Are Wine Blogs Killing The Joy Of Drinking?

Vinted on January 8, 2013 binned in best of, commentary, wine blogging

Mashable.com – the über-popular purveys of tech and pop-culture news – recently ran an op-ed style screed by Sandra Garson bemoaning the phenomenon of everyday folks blogging their exploration of food, and in particular, their forays into cooking. In other words, Garson decries the proliferation of food blogs.

Here’s a snippet of Garson’s article, which I think best sums up her anti-food-blog stance:

“The Internet has made the most important kitchen tool no longer the knife, or the rolling pin, but the camera. If you can’t take stunning, high resolution photographs of your work, you don’t count as a cook. They are indeed stunning photographs: the luscious, carefully styled, pornographic kind. Those photos arouse you. They get your blood racing, your stomach pumping. You are excited and want closure, satisfaction… You want to eat that right now.

Bah, humbug. Those of us who can’t make a dish look so perfectly luscious are probably going to feel inadequate and pass on learning to cook… On full display is how hungry we are to be seductive and to be number one; how obsessed we are by excitement. Sadly, what’s harder to see or taste is the way to cook.”

Garson underscores her points that food blogs are 1) scaring people away from cooking, and b) are too commercialized and self-centered, by contrasting food bloggers (largely made up of consumers and everyday citizens) with… Julia Child.

Which is sort of like comparing the holiday soccer games I play with my friends to the World Cup. Or comparing wine blogs to Gerald Asher (you knew this was coming around to wine, right?).

And so in Mashable’s article we see a reflection of nearly every misapplied criticism that has been levied against wine blogging over the past five years, which we might summarize as “wine blogs are killing the joy of drinking!”…

Which is, to put it bluntly, bullshit.

These arguments against blogging of nearly any stripe – that blogs scare away consumers, confuse the critical landscape, are all in it for free crap and/or money, all suck and should shut down because they cannot produce Pulitzer-winning content, blah, blah, blah – nearly all smell the same and are all nearly equally indefensible.

Because they all miss the central point that BLOGS ARE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY AUTHORED BY PASSIONATE CONSUMERS. The people authoring 99% of those blogs arethe target market.

Blogs are scaring people away from food? Or wine? Or anything else? Here’s a bet: you show me five people who are scared off from trying wine or cooking because of blogs, and I’ll drink nothing but Crane Lake for a month.

As for the bar being “so damn low” for wine blogs, as Robert Parker recently put it, I’d refer you to an insightful comment left on DrVino.com by Todd Trzaskos:

“In denigrating bloggers, he [ Robert Parker ] denigrates the consumer bases that they speak to…”

I’d add that in denigrating amateur wine blogs, Parker (and whoever levies the same criticisms) also denigrates quite a few of that consumer base directly.

Look, if you killed off all food and wine blogs tomorrow, you’d almost certainly have half the number back within a month, because people want to share their experiences. You cannot stop them from doing that, from communicating around shared passions – food and wine aren’t exempt from that. In fact, just the opposite: they’re uniquely suited to it because they’re inherently social activities. It just happens to be easier to do that – to share passions – now than it has ever been in the history of humankind, hence the proliferation and the continued development (of blogs forming alliances and conferences, increasing the quality of the photography and writing for those who are serious about investing the time required to do so, etc.).

Proliferation and advancement of blogs are inevitable, and essential for the food and wine industry because it means that people are giving a shit about the food and wine industry. Those who would challenge that advancement – often to bolster their own authoritative, ivory-tower positions even at the expense of the larger wine and food industries as a whole – should, at this point, probably just get the hell out of the way.

Cheers!

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    Comments

  • Jason Phelps


    Joe,

    Spend some time in the food blogging world and you will find your passionate consumers, but you will also find the traffic chasing, food stylist obsessed, food elite who aren't passionate about food so much as they are about themselves. I agree that sending all food and beverage blog away would be a bad thing, but having played in the food blogging space for the better part of 2010, I was underwhelmed by what I experienced. It really did turn me off to food blogs. Way too superficial. It isn't about experiences being shared, it's about "me too" for people with time on their hands.

