Wine blogging has become, for many of us, a central part of our lives. Each week, we try to post interesting information that goes beyond a simple tasting note, delving into a unique idea, history or current news tidbit. Being by default, a little inbred at its core, we find ourselves sharing ideas, reposting information, and commenting about what everyone else has already commented on someplace else. We cannibalize the Decanter news feed, and at times, each other too. Over the past 3 years, we’ve grown considerably from when we had only a few lone voices to today, where we have people commenting from around the globe. We even have our own wine event(and website), thanks to Lenn of LENNDEVOURS. Life has gotten pretty cozy especially when we see some of us getting mentions in newspapers and magazines. Some of us are even feeling that we might actually be making a difference in the wine world as a whole.
But are we?
I want to ask a couple of questions. First off, Gary Vaynerchuck is a person I’ve come to respect greatly and doing something completely different. He’s reaching the non-mainstream wine geek. From his site, you can see a wide range of listeners, both newbies to wine and people firmly entrenched in the middle of the wine world. He’s become so influential that I’ve actually heard of his reviews effecting wine sales.
Grape Radio with its money, slick studio and celebrity interviews, seems to have attracted another group of listeners, neither of which are all “geeks” or in the biz. They seemed to have hit on something influential and are doing it right. Although, because they never rate or recommend specific wines, I’m curious if the wine industry will ever listen?
Tom Wark claims 20,000 thirsty eyeballs are listening to him, but if we consider the focus of his articles, I wonder if the majority of those eyeballs wouldn’t be found in the sockets of someone in the wine industry, not necessarily an average wine drinker. Tom, what have your surveys told you?
I assume that you, Alder, have more readers coming from a wider audience base. Do you feel like your “changing the wine world”? Are non-wine geeks paying attention?
Andy from Spittoon, are you seeing your projects draw in new faces? How’s Britain’s take on wine blogging?
Although we have gained significant ground over the past few years, what I’m not hearing is whether wine blogs are directly effecting sales, stirring controversy(outside the web), or bringing more wine drinkers to the table. Animal labels and better quality 10$ wines are making a difference in sales, but are we as wine bloggers? It seems to me that mainstream wine media still looks at us as a bunch of amateurs, not worth worrying about. Is there a way to make a bigger impact? Can we create a more powerful voice?
I don’t know. The one area I directly see our impact is in Google search results. We are starting to take over and control an incredibly powerful search engine, when the search is wine related. By posting everyday, we build content influencing search results for common wine terms to lead people directly back to us. That’s pretty cool in my opinion. I know every time we write about another obscure and unknown Spanish or Portuguese winery, Catavino shows on the 1st page of search results.
Unfortunately, explaining what a wine blogger is to both Spaniards and Portuguese is really difficult. Everyday, I’m having to explain what I am, what I do, and why it matters. Slowly it’s starting to sink in, but it’s a slow process. So rather than sit on our hind legs and do nothing, I’ve decided to change this, but I need your help.
Let’s start a Google Bomb! I just created www.WineBlogger.info where I plan to host one page, keeping it simple. The page contains a definition of a wine blogger created by both Gabriella and I, but now we need your help.
First, in the comments below, let us know what needs to be added/removed from the definition. All ideas will be considered. Then, in a week or two, we’ll put up a list of definitions for everyone to choose from. The winner will be placed on the site for all of us to ogle. After that, I need everyone to start linking to the site with the anchor text “wine blogger”. I will not host ads on the site, only adding pages as the definition is translated into as many languages as possible. Below the definition, I will start a list of every wine blogger who sends us a link. If we can make WineBlogger.info number one in Google then all the links will gain a little juice, I hope.
We’ve also created a logo and a shirt available in our CafePress store to help with hosting costs. I ask that anyone else with a logo they want to add to offer it up. Also let us know what you think of the one we created.
You can join our Facebook group to talk about wine blogging in general, bring up issues or offer some new ideas. Maybe this facebook thing is not so bad afterall?
I’m not sure this will do much, but I hope that at the very least it can provide a basis for how we define ourselves, whether we need it or not. Plus, I have to say that it’s been great being a part of the wine blogging community. The hardest and most regrettable part is that as we grow, it becomes more difficult to read everyone’s content. I only hope that I begin to see more “offlines” spring up and with time more of us no longer remain face to face strangers.(jealous I was not at Family Winemakers! sounds like it was fun)
Can’t wait to hear what you think!
BTW I’ve only added a random selection of wine blogs to the site. Please be patient, I’ll get a few more up soon, and accept requests as well. I think my list or active bloggers is in the 30’s though I know there are a LOT more….thanks