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Do Wine Blogs Matter For Selling Wine? (The 1WineDude Conversion Rate)

Vinted on February 11, 2014 binned in about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine blogging, wine buying

One of the criticisms most often levied against wine blogs is that they don’t “move the needle” in terms of wine sales.

Let’s forget for a moment that where I come from, coverage that costs me next to nothing for a product that results in even a handful of additional sales (and additional exposure) – that I otherwise would never have seen – counts for something.

The crux of this criticism is that coverage of wines on the virtual pages of wine blogs does not result in materially meaningful and/or measurable differences in the purchase volumes of those wines. Presumably, this is in comparison to similar mentions in print media (however, it’s worth noting that I’ve yet to see any hard evidence in the form of real data to support print media coverage having a sales bump effect, but I have anecdotal evidence from some California winemakers showing that it does not, as well as some from small producers indicating that some wine blog mentions have in fact increased DTC sales… which I can relay to you privately some day if we ever meet and you buy me a beer…).

The counter argument is usually a combination of two things: 1) that it’s extremely difficult to measure the impact of any media coverage on wine sales, regardless of the type of media, and 2) it’s the aggregate of blog and social media mentions (outside of concentrated special events, promotions, and the like) that amount to an increase in mindshare and small, one-consumer-at-a-time sales that otherwise wouldn’t otherwise have happened. In other words, wine blogging and social media mentions result in a stream of sales that are aggregated from tiny, rivulet-like trickles in combination, and so wouldn’t generally amount to a perceivable spike but do, in combination, make a difference. [ For an example of these arguments, see the mini-debate generated on this topic generated in the comments section of one of my recent posts here ].

I can now supply some data in support of that counter argument, by way of one example: namely, 1WineDude.com.

While I will not supply exact numbers (only because don’t have permission from all of the parties involved to do so), I can give you approximations that I think lend some credence and strength to the counter argument, though I strongly suspect it will be ignored by the wine cognoscenti, who have in my experience demonstrated a severe allergic reaction (sulfites got nothin’ on this!) to facts, data, and evidence if those things do not already support their own already-entrenched beliefs…

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Anyone Else Notice That Bay Area Wine & Food Trendsetting Is Up For Grabs?

Vinted on February 4, 2014 binned in about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine publications

I was recently (ok, more like a month ago) Quick-Sipped (Supped?) by Jessica Yadegaran, in a profile/interview that ran online and in bay Area papers such as The San Jose Mercury News. It (very) briefly tells my wine backstory, and gave me an opportunity to implore people to drink more Vermentino (with fish tacos). So I didn’t squander the opportunity, Vermentines!

Interestingly, Mercury’s parent company, Media News Group, is expanding its food and wine scene coverage, at a time when most others are contracting theirs. MNG seems to be making a play for what will almost certainly be a media gap in the San Francisco region: trendsetting the wine and food scene, now that the #1 seed, the SF Chronicle, is planning to radially change its food and beverage coverage.

I’m not sure how else to take the comments from SF Chron managing editor Audrey Cooper, in her response to the NY Times breaking the news late last year on the SF Chron’s planned Wine/Food section shakeup:

“We are undergoing a newspaperwide section-by-section review with the idea that we need to reimagine sections to more intuitive cultural topics that are more aligned with how Northern Californians think and live.”

My translation: we’re not going to spend the money and effort to set regional dining and wine trends anymore, because it’s not working out; we’re going to react to the trends already being set by others, instead.

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Why Rare Wine Collecting Is Kind Of Like Having Sex With Animals (Thoughts On The Rudy Kurniawan Fraud Trial)

Vinted on January 7, 2014 binned in commentary, wine news

By now, you’ll probably have heard that alleged fine wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan has been found guilty of fraud in court (well, he was found guilty of wine fraud during trial in court, not found guilty within a court, although technically actually he was found guilty within a court room… oh, forget it).

You’ll also, no doubt, be nursing a raging New Year’s Eve hangover. So I’ll try to make this pithy since most likely I will also be nursing some manner of raging NYE hangover.

In the event that you’re a self-professed wine geek who hasn’t yet gotten up to speed on the whole Kurniawan Kerfuffle, I recommend taking a quick diversion over to the fine summary of Kurniawan’s alleged fraudulent activities at NPR, so that you can do a rapid catch-up.

All set? Good. Now I can explain why Kurniawan’s guilty verdict means almost nothing whatsoever to the fine wine market, and why I think it will almost certainly not even make a dent in the purchases of fraudulent wine worldwide.

But, in order to do that, I first need to explain why the collecting of rare fine wines is like having sex with animals

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The Wine Snob: A Short Field Guide

Vinted on January 2, 2014 binned in commentary

Instances and identification of the Wine Snob in the wild

The wine snob is easily encountered but often difficult to successfully identify in the wild. This is because the wine snob in almost all salient ways physically resembles the human homo sapiens. Often, the only way to successfully identify the wine snob is via verbal cues.

The wine snob, isolated, is rarely dangerous and poses almost no immediate threat apart from annoyance. There are cases in which it has been reported that the wine snob will “leech” onto an unsuspecting person and follow them incessantly, carping verbal nonsense – the phrase terroir (tear-WARW) is often repeated – and requiring the person to physically remove themselves from the area to abbey the threat. However instances of bodily harm in these cases is statistically quite rare, and most “threats” from the wine snob have been completely overblown in the modern, scandal- and –shock-hungry press.

Identification of the wine snob cannot be successfully confirmed based on the presence of wine alone. This is an important enough point that it bears repeating and additional emphasis: not all specimens possessing a wine glass in the wild are wine snobs. The instances of wine snobs within any given wine-drinking population are still quite rare. Again, verbal confirmation must be obtained, as the presence of the wine snob also cannot be confirmed via nesting ground, habitat clues, tracks, diet or scat.

Wine-stained urine is not a reliable identification measure.…

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