New Label, Same Plonk (Are Wine Bloggers Going Maintream? Already?)

Vinted on February 20, 2009 binned in about 1winedude blog, commentary, wine blogging

This is an article about wine blogging.

Yeah, I know… at least I saved it for Friday when most people (myself included) head offline to mingle and sip in the “real” world (translation: my traffic stats take a dive).

Topic the First: What happened to ?

First, those of you visiting will (hopefully, anyway, depending on your level of sobriety at the time) have noticed that the site is now hosted at totally new digs.

But it’s the same old Dude.  New Label, Same Plonk!

I’ve tried, in what for me is a very non-lazy, industrious way – to minimize the disruption to you, my readers.  What this means is that all of the old articles, posts, and comments have been migrated over to the new digs, and you e-mail subscribers out there should be receiving new update with no disruption.

What is doesn’t mean is that links to previous articles will translate automatically to their new digs counterparts.  Hey, I said I tried to minimze the disruption in a way that was industrious for me.  If you can figure out a way to link up the old and new posts that won’t cost me any more time, money, or frustration, then I’m all ears, bro’!

Aside from the new look, the Comments engine has been totally replaced, and I’m trying to setup automatic updates that will provide a weekly summary post of my twitter wine mini-reviews.  Should be fun!

At some point (soon), the previous address will forward here.  When I get around to it, that is (in other words, when I figure out the redirection code).

Anyway – suggestions for the new site?  Comments?  Shout ’em out!

Topic the Second: Are Wine Bloggers Already Going Mainstream?

My intention is not to lose friends with this post, but I do expect some feathers to be ruffled on this next topic.

A recent episode of the fine radio program Wine Biz Radio caused my ears to perk up Underdog-style when I heard them discussing a venture by wine & technology think-tank group VinTank.

VinTank is in the process of compiling a Social Media report for the wine industry.  Not that big of a deal, really – unless you happen to be a wine blogger.  According to Open Wine Consortium mastermind, Wine Bloggers Conference co-founder, and VinTank member Joel Vincent:

“In order to create an overall picture of the wine “Social Media”
landscape, [VinTank] will establish a directory of which micro-publishers
(blogs) are interesting and worth wineries spending time with as well
as evaluating “social networking” sites related to wines in order to
enable the mapping of their particular strengths to a wineries business
objectives and strategic marketing plan.

In other words, the VinTank survey and report will concentrate on wine blogs.  My thoughts on hearing this were myriad and conflicted, but in summary can be boiled down to the following statement:

It’s about time.

According to the Wine Biz Radio broadcast, not all wine bloggers share my viewpoint on this.  Apparently, the reaction of a room full of wine bloggers upon hearing that they would be the subject of social media report was a mixture of suspicion and shock.

Which I find sad.  I mean, honestly – bloggers spend most of their time examining and then writing their opinions about the work of others (wineries, traditoinal wine media outlets, etc., etc.), and we balk (even if slightly) at the idea of someone examining us?  That would make us all too similar to the mainstream media that we like to verbally disembowel  on a semi-regular basis.

New Label, Same Plonk!

The reaction I heard described on Wine Biz Radio was old school.  MainstreamNot what bloggers should be shooting for right now.

Ironies aside, this kind of reaction is not going to positively reinforce the strong credibility and influence that wine blogging is gaining in the wine world.  Without the kind of work being performed by VinTank, how should we expect the wine industry to get a better handle on that budding new influence?

What’s good for the goose, as they say…

I expect quite a few people to disagree with me here.  But… if you’re a wine bloger seething at these words, just do me the courtesy of looking at it this way:

If a traditional wine mag reacted to this in the same way that some wine bloggers have, you’d be all over it.  And not in a good way.

Bottom line: Wine bloggers are now a force within the wine industry.  We will be scrutinized.  Get used to it!






  • Andrew

    Loving the new look dude – and I had no problem with filling out the report a few days ago

  • Gabriella Opaz

    I agree with Andrew, I find the new look cleaner, sharper, and dare I say, more professional looking ;-) while still expressing your personality in its funky design. Well done!

  • Scott MIlhous

    Very interesting post. As a fairly new wine blogger at I worry that the small guys like me might get totally flushed out. As a businessman though I understand how helpful this could be for the entire community.

  • RandyHall

    My diminutive friend, how the heck are ya? First off, thanks for listening! :-D

    Yes, indeed, we talked about the reaction *some* wine bloggers had to the VinTank report (and overall scrutiny); I called attention to that exactly because we wanted to let all youse guys know that in aggregate, wine bloggers are definitely a force to be reckoned with. Some wine bloggers are like, "meh", some are incensed, and some welcome the change that's sweeping over the genre.

    I for one plant myself firmly in YOUR court, Joe. This is good for wine bloggers and good for the industry.

  • RandyHall

    Oh, and as for the look, love the overall feel, but I think you could've used a three column layout to shorten up the page somewhat, your left column just keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeps goooooooooooooooing…

  • RobBralow

    And now I'm testing the IntenseDebate feature you have here (I hope you don't mind!). I thought it was a good idea.

  • RandyHall

    Yeah, on the topic of IntenseDebate: I was wondering why you (Joe) went with this instead of Disqus. They seem to offer similar features (except this has community moderation features which look quite nice indeed). Thumbs up/down always make me feel kinda funny inside.

  • 1WineDude

    Interestingly, default comments on my new WordPress digs weren't working properly, and I didn't like the behavior of the defaults anyway so I started looking for alternatives. I couldn't get Disqus to work on my install of WordPress (Dale Cruse and I may be trying to re-install in the not too distant future), so I tired ID and so far, so good!

  • 1WineDude

    Professional? Me? Scary…. :-)

  • 1WineDude

    Thanks all for the feedback on the new digs and on the commentary.

    I agree that this type of survey presents a risk for smaller, budding, new wine blogs – what if based on small initial traffic PR types and wineries ignore the little guy?

    But having said that… we're *all* little guys in a way when it comes to wine blogging. It's the cumulative impact of the whole group that makes the bigger splash in the wine world – ignoring smaller blogs therefore is done at the peril of the PR types…

  • 1WineDude

    Yeah, I know… conscious decision, believe it or not. The 3 col. layouts I liked all had a big flaw (for me, anyway): the area for the content was relatively small. I really want the content itself to be the focus on the page, not the sidebars.

  • Paul Mabray

    Joe, Great new look and feel and thanks for your words of support. It has been a very fun and exciting project and I can't wait to share the results of the report.

  • 1WineDude

    Thanks, Paul. Just make me look good in the report. Ok, just kidding. Maybe be just send me some wine instead…

  • Nancy

    Wow. Scrutiny for wine blogs? Where do I sign?

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Nancy. Not sure I'd call it scrutiny so much as additional insight into the influence of wine bloggers (at least, I sure hope that's what they're aiming for!).

  • Ken Payton

    Your new site looks great.

  • 1WineDude

    Thanks, Ken!

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