    Does this exist in wine blogging? Sure. Why wouldn't it? The wine world has the same types of peaks to be bagged as food does, and the same allure in trying to summit them. But why? Well, I think we live in a time where people believe their connection to their world should be something more than what their first person time allows, so they try to compress things into a blog, network the bejeezus out of it in an attempt to be more than they really are. Breaking things back down to enjoyment and sharing, the first person, real kind, I wonder how much of any of that people really have time to enjoy.

    I write a beverage blog, but I'm not sure why anymore. If I focus on what leisure activities I have time in my life for, those experiences involve a certain number of people and unless you were there what does my sharing it add? Networking within the group of wine bloggers does offer me the opportunity to schedule specific experiences so a few times a year I can take a "working" vacation and enjoy the company of other passionate people, but since I don't do this stuff for work I can't dedicate that much time to it or I'll be more virtual than real. I'm no less passionate about what I am doing day to day, I'm just not wasting a shit-ton of time sharing it with people who weren't there in real life where everything matters.

    It is possible that the backlash against blogs is that because there are enough bloggers concerned only about sharing their experiences rather than enjoying them, there are a lot of worthless channels out there. I;m not sure that advances any goal or supports any industry in a good way. If they went away leaving the the folks who are seriously pursuing a topic, we might look at the medium different. I'm grasping at that based on my own experiences, but it's the thought that occurred to me.

    • 1WineDude


      Jason – very interesting points you raise here.

      There are posers, and probably more posers in the much larger Food blog world than in the much smaller Wine blog world (though the percentages might actually be similar), by volume.

      But, I do think those who are NOT being posers, those who are just trying to join the conversation and community, far outnumber those.

      To me, it's like a big bell curve. On the left, a small number of beeeatch wannabes who over-reach and want free crap, etc. We are right to hold that small number to intense scrutiny.

      On the right, those who write or video or photograph well, whose work actually is fun to read and who lead in a way and who teach. Again, a small number – and we are right to hold them to higher standards (not to make this about me, but this is the company I aim to be in every time that I sit down to do pretty much anything; I probably fail more often than not, but I'm trying, and the point is that I wouldn't be trying if I didn't think that this part of the community really existed!).

      In the middle, passionate consumers – the majority. Some trend to the "dark side," others to the right (in trying to improve what they do and grow the community, etc.). We shouldn't vilify that majority, or tell them they are wrong for sharing, I think, because it's their sharing that make blogging powerful. No, they're not widely read, but that doesn't make their experiences less valid. So I'm hesitant to lump them in with the posers, and I think their sharing *is* very good for the industry as a whole.

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Joe,

    I'd argue that "sharing passions and experiences" does not necessarily have much to do with teaching and learning.

    In my view, the subject is not whether blogs kill the joy of drinking; the subject is: what is the purpose of blogging?

    Once that is determined the next step is to consider how to maintain that purpose within some set of standards.

    • 1WineDude


      Thomas – I agree, sort of.

      The purpose of blogging is sharing. Really, that's it.

      And there are no standards.

      It doesn't fit into a neat package. It probably never will, so long as passionate consumers constitute the majority of blogs. The *best* of them are a joy to read, I think, and do teach us something. But that doesn't make the rest of them somehow "invalid" any more than someone talking to a group of their friends about something that they like is invalid.

      It might be invalid to you and me, but maybe not to that group of five or six people, etc.

    • passionatefoodie


      Thomas & Joe,
      I would argue that "sharing passions & experiences" can be educational, just not necessarily like "book learning." For example, consider group therapy, where people share their experiences, helping each other learn that they are not alone, that others have shared the same experiences. That can be very therapeutic. New wine lovers can bond together over shared experiences, helping to minimize the intimidation factor of wine. They can share experiences about wine stores and restaurants, which others might learn from. Obviously, there will be some wine blogs of very limited, if any, educational value, but that can be said of any endeavor.

