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Hey Wine Bloggers, Wanna Publish Something in Print?

Twitter has become the new wine chat room. What makes this so nice is that in Twitter we can link to whatever we want to, and no one complains about spam. Well maybe Gary V‘s random spurts of love (did I just say that?) do from time to time feel spammy, but that’s besides the point.

This past week, conversations and debates have raged on from what wine jargon do we like/dislike to whether or not we should publish a book/mag. While I found the debate on wine jargon to be useful and fun (give me your definition of “bramble), it’s the other debate that I really must address right now. In December, during the Winecast Unfiltered podcast, I asked if people knew about the online, and now offline, magazine JPG. The basic premise of JPG is that by users voting on favorite photos, the magazine JPG is populated with the newest and most interesting photos found on the web. Each month, there are 3 new one-word themes that people submit photos to. After the votes are casted, the winners are included in the next issue of the print magazine.

The best part of this is the simplicity, ease of use, and how it allows professionals and more often non-professionals to finally see themselves in print.

Working together I think we can apply this system to the Wine blogging world too. Personally, I’ve felt for quite some time that the reason wine blogs are not taken seriously is that they are not in print. There is something about the ability to hold an object in one’s hands that somehow makes it more real and lends it an air of importance. I recently talked with Tim of Winecast.net, where we both agreed that the process to make this magazine would neither be simple nor fast, but if chip away at it little by little, it could be done.

So here are some ideas/thoughts/considerations – Please leave in the comments your ideas, thoughts and suggestions.

First the Goals

  • To develop an creme de la creme wine blogging community/site with strict requirements to have content accepted for publication.
  • To publish within the year a “Journal(s)” compiled from original content based on a per issue theme, available for purchase through online, and possibly, offline retail channels
  • To raise the overall profile of wine bloggers in the non web based wine geek world

Here’s what I see as the first steps to creating this.

  1. Find a name – I suggested to Tim to use the Wineblogger.info domain, but I think Tim was right this needs to be a unique item that will only showcase the best of the best, and therefore needs its own identity. We need a name that will be used only for this project. I know Tim registered “Vinomag”, though I think we need more suggestions.
  2. Build a site – First things first, before we start producing content in print, I think we need a site to develop the idea and to run some online trial themes. I think before we produce any kind of print product, we should use the wonderful world of web 2.0 to our advantage.
  3. Form a Editorial Board – This idea is thanks to DrDebs, and basically means that we need to have a Editorial Board that rotates members at some predefined interval. To start, this board would draft the entry requirements/methods, and after we start publishing, they would have the final say on what is printed and what is not printed. Since our goal is to raise awareness of wine blogs as a whole, we need to make sure the level of writing is at the highest level possible.

I hope that this site/project will be something that everyone can contribute to. My thoughts are that current board members will be required to participate in the monthly/quarterly/otherwise theme. At the same time, someone who is new to blogging can have the opportunity to submit articles to the themes with the chance of being selected for the final publication. The only requirement I do feel is important is that bloggers who contribute will have to have had at least 1+ years of blogging under their belt and be posting on a regular schedule. This will help narrow the field down to those who are serious. After that, it will come down to quality of writing.

At this point, this is a very rough sketch, as promised in the past weeks twitter chat. I hope that we can develop this idea and mold it into something that everyone can agree to and that will help wine blogs to achieve a higher level of recognition.

Thoughts, questions, criticisms…have at it…Tim anything to add?

Ryan Opaz

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