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An alternative title for this article might be “Sorry, But I Gotta Be Me” or “The 2010 Wine Blog Awards Messed With My Head.”
One thing that I know about good, compelling blogging (because that’s the stuff that I like to read) is that you can’t be afraid to bare all and let readers inside of your head.
Which entre nous, if I want to take this blog up a notch (and I do), might mean making us both a little uncomfortable from time to time.
Like now, maybe. Sorry, but I gotta be me.
I’ve been thinking about the WBAs lately because the “trophy” just arrived in the mail – a very nice (and rather phallic) Riedel decanter with the WBA 2010 logo and the words “Best Overall Wine Blog – 1WineDude” etched indelibly onto the front (see inset pic and… jesus jumped-up christ, what’s with all of the gray hair on my head?!??).
Anyway… the thing is, the Wine Blog Awards did kind of mess with my head. The part that really got me into the baking-your-noodle-to-a-crisp-golden-brown territory was trying to figuring out what the award meant, in the grand scheme of things.
Some would argue “not much.” Others will tell you that it’s a bit like the Oscars with a dash of the People’s Choice Awards thrown in for good measure. Truth be told, it still makes me uncomfortable to read the description of the Best Overall Wine Blog category; I just don’t yet see 1WineDude.com as competing with the best of the best of all wine media, or advancing the genre of wine blogging significantly enough to make any real difference…
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I was recently interviewed for an article that appeared on financial management website Mint.com’s Frugal Foodie blog, titled Will Joining a Wine Club Make or Break Your Budget.
The topic (obviously) was the potential financial implications of joining a wine club, and how to find the right club without getting fleeced. This was strange one for me; although (obviously) related to wine, the only experience I have with wine clubs is (enviously) assisting other people in selecting the best ones to fit their wine goals and budgets.
That’s because I live in the Communist-wealth of Pennsylvania, whose state-run monopoly of alcohol sales and distribution essentially make joining a wine club, for me, impossible (or, at best, economically infeasible).
My basic take is that it’s probably never been easier to find good deals on a wine club. Why? For one, there’s a great deal of competition, despite the strange archaic state of U.S. alcohol shipping laws – and there are even a good number of international wine clubs cropping up. The other factor possibly fueling high competition and good deals in the wine club space is that there’s still a glut of wine inventory that has built up due to the down global economy. My guess is that people can wheel-and-deal their way to some sweet buys with those wine clubs – at least until the market picks up.
One of the key differentiators (if not THE key) between wine clubs is customer service. Given the level of competition, if a wine club isn’t willing to customize for you then it’s probably not worth giving them your hard-earned cash.
Many of you out there will have much more practical experience than I do with wine clubs. Are you a wine club member? Have you ever had to ditch a wine club? Shout it out in the comments!
In my ongoing effort to, uhm, branch out in the wine world (read: get paid), I’ve got myself involved in a couple more ‘extra-blogger’ activities that I thought I’d share. They are geared more towards beginner (I know, I hate that term too, but I can’t manage a better one) wine enthusiasts and so I didn’t feel that they were a fit for 1WineDude.com, but some readers might find them interesting (or doubtless you will know someone who might – which might buy you a day or two of respite from those folks asking you for wine advice!).
First, I’ve contributed some wine recommendations to the Fall 2010 issue of Publix® Grape Magazine. My contribution was made so many months ago that I don’t in fact remember what I wrote for them… and I don’t live in a state that has a Publix… so any of you in the Southeast U.S. who can refresh my memory, please feel free to help me out… Anyway, if you live in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or Alabama you can subscribe to receive the magazine for free. Because, you know, free is a good price.
Second, you’ll start to see my reviews pop up on another iPhone app (also coming soon to Droid and Blackberry), Pocket Wine Assistant, in their new version. Because, you know, one can never have too much 1WD in one’s pocket, right? That, and I’m fond of over-extending myself. Anyway, more to come on that when he new version is released.
Third, I’m contributing (ongoing, this time) to a very cool on-line Philadelphia food & drink publication called Table Matters. I’ll be penning articles in the awesomely-named Planet of the Grapes section (“It’s a madhouse! A MADHOUSE!!!”), the first of which appeared last week. Table Matters is a Philly-focused publication, so I’ll be covering wines available in the Philly/PA market. Because, you know, I enjoy a challenge.
Your thoughts, as always, are welcome – including story ideas for the Table Matters column (just don’t expect a cut of my fees…).
(images: publix.com, tablematters.com, pocketwineassistant.com)