      I also do not believe there is a single purpose to blogging. There are many reasons and purposes for blogging, from a mere hobby to a more professional endeavor. I would say that the majority of wine blogs are done as a hobby, so they have no real need or desire for rules or standards. Blogging and the Internet have elevated our ability to engage in our hobbies, to share our passions far beyond our local reach. When young, you might have collected comic books or baseball cards but couldn't share that except with local friends and others. Or maybe you attended a local convention and got to meet a few people from outside the area. With the Internet, now you can reach people all over the world.

      As for those desirous of blogging as more of a professional endeavor, some standards might be helpful, but it would probably be impossible to get everyone to agree and accept on any such set. And even if they did, what would be the enforcement? Though professional journalists have codes of ethics, we have seen plenty of who violated those codes. Having standards did not prevent those violations. Look at the recent matter of Natalie MacLean, a wine professional caught in ethical violations.

      • 1WineDude


        Richard – good points. And interestingly, I happened upon my old comic book collection today while reorganizing part of my basement, so your comment really struck a chord with me. :)

  • pbilling13


    Oh, now your your going to get me started. First off let me preface this by stating that I Love your writing and your blog, so please take no offense here. This is directed at many of the other bloggers out there wine, food and otherwise.

    I would kind of agree that blogging does take some of the fun out of food and wine as well as a bunch of other hobbies, pastimes and interests. For me, it's because for the most part, the writing is just so damned awful. I am not a great or even good author, that's why I don't (mostly) do it for public consumption. I don't object to blogging, it lets people express their views and show what they have accomplished. Yaaa for them, I'm all for it. Unfortunately, much of techno-society is focus around the blogosphere and twitter. Trying to sift through the miasma of information out there and find the few the very, very few smart and informative sites that exist is hard, Even harder when the print media takes the easy road as says "you can find out more on the web at many of the wine blogs out there".

    Writing well is hard, as I am sure you well know. There is a reason it take an author years to write a book and there's a reason the job Editor exists. I'm not expecting For Whom The Bell Tolls here, but at least treat your blog entry like like your high school English teacher is going to grade it.

    Reviews of wine are the same. I have my problems with Parker and in fact with a lot of Pro Tasters, but damn, the man can write. There are some reviews I read that make me want to hunt down a wine RIGHT NOW. Even if it's 10:00pm. I can almost taste the wine from reading the review, I'm actually salivating. Compare that to the much more typical and nonsensical reviews like 'Fruity, lots of tannins' and then a score of 90 points. ARRRRRRRHHHHGGG. After you've been reading blogs a while you can learn to discard these authors after a post or 2. But for people just starting to learn it can be intimidating.

    Garson says that posting a picture of you food that looks like it came from a magazine layout shoot is whats killing foodies desire to cook. I say it's the bloggers inability to describe the taste of what they made in a way that makes you want to eat it. A picture is worth a thousand words to describe how something looks, it's worth zero to describe how something tastes.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Paul

    (NOT a writer)

    • 1WineDude


      Paul – thanks for that! And for the cogent and **well-written** thoughts! :)I think you nailed it when you write about the “inability to describe the taste of what they made in a way that makes you want to eat it” – I'd levy that criticism on a lot of print writing as well. But again, I'd caution trying to extend the standard on the majority of bloggers, who have no interest in improving their writing or expanding their readership beyond a few friends. You might as well critique Facebook posts.I agree that using blogs instead of FB in that respect muddies the blogging waters, but is it really that difficult to find the folks who are doing it right? I mean, events like Born Digital and the Wine Blog Awards don't get it 100% right, but they don't get it too far wrong, either, I think. It's not difficult to start there, and branch out, is it? If it's that difficult, then I'd say the net being cast is way too large, it would be like trying to find a book on needlepoint and then searching for every author in every country who published any articles on needlepoint ever. But starting with a few sources like Barnes & Noble or Amazon would get you a hell of a lot closer when checking out who might have had best-selling or award-winning or very highly-rated (and often-reviewed) books.

