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How To Navigate Wine on the Web (3 ways to Keep Up With Wine Online & Still Stay Sane)

Vinted on March 19, 2008 binned in best of, wine 2.0, wine blogging, wine how to, wine tips

(images: epicurious.blogs.com, i.ivillage.com, chungkiddo.blogspot.com)

In a recent post on her blog, the venerable Dr. Debs wrote about a recent survey commissioned by Constellation Wine Brands (a big, big conglomerate that own dozens of wineries, including Mondavi). The study concluded that more and more wine consumers are overly confused when it comes to what wine they should buy – enough so that Constellation cited increasing consumption by “Overwhelmed” wine consumers as their (Constellation’s, that is!) biggest opportunity.

This finding isn’t surprising. There are over 7,000 wine brands available to consumers in the U.S. That’s a sh*t-load of wine choices, and even the most over-educated wine geeks among us can get overwhelmed (especially if we’re trying to understand German wine labels). In fact, it’s one of the main reasons that I got “seriously” into wine in the first place – I sat the WSET Intermediate Certificate exam so I’d be better able to buy wine at my local store!

Dr. Debs (quite rightly) points out that there’s already an easily-accessible vehicle to help the Overwhelmed wine consumers out there:

So is there a way to help the Overwhelmed, send them armed and ready into Wine Warehouse to face the Sauvignon Blanc aisle, and point them in the direction of wine enthusiasm rather than wine frustration? Yes. It’s called the Internet…

It’s likely that companies like Constellation have uber-smart Marketing-types, but it’s unlikely that those Marketing-types are going to help clear up anything for us Overwhelmed wine consumers unless it has the added benefit of further lining their pockets with more of the shiny gold stuff. Sure, you can use points to help make buying decisions, but who the heck talks in points about, well, anything (other than cholesterol numbers, I mean)?

(Imagine this conversation: “Hey – did you see Rothlisberger pass all over the Bengals last night? He totally deserves a 111.4 QB passer rating.” “No way, man – he’s not a tenth of a point over 99.7. Puh-leeeeeze!” Not gonna happen. Plus, people can’t speak in hyperlinks – though that would be cool….).

While it’s true that the Internet is an amazing resource for Overwhelmed wine consumers, it can itself be a bit, well, daunting. I don’t know about you, but I liken whittling through the vast array of info. on the Internet to find anything useful to trying to reach into a narrow rats’ nest to pick up a nugget of gold.

And sometimes the rats’ next is full of hungry, nasty rodents. With razor-sharp teeth. And surly dispositions.

It doesn’t help that by taking one or two days off from your on-line life, it feels more like an eternity when you return only to find that you’ve missed 375 twitter updates, 900 blog posts, 250 news stories, 30 “friend requests” and god-knows-how-many e-mail messages. And I’m an IT geek – I can only imagine how the “Internet? Is that the one with the e-mail?” crowd feels.

How can you make sense of it all
? My advice is to follow the same Zen-centric approach to handling wine info. on the Internet as you would handle any stream of information overload. Here are three tips that have served me (and my sanity) well in my on-line wine life…

1) Minimize & de-clutter your blog Inbox.
Humans are just not set up to suck in multiple streams of information and retain it all. We’re more built for trying to quickly decide whether or not something is gonna eat us and deciding when we should run like hell, etc. There are oodles of articles on-line that offer great advice on how to approach absorbing information (see this great post at Lifehack.org for an example). But the first trick is to limit the information coming at you.

To do this, you need to get a bit ruthless about the wine blogs and the wine websites that you follow. This won’t be easy – there are quite a bit of good ones out there. You need to find the ones that work best for you, and follow those. This doesn’t mean that you can’t read a great post on a blog that you don’t normally follow – it just means that you need to set a cap on the amount of websites that you do follow on a regular basis, and be very selective about the ones that make the cut to get a piece of your increasingly-precious time.

This of course can help you for any topics that you follow on-line (not just wine). For other tips on time and information management, I recommend getting the ZenHabits.net eBook.


2) Bring the Mountain to Mohammad.
Once you’ve got a firm cap on the number of wine blogs and websites that you follow, then you can stop following them!

