OK, Everyone, Remain Calm And Have Another Sip (Wine Website Ranking Madness)

Vinted on December 8, 2015 binned in commentary, wine blogging
Excel Wines Top 100 Wine BLogs 2015

image: ExelWines.co.uk

Ok, everyone… calm down.

Pour another glass of something nice.

Have a sip. Relaaaaax.

Feeel zeee tension leeeaaaving your body…

Every once in a while, we get a roundup/list/ranking of wine websites, and then oscillate between being happy for some of the sites on the list, and getting bent out of shape about the ones that aren’t on it (or taking issue with the reasons/methodology/stats behind the construction of said list).

The latest is an attempt at measuring and ranking wine blog influence by a Scottish wine purveyor, Exel Wines.

For me, it’s great to see so many passionate people’s excellent wine-centric websites included. Other than the additional bit of exposure that it brings to those websites, and the potential for discovering some new (to you) and interesting (to you) wine blogs listed therein, I think that the following popular Internet meme/graphic accurately sums up how much of a f*ck most of you ought to be giving these lists in general:

field of f*cks

The fine art of not giving a f*ck

Now, if I were a wine PR-type person, I’d be writing Exel Wines with all haste, and thanking them for doing part of my job for me (in making a current snapshot of the potential reach of some of the major English-language wine blogs out there… just sayin’).

But I’m not a wine PR-type person, and I’ll just be thankful that I was included and leave it at that. I don’t actually understand all of the criteria used to formulate the latest list, but it at least looks as though some time and effort went into it. Ok, so I’m not actually leaving it at that… get over it!

Folks, before you allow any such lists to get under your skin (positively or negatively), please realize that these lists/rankings/etc. are not going anywhere. That’s because lists in general are not going anywhere. The Internet loves lists because people love lists; in fact, there’s compelling evidence suggesting that we are hard-wired to love them.

Bear in mind also that popularity-based lists tell us about potential reach/exposure, but do not tell us about audience engagement. One size doesn’t fit all, particularly for a niche topic like wine. If as a consumer you want to find your next favorite wine blog, or as someone in the biz want to identify the best wine blogs to which you should pitch your wine, these lists are a nice starting point, but are not a shortcut to actually doing the homework and taking a detailed look at the actual sites on the list. Sorry, there are no shortcuts for that.

So, let us not sow our fields with fvcks, but instead treat these lists as a nice bit of recognition for the hard work being done by some talented tasters, writers, and community builders.

To them I say: Congratulations! Now, go make us all proud to have supported you, and continue to make us give a fvck!






  • the drunken cyclist

    The sceptic in me says that these lists are created with one goal in mind: to drive traffic to the site. To wit: had you ever heard of Exel Wines (notice correct spelling ;-0) before this list? I know I hadn’t….

    • the drunken cyclist

      And then I go and spell skeptic incorrectly….

    • 1WineDude

      Ack! Sorry for the misspelling… correcting…

      As for your septic skeptic… :) …yeah, I had the same thought. But then, they did go through some trouble in putting the data together so it’s not a completely arbitrary list (I’ll give them some props for that, at least).

  • Kat

    Lists, lists, lists….I’ll admit the lists are useful when searching out other wine blogs/sites to read and investigate. I don’t put much stock in the ratings, though. They’re all subjective…just like rating wine. Ha! However, it is nice to be included so congrats. :)

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Kat. In this case, there is some objectivity in that there’s a calculation that determines the list placement, with input from the sources that they cited at Exel. Now it could certainly be argued that the decisions on what to include for those inputs was subjective…

  • Alleigh

    I agree with your assessment that these lists aren’t the be-all-to-end-all, as well as the fact that it had the extra benefit of driving traffic to Exel’s site…but it’s still nice to be included. I saw a bump in traffic that is clearly related, as well as have a number of new subscribers to my RSS feed through Feedly. Who knows if I would have reached those people any other way, but the fact that they now subscribe is important because those individuals didn’t just check out the blog, but rather they intend to be regular readers. And that, is what keeps us bloggers going…

    • 1WineDude

      Alleigh – nice to see that you received some benefit from the exposure.

  • Beth

    I have received more traffic and more PR emails from being on the the list. The jury is still out regarding the latter. Ha ha. I am new to being on any lists and I thought being on a list with you and others I respect was cool. But, it’s still just a list of many lists floating around out there. I agree that it’s a list of ” talented tasters, writers, and community builders.” Building community and camaraderie is what makes this even more fun.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Beth – well said; and I’m glad that you got some benefit from it!

  • Ron Washam, HMW

    Every year about this time someone publishes a list of influential wine bloggers, and every clown on the list writes about it. I’ve never been on one, so they must be accurate. However, I do know that if you are looking for more traffic, do your best to be threatened with a lawsuit.

    • 1WineDude

      Ron, your absence calls the entire list into question, IMO. As for lawsuits – no thanks, I’ve been serving up enough of those against my ex to last me for quite some time, so I’ll have to pass!

      • Ron Washam, HMW

        1WineDoody, I’m not influential, I’m effluential. Ask anybody.

        • 1WineDude

          Whatever, Ron… you have the best kind of influence, the kind where the people who get all of the glory and money talk about how awesome you are! ;)

  • John

    They say it’s a honor to be nominated, but it sucks to be shut out. My humble blog yearns to be less humble, and get some of this delicious recognition. It seems that traffic/readership isn’t the key. How did you (or others on this list) break through the noise and get to the next level.

    Thanks and Cheers!

    • John

      So spelling is one critical element. My profile has the URL misspelled. It should read WineTastingBliss.com. Sorry for the dyslexia.

    • 1WineDude

      John, in my case, I worked my ass off for three years before anyone really noticed or gave a crap.

      • John

        Thanks for the reply, #1. I’m just impatient I guess. Or working on the wrong things. Happy holidays!

        • 1WineDude

          John – probably just impatient (a state of affairs with which I’m all too familiar). Cheers!

  • James B

    I don’t put much faith in these website ranking lists and often don’t listen to the eminent Champagne/wine reviewers although Tom Stevenson is usually bang on the money.

    For example, my tastes differ wildly to someone like Janis Robinson who’s ranked extremely highly. She seems to think that Bollinger and Lanson produce good very Rose Champagnes but my experience is to the contrary. Bollinger’s Rose NV is absolutely hateful – no champagne should ever taste like a chilled, fizzy red wine and the sharp tannin, astringent aftertaste is incredibly distracting and not especially pleasant. As for Lanson and their Rose NV, the words ‘completely unremarkable’ spring to mind.

    Robinson also dislikes Joseph Perrier particularly the Josephine Cuvee so I worry about her taste especially when she’s waxed lyrical about Champagnes that aren’t all that special.

    Other highly regarded champagne buffs like Richard Julin are obviously so spoilt by incredibly expensive old Krug Collections, Krug Clos D’Ambonnay, old clos du Mesnil vintages, Dom Oenothèque, and exceptionally old Salon Vintages that he’s obviously stopped living in the real world.

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