      • pbilling13


        I agree that it's easy to cast too wide a net, unfortunately, too often, newbies are told to do just that. I came to wine in kind of a round about way. I watched 'Bottle Shock', primarily because I'm a big Alan Rickman fan. That lead me to read the George Taber's 'Judgement of Paris' and that led to a 1 week vacation in Napa. I was hooked. Not everyone can come to wine that way, but I always recommend reading a book on the subject, sometimes your's : -). I also recommend going to a tasting or 2. It's a great way to try a little bit of a bunch of different wines. But I never recommend the internet as a place to start for a novice. You, Cellartracker, even most of the wine related magazines assume more base knowledge than many have when they come to the table. That's NOT a suggestion to dumb it down, anyone who is really interested will be here shortly, it just should'n't be their first or even second stop.

        Paul

        • 1WineDude


          Paul – thanks for that! :)And I agree with you – experience first, then branch out for knowledge, then experience again, then branch out for knowledge… that's the formula for lifelong enjoyment of anything. Cheers!

  • masi3v


    First, I always find it humorous when Parker blasts bloggers for any reason–I am sure I am not the only one to consider him the first 'blogger' with his hand typed newsletter of legend. This goes for other 'serious' bloggers as well. I listened with a bit of amusement at the Wine Bloggers Conference when many 'established' bloggers bemoaned the proliferation of wine blogs and the need for some sort of 'standard'. What total crap. You might not like my blog, you may think that I am the absolute worst writer, and I do not posses even a modicum of wine knowledge. As a result, you refuse to ever visit my site again. You are perfectly entitled to that opinion/stance (no matter how wrong you might be ;-). But do not suggest that I do not have the right to continue spewing what you might see as mindless drivel–that is my right.

    If some out there believe that the vast sea of blogs is turning them off to wine or food (or whatever) that is THEIR problem, not the bloggers. There is no one holding a gun to your head making you read or look at any of it. If you do not have the ability (or desire) to weed through all of the crap or pretension to get the sites that you find worthwhile, well, again, that's your issue. Restricting or eliminating blogs in order to make it easier for a few is complete lunacy.

    When I consider buying a cookbook, I generally look through the book and determine if it appeals to me (unless it is by Thomas Keller and then I just buy it). Usually, if there are at least a few dishes I would consider making, I buy it (or not)–I never even consider that I need to make every dish or that I have to buy every cookbook. That is just absurd. I find this no different from reading blogs. No one is making anyone look at any or all blogs–if you can't discern the crap from the gems, that is your problem, not mine.

    • 1WineDude


      masi3v – This sentence “If some out there that the vast sea of blogs is turning them off to wine or food (or whatever) that is THEIR problem, not the bloggers.” pretty much *is* the summary of the theme today. How not-visiting a site you don't like somehow kills the joy of an experience is… well, it's just crap! :)BTW – I can attest that you can actually cook those Keller recipes as well!

  • Wee-Ree San


    Great post….but I would change the last sentence to: "should, at this point, be left alone to deal in their own ways with the inevitable wave of change overtaking them. Some will survive, and others will not, but that is not of primary concern. Our energies will be most fruitful if focused on advancing our vision of the future, wasting little or none of that energy on worrying about those who choose to cling to the past."

    • 1WineDude


      Wee-Ree San – happy new, my man!Well-put. Can I hire you to finish my posts? :) I agree, and have written here about similar themes; why food and wine somehow feel they're above these changes is beyond me…

  • Todd - VT Wine Media


    Joe,
    I had no idea that my short counter punch to the big guy's jab, would even have any impact, and so I appreciate your take on it.
    The winds of change that have filled the sails of bloggers, will also in all likelihood, separate the wheat from the chaff. The former will be a nourishing main ingredient going forward, and the latter will be subsumed by the content compost heap. As search engine intelligence continues to evolve, I am convinced that the junk will serve as a backdrop against which the good stuff will shine. Until Google itself develops a real focused penchant for robust, manly, ripe, tannic expensive red wines to the exclusion of all others, the field is wide open for any who participate in the meritocracy that is unique content creation.