What I mean is, get yourself a good RSS reader, and make those updates come to you. I’m a total Netvibes convert. IT geekiness aside, Netvibes allows you to customize and gadgetize the hell out of your on-line life. I’m not sure if I could get by without it at this point (click on the inset pic for a screenshot example of my Netvibes home page). I log in, and can quickly check for interesting blog posts in my day job / music / wine “lives” – minimizing the time I have to spend looking for that information, because it comes to me.

If your tastes are a bit more Spartan, at the other end of the spectrum is the pared-down-to-basics Google Reader. Just be careful, as it’s also easy to go overboard with these RSS tools (for an example of this itself can get overwhelming, check out friendfeed.com). Stick to the program!


3) Trust yourself.

This piece of advice is the most wine-specific. Nothing that anyone writes on-line should influence your own personal preferences and tastes. Your experience trumps all. Trust it, and trust yourself.

If anything, we in the wine blogging community should be educating you, entertaining you, and (most importantly) opening your mind to wine possibilities that you may not have otherwise known about. We should not be trying to convince you that what you like isn’t “correct” or “proper.”

(Warning: Shameless plug): For more about learning how to determine what you do (and don’t) like in the wine that you drink, check out my eBook.

Cheers (and happy surfing)!

Wine Blogging Wednesday #43 – Wrap-Up

Vinted on March 13, 2008 binned in wine blogging, wine blogging wednesday, wine review

Hey everyone – the wrap-up of articles for Wine Blogging Wednesday #43 has been posted over at the Wine Life Today blog. Check it out – the wine bloggers involved wrote some great stories and reviews for this WBW.

The topic this time around was “comfort wines” and Joel over at WLT has done a great job summing up the submissions. I’m also very humbled by the kind words Joel offered up describing my article. Thanks, Joel!

Apparently WBW #44 will be hosted by the venerable Gary V. over at Wine Library TV. God help us! J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets! (just kidding, Gary).

Cheers!

My Readers are Smarter, More Talented, and More Attractive than Me (Reader Haiku)

Vinted on February 21, 2008 binned in wine blogging, wine review, zen wine

(image: dailyzen.com)
It’s official.

1WineDude.com readers are smarter, funnier, more talented, and in all likelihood more attractive than I am. I say this because:

  1. I am arguably an impish gnome with a half-baked palate trying to earn an honest living from near-constant drinking (curse you, Zane Lamprey – you stole my job!), and
  2. I have received incontrovertible proof of how awesome 1WineDude.com readers are.

Long-time Dude friend and 1WineDude.com reader WillyBouy (a.k.a., WeeRee-San) has rewritten my twitter wine Mini-Reviews

…As haiku! And they’re better than my original reviews! Just try this example on for size – let’s compare my original with WillyBouy’s reworked version:

Original:
`06 Sauvignon Republic Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley): Just not into this wine. Citrus and tropical fruits, but what’s w/ the toast?

As haiku:
`06 Sauvignon Republic Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley):
why does toast surprise
the citrus, tropical fruits?

Climbing out of here.

And my personal favorite -

Original:
’06 Misterio Malbec (Argentina):
Coats yer palate like smokey black fruit tar. A steal at $7

haiku:
’06 Misterio Malbec (Argentina):
palate is soothed

smokey black fruit tar
wallet is still fat!

Classic! Read on for more excellent haiku versions. Thanks, WillyBouy!


’05 Bracco Chianti Classico (Italy):
bracco soprano

still struggles to find her voice
-
reduced, overpriced.

`06 Touraine Sauvignon La Pointe Domaine Ricard:
pink grapefruit grenade

launched from the valley loire

tingles the nose bright.

`05 La Crema Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, CA):
red berry hinting smoke
tasting great in the moment
is there a future?

’00 Ch. de Sales (Pomerol, Fr):
a mouse in the house
-
supple velvety red fruit
leaves no worries.

’06 Misterio Malbec (Argentina):
palate is soothed

smokey black fruit tar
wallet is still fat!

