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Wine Awards, Categories Without Contestants and the Birth of the Wine Blog Atlas

Tom Wark has just posted the results of the first ever American Wine Blog Awards. Here at Catavino, we would love to extend our congratulations to all winners and nominees and hope that this is just the first step towards making wine blogging a bit more recognized if not prestigous in the wine world as a whole.

Wine blogging has come a long ways since we started here at Catavino. In fact, if you go to Alawine, you can do a specialized search on over 300+ wine blogs. Pretty impressive if you ask me! I, personally, subscribe to about approximately two dozen wine blogs along with a few food blogs thrown in for good measure.

Though it wasn’t until today, while browsing the Award winners at Fermentation, that I realized something fundamental about these particular wine blogs. The very first result in Tom’s list is for the Best Single Subject wine blog, a category that I thought we might have been nominated for. Although we weren’t, the nominations included some great blogs, one of my favorites being, LENNDEVOURS (congrats again on the new wine geek!). While the winner turned out to be The Wine Collector Blog, a blog about people who buy wine both at retail and auction and tips surrounding the “professional” buyer. Nice enough site, and from what I can tell, worthy of the prize.

However, after reviewing the winner of the single subject site, I began thinking about what this all means. Yes, technically, this is a single subject site, but I don’t feel it is a single subject wine site. Looking at the site, it offers advice on how to buy any wine, any where, and about the market as a whole. Now, I’m not whining about the fact that this site won, but rather thinking about the idea of single subject wine blogs, or rather, single region wine blogs. Catavino is about Iberian wine. Sure, we sometimes wander further abroad, but for the most part, we are about Iberian wine and the culture and history surrounding it. Likewise, LENNDEVOURS is about New York / East Coast wines focusing on that region and its products, while Appellation Australia is about Austrailia from within Australia. The question being, what other wine blogs out there have a focus on one specific region or area? Oh, and I’m not talking about things like Appellation American, a great resource but a bit too broad. I know there are a few other single resource wine blogs out there, but I prefer to let them chime in below in the comments area.

Isn’t blogging supposed to be about the LongTail? The idea that in the new Web 2.0 market place is where people can focus on small and smaller niches, allowing consumers to seek out only that which they are interested in with people with like interests and stories? Tim over at Winecast.net has been talking about “Wine 2.0” for awhile now, trying to figure out a way to better engage the consumer. Also the recent demise of WineX magazine got me to thinking about wine rags in general and their at times feeble attempts to cover all there is to know in the world of wine. Isn’t the internet supposed to fix this?

So my question is this, why are people still starting up new wine blogs with a focus on “wine” in general and not blogs on a specific type/region/style of wine? I find myself lately reading wine blogs that all talk about wine in general, most often regurgitating the stuff that other bloggers have already said about this issue or that. How many more “How to find a value wine under 10 bucks” articles do we need? Or tasting notes from people who state “This is the first time I’ve tried this type of wine”. No wonder that out of 300+ wine blogs, I only subscribe to 18. Now imagine this. Imagine a wine blog-o-sphere with 300+ Catavinos, Appellation Australias and LENNDEVOURS? I’m sure there are others like us, and I encourage you all to list yourselves in the comments section below. If the wine blog-o-sphere was more focused like this, the web would truly become a great research ground for us wine lovers. Imagine having a person on the ground in every region that you are interested in, getting to know the local flavors, histories and foods. Starting with countries, we could have a France wine blog, Italian wine blog, Chinese wine blog (Torres has vineyards there) and on and on. Then, we could break it down into smaller regions. Bordeaux wine blog, Jumilla wine blog, Malpicas wine blog and on and on. When I wanted to find out something about a wine from some unheard of South African wine region, I could go to SouthAfricaWineblog.com and have a chance to read or ask about the wine/region/style in question. The long tail of wine blogging would become a rich tapestry of first hand knowledge.

This is what I propose, I just registered www.WineBlogAtlas.com. On this page(with time), I will place a map. On this map, you may place a pin if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You have a blog and have been blogging for over 6 months on a regular basis.
  2. Your content is at least 75% about the wines produced within the geographic region where you live. Due to size and the overabundance of American bloggers, this is the one place I will put the rule, “pick a State”. California blogs are fine, though American wine blogs are too broad. Not to mention I would love to see a Minnesota wine blog!

Now, I’m sure I will have to expand and reword these requirements to make this a more solid group of sites. I think it is high time that people have a resource to go to find out first hand information on the wines and foods of the world. Let’s move away from one person trying to cover the world of wine. I’m in Iberia, and I know I’m failing just trying to cover the wines made outside of my pueblo. Wine is too broad a topic to be a master of everything. Instead, let’s reward the people who take the time to learn one subject and learn it well.

Anyone out there with me? Any thoughts? Any sites that want to get on our list?

Let’s stir it up a little.

Ryan Opaz

Our possible Manifesto:
No one can know all there is to know about wine! – Jack of all trades, master of noneDrink wines from all regions but Master just One

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