    Sure at this point, it can sometimes be hard for humans to make that discrimination, but heck, that's what they used to call "reading for comprehension" when I was in grade school. When any of us sifts through or consumes new content, we are burdened by the decision as to whether what we find, works for us or not. Maybe when there was only one newsletter about wine, or one local newspaper column, we could enjoy the luxury of being tastevin-fed, but those days are gone.

    And Joe, as cool as I think you are, I don't expect you to be the next Robert Parker. In fact I don't think that anyone will be. Those that think that the wine blogosphere is simply a replacement for traditional wine media, are totally missing the info-exchange paradigm shift that is occurring, as Dermot Nolan pointed out in the comment following mine in that Dr. Vino post. As to "Why Blog?" as Thomas asks, that's been a topic of conversation before, and the answer can be as varied as the people that choose to do it. I find it terribly interesting to do research about a wine, and be able to find the voices of the producers, importers or distributors, retailers, restaurateurs, critics, inspired writers, and yes, even simple consumers, all of whom have a unique relationship to the subject, thereby creating a mesh of relevant information that until this age, was simply not accessible.

    Why blog about wine? Because it is a catalyst pushing the evolution of wine culture.
    The previous modality of the critic newsletter elevated individual wines and brands. Yes, it got folks of some certain demographics fired up about those wines, but I'm not so sure that it did much to create and nurture community, and in the end my friend, that is one of the main things that wine is about.
    In our highly commercialized society, anyone engaged in regular production of goods or ideas, without the absolute requirement for remuneration, will have their motivations questioned, and so maybe it is time to start questioning that question. I started doing it, because having become aware of the great wine selection we have in our little state of Vermont, and the great quality of the food service component, I felt compelled to share what I was finding with my neighbors, and proud to tell the world our local culture. I actually did not even realize I was a "wine blogger" until someone else told me I was one. At that point I started exploring the offerings of others, and I have been happily rewarded by knowledge acquired through the work of others, and more importantly making human connections with some of those same folks. I find even more joy in wine than before.

    Joe, you and I had an ultra-brief and glancing introduction at WBC11. It has been the subsequent online discussions and repartee that have shaped our virtual relationship, which I very much enjoy. I hope that we'll get a chance at some point to sit down, shoot the breeze, and share some wine. I'd pretty sure I'd still want to do it, even if we had to have Crane Lake in our glasses.
    Cheers.

    • 1WineDude


      Todd – “Why blog about wine? Because it is a catalyst pushing the evolution of wine culture.” – and there we see why it's so good for the wine industry in general!And I am definitely hoping our paths cross again soon (minus the Crane Lake! :).

  • Thomas Pellechia


    As I read through the comments, I am left with the message that blogging is good. Fine. It isn't that I agree or disagree with any one of the myriad reasons for all that goodness, but while I'm all for community, I still say that reading for information is not the same as making friends.

    Kibbitzing can be a joyful experience, but I think when someone complains that blogging is killing joy the complaint is not about community. The complaint is about purporting to impart information and doing a horribly poor job at it.

    I agree with whomever above stated that most blogs are poorly written: those are indeed master killjoys–to literate people.

    • 1WineDude


      Thomas – they are indeed; and so we don't visit them again. Very little harm done there, potentially, in my view.

  • Thomas Pellechia


    That's true, Joe, and my "bookmarks" is quite slim ;)

    One day, I'm going to figure out if HoseMaster is real or a bot!

