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Born Digital: Some Of Our Children Are Ugly (What Wine Writing Awards Mean)

Vinted on June 15, 2011 under going pro, wine blogging

The ugly child to which I refer in the title being me, of course.  Hey, even in the on-line wine writing world, not all of those who are “born digital” can be handsome, I’m afraid.

I recently (ok, somewhat recently – times are busy, people!) ”took the bronze” in the 2010 Born Digital Wine Awards, in which a story I wrote on the wines of Greek isle of Santorini (Endangered Species: Santorini Wine Fights for Its Survival) was chosen as a finalist in the Wine Tourism category (somewhat ironically I suppose, since one could make an argument that it’s an anti-tourism piece).  This got me a gift certificate to Amazon.com, and a nod from Jancis Robinson (as well as a subscription to her Purple Pages, which I’m looking forward to viewing once I get thirty or more uninterrupted seconds to myself, probably sometime in early October at the rate things are going now).

That, along with some kind nominations for the 2011 Wine Blog Awards (big THANKS to those who nominated me, by the way!), have put wine writing awards front-and-center in my mind lately.  As in, re-pondering what wine writing awards really mean, man.  And what I’ve learned through all of the re-pondering is that I’m not sure what they really mean (but, as usual, that won’t stop me from talking about them!)

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Wine Blog Awards 2011: Nominate For Good Karma

Vinted on May 27, 2011 under wine blogging, wine industry events

Ok, I cannot, as the title suggests, guarantee the receipt of good karma if you participate in the nomination process for the 2011 Wine Blog Awards.  As I understand those things, only Deepak Chopra has the power to do that.  But nominating might make you feel good, both in terms of having your voice heard and in supporting your fave on-line wine writers.

2011 marks the 5th year of the awards, and while they’ve grown-up quite a bit, the overall power-to-the-people process has remained fairly consistent: you (yes, that’s you) go to wineblogawards.org and nominate which wine blogs you’d like to see considered as finalists in each of eight categories (Best Wine Blog Graphics, Photography, & Presentation; Best Industry/Business Wine Blog; Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog; Best Single Subject Wine Blog; Best Winery Blog; Best Writing On a Wine Blog; Best New Wine Blog; and Best Overall Wine Blog).  Judges will vet the nominations and announce a list of finalists in each category on or about June 20, after which the public can vote to determine the winners.

I had the honor and quite humbling experience of winning the award in the Best Overall Wine Blog category last year, so I feel a sort of ambassador-like obligation to return the good karma and encourage you to nominate your fave wine blogs today (nominations close May 31, so hurry the hell up already!).  Somebody get Deepak on the phone please, I’m having a moment here, people!

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Born Digital, Buried In Content (The 2010 Born Digital Wine Awards)

Vinted on May 9, 2011 under about 1winedude blog, wine 2.0, wine blogging

The good news for wine lovers is that there’s a ton of wine-related content on the ‘global interwebs,’ much of it available for free (because content is a commodity now, people).  The bad news is, not all of that content is reading that would appeal to a wider audience (wider than the friends and family of many of those writing the content, that is) – that’s not at all meant as a dig at the vast majority of wine blogs that act as personal journals chronicling passionate consumers’ journeys into the amazing world of wine; it’s just the truth in terms of how much of that content is presented and targeted (trust me, not too many people would want to read my personal journals… but the point is that a small group of people close to me might).

The better news is that, for those looking for the most surfable waves among the vast oceans of on-line wine content, the judges for the 2010 Born Digital Wine Awards have done a great job of vetting some superb individual pieces of that content for you. You can thank them later (I recommend flowers, because those people get a ton of wine already).

The Born Digital Awards program is brainchild of Gabriella and Ryan Opaz along with Robert McIntosh, who together have started building up an impressive set of wine-related media ventures in Europe.  The idea was to build on the success of the Wine Blog Awards in highlighting outstanding wine-related websites, but with a Pulitzer-style twist: focusing on individual pieces of content (video and writing), and awarding actual cash to the winners.  I don’t know anything about the judging process itself beyond what’s already been published at borndigitalwineawards.com, but I do know that the list of judges contains some pretty amazing wine writing talent.

The finalists in each of the award categories were published last week, and the winners will be announced on May 18th at 5:30 PM ET, streamed live from the London International Wine Fair.  I’m humbled to be among the short-listed finalists (go ahead… make the height jokes… you jerks…), but that’s not why I’m talking about the awards here.  I’m talking about the awards because I wanted to post the entire list of links to the short-listed finalists below (after the jump) – there’s just some great f*cking content in the list, and if you’re into wine it’s a treasure-trove of cool-ass shiz to read.

WARNING: You may get tired of seeing Blake Gray’s and Alder Yarrow’s names in the list, as they’re each finalists for something like 900 of the categories (ok… two…).  In all seriousness, those guys are friends of mine (as are several of the other finalists, actually) and I’m happy to see their stellar writing included in the list (and even happier to be included in any list with those guys).

Now get reading (and watching)… and enjoy!…

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New Wine Column Hits The Global Interwebs (or “Holy Crap, Jeff Lefevere is writing for Forbes.com!!!”)

Vinted on May 3, 2011 under wine blogging, wine news

HOLY CRAP!

And I mean that in the best possible way, which is to say that it’s not the same “holy crap!” that I exclaim when our recently-acquired rescue “dog” (dog is in quotes because he’s closer in size to a small horse) dumps on our carpet every other day.

No, this is the kind of “holy crap!” that’s shorthand for “OMG that is so f*cking AWESOME! A++++,” the kind of feeling the wiseguys in Goodfellas had when they thought that Tommy DeVito was getting made (now that I think about it, I really hope that this doesn’t actually turn out the same way as it did for Tommy…).

Anyway, my reaction, which carries my typical levels of subtlety (i.e., all the subtlety of an cheesy action flick in which someone drives an eighteen-wheeler full of nitro glycerin off of the Grand Canyon) is in response to the news that my friend (and one of the most insightful people that I’ve ever met), Jeff Lefevere, the voice behind GoodGrape.com, is now writing the wine column for the Forbes.com blog.

Another friend of mine (I like making friends), Steve Heimoff, blogged about this happening yesterday, and when commenting on Steve’s well-thought-out post it occurred to me that Jeff’s new stint stands as reminder of how powerful social media tools are when wielded by talented and powerful enough hands. They can land you at Forbes – not a bad neighborhood, people!

Jeff’s writing style is about as perfect a chocolate-meets-peanut-butter match for Forbes.com as anyone could reasonably hope, and while I’m sure he doesn’t need it, I’m offering up all of the support and positive-good-vibes I can muster for him in his new endeavor.  I’m pretty sure the Forbes.com readership is gonna love him, and  I’m looking forward to seeing where Jeff takes things from here – not just as a friend, but as a fan.

Cheers!

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