While I was in Portugal in May judging at the 2013 Wines of Portugal Challenge, I met a well-spoken and well-studied former Luftwaffe pilot named Axel Probst, who now provides one-on-one Port consultations (seriously, there’s a business for this in Europe, apparently).
Axel looks every inch like an air force pilot: well-mannered, calm, fit, nice hair, strong chin – the works (see pic in the list of judges from the competition). Like me, at forty-ish he’s semi-retired into the wine biz. I took to referring to him Axel as Herr Port (get it…? Mr. Port… Airport… former pilot… okay, you know what, go screw yourself!).
The reason I’m mentioning Herr Port today: in getting to know Axel and talking about his odd landing (ha!… sorry…) into the wine biz during my recent week in Portugal, is due to a realization on my part. Axel’s story is similar to many of those who have made up the list of finalists in the Best Single Subject Subject Wine Blog category of the wine blog awards through the last few years (though none of them are former Luftwaffe pilots, as far as I’m aware). It was the radiation that what all those just-mentioned souls have in common is actually the key thing when it comes to building authority on the topic of wine from the ground up. And it amazes me that so few people who say that they are interested in turning their self-published forays into wine coverage into something more serious are doing it.
These things are, for sure, more marathon (insert awesome `80s prog rock soundtrack here) than sprint, but if I were starting up in the wine world online tomorrow, and wanted to build an authoritative brand in as short amount of time as possible, here’s exactly how I’d go about it…
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The time has come once again for you to give your digitus secundus (that’s your index finger, by the way… you creep!…) a momentary workout by using it to click on your favorite finalists in the Wine Blog Awards voting, this being the 2013 version thereof.
I’ve got a long (in Internet time) history with the WBAs: I’ve been a winner, a criticizer, a judge, and an improvement-committee-member (yeah, I know, that last one does not quite roll mellifluously off the tongue, does it?). This year, I’m a finalist in the Best Overall Wine Blog category (thanks to the judges, and most especially to you for that!).
Please consider voting, as the recognition of hard work and efforts well-spent probably means a great deal to those who are among the finalists. Also, it’s the easiest way to fill your good karma quotient fit the day. And if you don’t vote, then the fleas of one thousand camels might infest your armpits [ editor’s note: this may not actually be true ].
You’re under no obligation to vote for me, of course, unless you want Ron Washam to lose a bet in which he will publicly sing classic Journey hits while wearing a baby costume – seriously, I swear that’s our bet! [ editor’s note: this may not actually be true ]. Whatever… look, just drink up and vote, okay? Following are the finalists in the Best Overall Wine Blog category:
Along with those mentioned above, there are some very interesting picks in the finalists across all of the various categories this year, and many of them are passionate and relatively new voices in the wine blogging crowd. Personally, I’m particularly pleased to also see academicwino.com, The Wine Curmudgeon, Hawk Wakawaka, Bigger Than Your Head, On The Wine Trail in Italy, Washington Wine Report, Jameson Fink, The Drunken Cyclist (despite his terrible taste in NFL franchises), and my Portuguese brother-from-another-mother Andre Rib also being recognized as finalists in various categories this year (though Andre’s listing was subsequently removed, for reasons not yet explained to me as of the time of this writing). If you aren’t familiar with them, go check them out.
Voting remains open through this Friday, May 24th, so… prevent bad karma flea-infestations and GO VOTE!
As for some personal thoughts on all of this WBA stuff (hey, it’s my blog after all)…
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Just a (very) quick hit today to let you know that the nominations for the 2013 Wine Blog Awards are now open, so head on over and submit your favorites for consideration. It might be the easiest route to upping your good karma that you’ll encounter today. Just sayin’…
Now, the WBAs have been both lauded and criticized, sometimes in the same article and sometimes right here on 1WD, but having had some involvement in how they work (both as a member of an advisory committee and as a judge) I can tell you that they’ve improved substantially in some way/shape/form every year that they’ve been in existence. The WBAs are a nice approving-nod-of-the-head from the wine blogging community and wine consumers (who are very often the same people!) to acknowledge those who are really getting it right when it comes to wine blogging. And all of that starts with your nominations.
The favorite sideshow spectacle of the WBAs sometimes seems to be moaning and groaning about which blogs weren’t included, but the simple fact is that ONLY blogs that are nominated can be considered. And so, similar to the don’t-botch-if-you-didn’t-vote argument, the best way to give your favorite wine websites a shot at winning an award – and avoid the sideshow – is to go and nominate them in the first place. Since multiple nominations don’t help (and only make for a bit more work for the WBA organizers), it’s highly recommended that you glance over the list of websites that have already been nominated before submitting your faves.
Cheers – and enjoy the good karma!