    • 1WineDude


      Thomas – well, Ron is real, but he might have a bot creating the HMW content… ;-)

  • Thomas Pellechia


    I'm not so sure. I met Ron in 2011. He was wired…

    • 1WineDude


      Thomas – ha!

  • gabe


    I just want to apologize, i think my instagram photos of homemade pasta might have caused the jealous rage that inspired the original mashable.com post. It was wrong of me to take a photo of hanging delicious homemade pasta in my wine closet, and I'm sure that photo has scared many people away from ever trying to cook again.

    As for wine blogging, I can't speak for everyone, but it has only helped fan the flame of my love for wine. After leaving retail to enter production, blogs are the main way for me to keep informed about whats new and exciting and interesting about wine. One of the recent 1winedude blogs inspired me to taste more Bordeaux. Steve Heimhoff's blog keeps me in tune with whats new in California. If anything, I believe that wine blogs are allowing casual wine drinkers to be better informed than ever, and inspiring a growing collection of informed wine drinkers in this country.

    Finally, I will refrain from linking a post to my instagram feed…I don't want a picture of the champagne I drank on New Year's Eve to scare people away from drinking bubbles

    • 1WineDude


      Gabe – thanks for the comment and for sparing us the horrible beauty of your food porn! :-) Great point about how to use wine blogs; I'd only add that you seem to have curated your list. Might be worth exploring how you went about that, finding the ones you liked the most?

      • gabe


        My friend Eva once said that the nature of reading blogs is the "self-selection" process. I think that is part of what makes them great. If I buy a Wine Spectator because I like Matt Kramer, it comes with James Laube whether I want to read him or not. But with blogs. I get to pick and choose who I read.

        As for how I find my particular blogs of choice….well, that is a long and boring story. i will just say that it is a constantly evolving list,.

    • Todd - VT Wine Media


      Gabe, please don't share those photos of pasta hanging to dry…I am afraid I will be traumatized by my inability to return to my Great Grandparents house, where that was the norm before multicourse family meals.
      Sob.

      • gabe


        todd,
        sorry i ruined dinner with the grandparents. maybe you guys can take up horseback riding or something

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Gabe,

    You must have noticed that the blogs you cite are written by professionals.

    And when can I see that hanging pasta? If not a meal, it sounds like a great art form ;)

    • gabe


      good point Thomas. Most (but not all) of the blogs I read are written by professionals. Maybe it speaks to the fact that I like the style of blogs more than magazines? I feel like blogs talk about issues that are current, and interesting, and allow me to respond and converse with the writer. Magazines, at least in my experience, are usually more interested in doing a quality assessment of a vintage or region. While that can be interesting, I have gotten bored of reading that same style of article over and over again (unless, of course, it is about the Willamette Valley. I could read those every day). I do still read lots of books about wine, which offer more depth into a subject than a blog or mag ever could.

      As for the instagram photos of my pasta, please don't encourage me. It's only a matter of time before I start taking artful photos of my morning coffee

  • 1WineDude


    Gabe – I think a lot of peple might be interested in that story…

    • gabe


      i'll try to revisit this thread when i have more time…

    • gabe


      Hey Joe, sorry about the slow response, but over the past two weeks I've been working, taking classes, and gone on vacation, so my time has been limited. Thought I would finally revisit this thread, at least for my own entertainment, and maybe yours as well. Anyway, this is the my love story with wine blogs:

      Before I read blogs, I visited the online pages of the Wine Spectator and Advocate, which offered limited content, and occasionally watched Gary V (although never commented). My first real wine blog was called "Good Grape", and is unfortunately no longer active. I can even remember the first blog I read; it was about his neighbor giving him shit for having a recycling bin full of wine bottles, and his response was that nobody would care about a recycling bin full of soda bottles, even tho that would be way worse for your health.

