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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I need to preface today’s announcement by saying I have no idea why I was picked as judge for the 2011 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Award. The (most) ironic thing about my selection is that I’ve yet to publish a wine book. So… I’m as surprised as you are about the whole thing.
Anyway, here it is: I’ve been asked to be one of the four judges for the 2011 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Award. And I accepted, because being a judge for this just seems f*cking cool, doesn’t it? Also, it’s a paying gig (god bless ‘em!).
If you’ve written a wine book this year, you can forget about hounding me incessantly and promising me signed Hines Ward jerseys in exchange for my vote: for one, I am (alas) not taking bribes; for another, I think I’d prefer a Troy Polamalu jersey now that I think about it; but most importantly, the deadline to enter books for consideration already passed. In fact, the submissions were culled down to a short-list of finalists before I ever saw any books. I’m poring over the seven books that made the finalist cut right now, and it’s stiff competition – there are some fantastic releases in the not-insignificantly-sized-and-weightier-than-expected pile of books sent to me to judge.
Before you ask, I’m holding off listing any of the books here just yet, becasue the finalists will be announced and notified in May, and the winner (c’mon, say it Charlie-Sheen-style! WINNER!!!) will be announced in May and presented with their award at Duboeuf’s annual Beaujolais Crus preview in New York on May 24, 2011.
For a sense of how well the award represents the best of wine publishing in any given year, past winners of the award include some downright fantastic tomes (several of which have been featured on these virtual pages in some way/shape/form): Randall Grahm’s Been Doon So Long, What To Drink With What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page, Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine, and both Wine For Dummies and Champagne For Dummies. That’s a pretty impressive list.
I’m looking forward to torturing the poor souls who authored these books and constantly reminding them of the power I will wield over their work learning some new things about the wine world from the finalists, and then gnashing my teeth Old Testament style as I agonize over which one to pick for the award. A full write-up of my conclusions on each of the books, including my personal faves among them and details on how I voted, will be covered in gory detail right here after the awards are finalized and a winner is picked. Also, I now have extra copies of some of these books… which means those posts will also feature some giveaway action… Stay tuned…!
In today’s episode, you get highlights from wine personality and social media / business guru Gary Vaynerchuk‘s keynote speech at the synthetic cork producer Nomacorc-sponsored "Marketing to the Next Generation of Wine Consumers" conference that took place in Napa last week (at the beautiful Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena). They are things the wine industry probably doesn’t want to hear – but they desperately need to hear them.
I was part of panel at the event, in which we riffed on the main themes espoused by Gary in his fantastic keynote speech (which delivered some much-needed stern messages to the Napa wine industry – for a distillation of some of those messages, check out my article later this week on the Wines.com blog). If anyone who attended still thinks that Gary isn’t the real deal after his keynote, then they have their heads shoved into a part of their anatomy that requires a belly-button-window installation for them to see what’s really going on. Most importantly, Gary also finally admits that I am a handsome man (though I refrained from asking him to sign my chest as one male attendee did – thankfully I did NOT get that on video).
In today’s vid (at the 10:10 mark) I interview Gary about his new book, The Thank You Economy (a book that, well, crushes his previous release Crush It! and is Seth-Godin-level good – and will certainly further brighten his already-nearly-blindingly-brilliant star in the social media space). I also get his take on how different wine regions of the world are performing in terms of engaging their customers (hint: not well).
Enjoy (and make sure to get Gary’s new app at DailyGrape.com while you’re at it)!
By the way… Nomacorc makes a synthetic wine bottle closure that you can actually extract pretty easily with a corkscrew, so if I were a natural cork producer I’d be worried right now(although in that case I’d already be worried, having lost gobs of market share in the last few years because my product has something like a 2% failure rate… whatever…).