`04 Quintessa Cab (Rutherford, CA):
fruit as black as night
finishing suburb complex

lay your money down.

`05 Bon Cap Cab Sav (Robertson, SA):
softly the blind feel

red currants dance free
-
organic bliss now.

NV Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Chapagne (Epernay, Fr):
apple pear bubbles

burst in nose with toasty spice
-
heart leaping joyous!

`05 Le Premier Pas Domaine Le Pas de l’Escalette (Cot. du Languedoc):
grapes of the south Rhone
-
french red without the shackles
blend harmonious

`05 Banfi Centine (Tuscany, It):
burnt cherry sunrise

to sunset gently biting
-
economico rosso.

Ratzenberger Spatburgunder `04 (Bacharacher, DE):
alcohol pools a

slowly drifting berry boat

nicely delicate

`03 Savigny-les-Beaune “Le Grands-Liards” Patrick Javillier-Guyot (Meursalt):
leather greets nicely

but calls out for fruit hidden
-
prudence calls to me.

Aleveda Vinho Verde (Portugal):
drunk in the meadow

crispy spritzy citrus-y

pennies drop lightly.

Frog’s Leap `05 Napa Zin:
plum, blackberry yes

sweet toasted coconut hugs

vanilla oak, yum.

Opus One `98 (Oakville, CA):
a bad year undone
fruit, red and black, on oak

dear in all respects.

Twin Brook Cab. Franc (Pennsylvania):
wafting red berry
but tepid palate saddens
-
all hope is lost now.

`05 Rosso Piceno Tourquis Brunori (Marche, It):
sangiovese

joins montepulciano
kicking me to smile.

`04 Domaine André Bonhomme Viré-Clessé (Burgundy):
bourgeosie madam

proletariat nightspot
-
apricot, oak – class

NV Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle (Champagne):
fresh baked almond bread
with honey triumphs – grace and strength

my spirits soaring.

’03 Castello Banfi Rosso di Montalcino (Italy):
pour, sniff, slurp – again

cherries and leather greet me

with a warm embrace.

’06 Lorenzino Ettore Germano Dolcetto d’Alba (Italy):
cherries, tobacco
sing out harmoniously
-
could be livelier.

`05 Ravenswood Old Vines Zin (CA):
berry and spice nice

for the right amount of dough

haiku cannot rhyme

Cheers!

Fermentation’s 2008 American Wine Blog Awards (Rock the Vote!)

Vinted on February 19, 2008 binned in wine blogging


I would like to give a huge shout out of thanks to my readers for voting for me in the 2008 American Wine Blog Awards!

I have a great deal of respect for what Tom Wark is doing over at his Fermentation blog, especially his continued fight against monopolized wine shipping – there’s a passion that we both share!

Having said all that – I don’t think I’m eligible to receive any of the 2008 American Wine Blog Awards. According to Tom’s blog:

Any wine blog in existence between January 1, 2007 and the end of January 2008, that has produced at least 52 posts during that time and is written in English is eligible to be nominated...”

Technically, 1WineDude.com has been around almost that long, but not quite – since February 2007. And while the total number of posts in that time is close, it’s not quite 52. So it looks like I’m out on both counts.

Now, I can’t stop you from voting for / nominating me (and believe me, Dude appreciates the love – and the free publicity!), but I certainly hope I don’t discourage you from voting altogether even if I’m not in the running…

That’s because these awards are pretty much meaningless without your voices! Otherwise, it’s just a group of bloggers voting for / nominating each other, and personally I don’t want to write just for other bloggers (as nice and interesting as they are) – I’m doing this to reach everyday people who want to increase the fun in their lives by appreciating the world’s greatest beverage more.

So – get out there and vote. Personally, I’ve voted for Vinography.com for Best Wine Blog and Best Wine Blog Writing – for me, Alder (the site’s author) has set the standard in overall quality that I try to emulate on a daily basis (though certainly our styles are very, very different). I suppose you can call this my official endorsement of Vinography for the 2008 American Wine Blog Awards. You’re welcome, Alder! ;-)

The categories for 2008:

Now go out there and ROCK THE VOTE!

Cheers!

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