      I loved Good Grape because the perspective was so different from anything I read on the Spectator or Advocate. When it folded, I literally just googled "wine blog" to see what else I could find. That is how I found 1winedude. What I did then, and what I still do now, is find a half-dozen blogs that I think are interesting and bookmark them. After a few months, I'll delete the ones I don't read and look for a few new ones to bookmark. Some, like 1winedude or drvino, have been on the list for as long as I can remember. Others, like hosemaster and SteveHeimhoff, drove me so crazy I deleted them from the list, then came back to them because they were so well written, and now those are two of my favorites. A few sites, like Palate Press and Vinography, keep getting deleted and re-bookmarked because I know they are good blogs, but I just can't get into them. These days, I usually discover blogs through other blogs. Terroirist is probably the best site for that, although clicking on commenters seems to work for that as well.

      So thats my story. Sorry it took two weeks to write it, but you're pretty internet savvy, so I bet you'll find it ;-) cheers!

      • 1WineDude


        Thanks, gabe. My god, finding good wine blogs sound a lot like finding really interesting wines, doesn't it? ;-)

        • gabe


          Lol. There is a striking similarity between finding a good wine blog and finding a good wine. There are probably also a lot of similarities between being a wine writer and a wine maker. Just be glad you don't have to take chemistry :-)

          • 1WineDude


            Gabe – I'll stick to writing :-)

  • David Vergari


    I'd venture a Scientific-Wild-Ass-Guess that most folks don't read wine blogs. Sorry.

    • 1WineDude


      David – most folks don't read any wine mags, either.

  • Thomas Pellechia


    Guys, most folks haven't a clue…I'm ducking.

    Gabe, to me, what separates a blog form a magazine is something that Steve Heimoff said a long time ago in defense of blogging–he does it because it gives him the freedom to express his unedited (by anyone else, that is) opinions.

    Opinions are one thing, but unedited is an entirely different animal, and that generally separates blog articles from magazine articles. I repeat: generally. I know at least one blogger (ex) who tried always to edit himself–as a result, he was in perpetual angst mode.

  • Paul Franklin


    I thought this was a very well-written article.

    I think wine blogs are good for the industry and community as a whole. Too many and it becomes dilluted but as I see it right now, I think wine blogs only enhance the experience for those who care enough to read about wine online.

    • 1WineDude


      Thanks, Paul!

  • Larry Chandler


    Who would ever not want to learn to cook something because the picture made it look good? That must be one of the dumbest things anyone has ever said (political posts excepted).

    Before there were food blogs, there were cookbooks. Even with pictures. And the better the picture looked, the more eager people were (well, I was) to try them.

    Same with wine. There are wine blogs that actually get people to want to try something new. People want others to talk and write about their passions.

    • 1WineDude


      Larry -Amen.

  • MTGA Wines


    I’ll have to go with a combination of masi3v and pbilling13’s comments above. The cookbook analogies above are awesome as well.

    For many folks I think it is all about where they find value. That is why I read this blog, the Speculator at times and numerous other sources. I find certain posts interesting, engaging, entertaining and educational. There has definitely been content that I skim over because I just don’t find it interesting. It is the same reason I skim through a newspaper to find the articles I want to read or ignore the political rants on Facebook, you sort through the crap to get to the stuff you find valuable.

    I think the long story short should be: If you don’t like blogs, the “ivory tower” ratings, science fiction novels then don’t read them! But don’t tell those who find a connection with these forms of media that they are doing it wrong.

    Good stuff!

    • 1WineDude


      MTGA – exactly. We can tune out if we don't like it or don't care; that simple.

  • Nick P


    A few thoughts to add:
    1. I sort of like the way the wine blogs upset the emperor. They…should.

    2. That doesn't mean I like to read wine blogs. I generally don't. They only rarely speak to me at just the right level with just the right tone. I'm a small niche audience at the nexus of wine, culture, travel, e-commerce.

    3. I love glossy printed magazines. I think a lot of people simply don't (or wish not to) grasp that in the marketplace of ideas, power, money, and popularity all go together. Just like in Movies, and Music. People blog and micro-blog for a lot of reasons, but they often do it unpaid for the same reason that lower rung bands do gigs for free. Almost nobody's paying for it.

