Last week, I had the pleasure of receiving an e-mail from Jim Gordon, all-around nice & talented guy, editor of the wine industry stalwart publication Wines & Vines, and Director of the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, containing the following tidbit:
“Congratulations! The winners of fellowships for the 2010 Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley have been selected, and you are among them. I wanted you to know as soon as possible that, yes, you are a winner and that you should proceed accordingly with your travel plans for the Feb. 16-19, 2010 event… The writing samples you sent were judged blind by a panel of accomplished and objective wine writers, and earned you this honor as one of the most talented writers attending the sixth annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers…”
Holy. Crap. [Editor’s note: the previous statement refers to my reaction upon reading the e-mail; the words “holy” and “crap” do NOT appear in any form / context in the text of Mr. Gordon’s note. ]
It’s funny – I don’t feel like a professional wine writer…
I can only assume that “judged blind” means that the judges were actually blindfolded when they reviewed the fellowship candidates’ writing samples, otherwise I’m at a loss to explain the extreme lack of sound judgment surprising and unexpected choice displayed by awarding me a fellowship.
Not that I’m complaining. For one, the speakers on tap for the Symposium read like a wine writing All Star Team line up. And you’d do a lot worse than to stay at the posh Meadowood for four days. But the coup de grace (which, by the way, is one of the more violent foreign language expressions to be adopted into common English language usage) is that Alder Yarrow (who is also participating in the Symposium) recently raved about past Symposium events, and I respect Alder’s opinion – even though he once stole my girl (just kidding, Alder – who loves ya, baby?)…
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Last week, I found out that I finished in the top ten of PostRank.com’s list of the most engaging wine blogs of 2009. PostRank’s list is based on algorithms that measure online social network reactions to blog articles. I think, anyway – it all seems a little complicated and makes me glad that I like writing instead of math.
I’m pleased as spiked sangria punch to be sharing the top 10 list with such talented and esteemed company.
I’m less pleased at how similar we all seem to be.
As you will note from this handy inset graphic, the list is comprised almost entirely of white males (click to embiggen):
To be fair, both Decanter and Lenndevours are blogs with talented staff, not all of whom are white males. Just the vast majority of whom are white males.
The lack of diversity is kind of odd, and sad. I wonder if we represent the majority of wine consumers? I doubt it, considering the studies that point to women being the driving force behind wine consumption (especially in the U.S.).
I’ll stop now as I expect to get flamed for even bringing up the topic (those of you who know me have figured out by now that I can’t help myself) and turn to the somewhat safer discussion of which 2009 1WineDude.com blog posts PostRank measured as being especially engaging. But I’ll warn you, that this list had me scratching my head just as much as I did over the ‘white guy convention syndrone’ of the top 10 list…
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I love you people – you sure have some intelligent opinions!
My open discussion on whether or not 1WineDude.com should implement a rating system for its wine reviews generated just a teeny bit of discussion… as in over 70 comments worth of discussion!
There was a poll as well, for those who prefer to have their say without commenting.
The poll ended up over 60% favoring the addition of ratings (see the previous post for an explanation of how those ratings would work).
The comments had a slight majority in favor, with the remaining roughly comments falling into the following groups (in descending order of responses):
- It’s your blog, do whatever you want.
- I don’t like ratings but I’ll forgive you if you use them.
- Please, please, please do NOT do this.
Despite the fact that the majority of responses to the wine rating question were in favor, the mix of poll results and comments didn’t strike me as the type of majority that implies a Dick-Cheney-style voting “clear mandate of the people.” I’m not sure it feels right.
So what am I gonna do?
Well… I’m gonna compromise…
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By most counts, 2009 was a great year for 1WineDude.com.
The blog won some awards. I got interviewed – quite a lot. The blog was featured in some cool places. I got to contribute to some great publications (like CNBC and Mutineer Mag). And getting mentioned in Yahoo! Tech news and the L.A. Times was really cool.
I’ve got this ugly, nagging feeling of “so much left undone” when it comes to one effort in 2009 that had special meaning for me.
Simply put, the progress on my initiative to Help Kick Alzheimer’s Ass has been really, really disappointing.
Let’s make one thing very clear right off the bat: I did NOT push the Help Kick Alzheimer’s Ass initiative as hard as I should have. And for the most part, 1WineDude.com readers were FANTASTIC at spreading the word on the initiative on Facebook and twitter. And some very, very generous people have donated to the cause.
But the Alzheimer’s Association has been a total FAIL when it comes to helping me promote this fundraiser, and we have a LONG WAY to go before we reach our fundraising goal.
So, I’m starting 2010 by asking you a favor.
If everyone who visited this blog donated a dollar, we’d reach our fundraising goal in less than one month.
Become a fan on Facebook. Retweet links to the donation page. But most importantly, please donate a dollar.
Cheers… and THANK YOU!