The blogosphere kind of blew up recently over a post by Ron Washam on his Hosemaster of Wine site:
Ron purports to have gotten a transcript of The Wine Bible’s author Karen MacNeil’s upcoming presentation at the Wine Blogger Conference. If you are familiar at all with Mr. Washam, you know that nothing and no one are safe from his biting wit, and this time he took a pretty good swipe at the multitude of wine bloggers out there. His “biting wit” did seem to offend at least one well known wine writer, Tom Wark of Fermentation, who posted a rebuttal:
I recommend reading both posts as well as the readers’ comments below them. I think they both make some valid points and they got me thinking about the value of all the wine writing that is out there on the worldwide web.
The issue was brought home to me even more forcibly by an incident at a wine festival that we at Eve’s Wine 101 had actively promoted. My wife Karen and I attended the festival and I was pleased to see how successful it appeared to be. Near the end of the day, I was hot and tired and looking to taste at one final table before switching over to H2O for the last hour or so. So, I stopped at one last pouring station. The nice lady representing the winery [let’s call it “Winery 1”] and I were having a discussion about Eve’s Wine 101. She asked if we were wine bloggers. I replied that to a certain extent we were but we also promote events, such as this one. At that point, a gentlemen from another winery [“Winery 2”] who happened to be trying Winery 1’s wines commented: “You’re just here for free wine.” I replied: “Well, actually, we worked really hard promoting this event” to which he responded “Bullsh-t, you’re just here for the free wine.” I took my Eve’s Wine 101 card out of my pocket and tried to hand it to him, saying: “You know, I actually really like your wines. Please take my card. I’d love to talk to you sometime about what we actually do.” He said: “I know what you do. You’re here for free wine.”
This made me wonder: How are we perceived, not only by wineries but by our readers?
Eve’s Wine 101 started out as a wine blog, founded by Eve Bushman, and it was her hard work that enabled it to expand beyond a blogsite and into what I like to refer to as a “wine information and education website.” And the credibility that Eve created with the evewine101.com site enabled her to expand to Eve Bushman Consulting to provide promotion and consulting services to wine and non-wine oriented businesses.
But the heart-and-soul of Eve’s Wine 101 for me will always go back to the writing. We, like a myriad of other like-minded “wine bloggers”, put in untold hours writing about wineries we visit and events we attend and social network the heck out of them in the process. “Free wine”? I don’t think so.
Now, I have no illusions about the quality of my writing or the power of my pen. While I do my best to bring attention to wineries and events that I feel our readers should know about, I can’t say for sure how much attention my writing gets. Other than a select few wine writers, I don’t think any one writer carries that much influence anymore. But, when you look at the collective whole, I think there is an impact.
But, I’d be really interested to get feedback from our readers on this topic. And for the wineries, I’d love to know how you really do feel about the wine bloggers. Are they important to you and how do you determine which ones have credibility? Obviously, I know of at least one winery representative who is not a fan. No worries, “gentleman from Winery 2”, I won’t be bothering you.
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org