    4. I find it valuable to approach other adjacent niche interests that people are passionate about and look for similarities / differences to the wine world. Cigars, spirits, other hobbies. What stands out for me in my ignorance is that I find it really enjoyable to not have to conform to someone's definition of passion or age or income or geography in order to appreciate these new things. It's sooo enjoyable to find things you're a newbie at and to have that encouraged genuinely. That's one of the highest values I get from blogs. The blogged narcissism stuff indeed makes me turn away from any topic. Better order the Crane Lake if you find 4 more. Not "scared off" mind you, just turned off / away.

    • 1WineDude


      Nick – Well, you might be turned off from some blogs, but not from wine itself (unless I am reading that incorrectly?). “I find it really enjoyable to not have to conform to someone's definition of passion or age or income or geography in order to appreciate these new things” – to me, that is one fo the best (if not THE best) aspects of the better blogs out there.

      • Nick P


        I can't be turned off wine itself, but using this analogy with the adjacent niches, I certainly am turned off other products because of blogs or bloglettes and the like. Writers like you are concerned with how to get people into wine and sustain their interest and enthusiasm while perhaps helping them in developing their own discernment. That comes through. I've always supported efforts to cultivate people's self-awareness of what they like and their world-awareness of what's out there. Perhaps in that vein, we shouldn't be making fun of Crane Lake, or the people behind it or who like it, but simply lighting up the various paths to awareness. Yeah, it's possible for blogs to be destructive of consumer interest.

        • 1WineDude


          Nick -thanks for that. And I appreciate what you're saying about Crane Lake, though I hope you'll indulge me the humorous angle there. Cheers!

      • Nick P


        And no discussion of this topic is complete without this funny Instagram video by CollegeHumor. http://youtu.be/Nn-dD-QKYN4

        • 1WineDude


          HA! The one about the feet is classic…

  • Bob Henry


    JOE,

    WINE BLOGS AREN’T KILLING THE JOY OF WINE DRINKING.

    JUST KILLING THE JOY OF READING “PROPER” ENGLISH.

    READ ON . . .

    ~~ BOB

    From the Los Angeles Times “Op-Ed” Section
    (February 10, 2012, Page A19):

    “Syntax? Logic? Why?"

    [Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-02-10/on

    By Michael Kinsley

    [Bloomberg View columnist]

    It’s been going on for too long, right before our eyes. Inevitably, someone was going to blow the whistle, and wouldn’t you know it would be Felix Salmon, the famous financial blogger for Reuters?

    . . .

    Nothing, though, prepared me for the dazzling brilliance of Felix’s blog item this week [February 2012] about the quality of writing on the Internet. . . . But his basic point is that on the Web, sheer quantity trumps quality. . . .

    . . .

    [Too many blogs are devoid of] . . . all aspects of good writing — accuracy, logic, spelling, graceful turns of phrase, wisdom and insight, puns (only good ones), punctuation, proper grammar and syntax (and what’s the difference between those two again?) . . .

    . . .

    . . . Now one of our nation’s leading bloggers has confessed what we all suspected: that bad writing is inherent to the online world. . . .

    AND FOR A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON, SEE THIS BOOK (REVIEW) . . .

    From the BusinessWeek “Business Views” Section
    (July 27, 2009, Page 074ff):

    “A Brief History of Blogs;
    How a grassroots groundswell transformed the media landscape”

    [Link: http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/conten

    Book review by Stephen Baker

    Say Everything:
    How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming, and Why It Matters
    By Scott Rosenberg
    (Crown; 405 pp., $26)

    • 1WineDude


      Bob – yeah, that's been my point for years when discussing this topic. There's always been terrible writing published on any topic. There have always been terrible wine columns published on print. So when the volume goes up due to the barriers to entry going way down, we're crazy to expect the quality ratio good/bad to somehow magically change.

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