking issue with the reasons/methodology/stats behind the construction of said list).

The latest is an attempt at measuring and ranking wine blog influence by a Scottish wine purveyor, Excel Wines.

For me, it’s great to see so many passionate people’s excellent wine-centric websites included. Other than the additional bit of exposure that it brings to those websites, and the potential for discovering some new (to you) and interesting (to you) wine blogs listed therein, I think that the following popular Internet meme/graphic accurately sums up how much of a f*ck most of you ought to be giving these lists in general:

OK, Everyone, Remain Calm And Have Another Sip (Wine Website Ranking Madness)

The fine art of not giving a f*ck

Now, if I were a wine PR-type person, I’d be writing Excel Wines with all haste, and thanking them for doing part of my job for me (in making a current snapshot of the potential reach of some of the major English-language wine blogs out there… just sayin’).

But I’m not a wine PR-type person, and I’ll just be thankful that I was included and leave it at that. I don’t actually understand all of the criteria used to formulate the latest list, but it at least looks as though some time and effort went into it. Ok, so I’m not actually leaving it at that… get over it!

Folks, before you allow any such lists to get under your skin (positively or negatively), please realize that these lists/rankings/etc. are not going anywhere. That’s because lists in general are not going anywhere. The Internet loves lists because people love lists; in fact, there’s compelling evidence suggesting that we are hard-wired to love them.

Bear in mind also that popularity-based lists tell us about potential reach/exposure, but do not tell us about audience engagement. One size doesn’t fit all, particularly for a niche topic like wine. If as a consumer you want to find your next favorite wine blog, or as someone in the biz want to identify the best wine blogs to which you should pitch your wine, these lists are a nice starting point, but are not a shortcut to actually doing the homework and taking a detailed look at the actual sites on the list. Sorry, there are no shortcuts for that.

So, let us not sow our fields with fvcks, but instead treat these lists as a nice bit of recognition for the hard work being done by some talented tasters, writers, and community builders.

To them I say: Congratulations! Now, go make us all proud to have supported you, and continue to make us give a fvck!

Cheers!

Grab The 1WineDude.com Tasting Guide and start getting more out of every glass of wine today!

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Copyright © 2015. Originally at OK, Everyone, Remain Calm And Have Another Sip (Wine Website Ranking Madness) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!