Whining about wineblogging:What’s the Point?

I got a comment recently that I found quite amusing. Seems another wineblogger was taking me to task for attending an event sponsored by a wine company, enjoying it and writing a fun post about it.

at a recent wine dinner

What I think he’s missing is that wineblogging has evolved. It’s about more than a wine review,  it’s about the enjoyment of wine, sharing my own personal opinion of the wine, the experiences and the stories surrounding it. Wine is still perceived as very intimidating by most people. I hope to help people connect with a wine and putting a story and/or a face behind the wine makes it that much less scary and that much more enjoyable . It’s also about being involved with other bloggers and the blogging community, it’s  about a conversation between like-minded people and being part of a community. My blog is about  my experiences with wine, what I think of it and the lifestyle that goes with it.

It’s normal and indeed industry practice for journalists to attend industry sponsored events. And write about them.  Why should things be different for bloggers? Sure this is controlled, but I choose the events that I go to, choosing those that specifically  interest me and that will be interesting for people to read. Let’s face it, if I started writing rubbish, well then noone would read my blog. And that has not been the case.

I love what I am doing, so much so that I left my job in the wine industry to become a poorly paid freelance wine blogger so that I could immerse myself fully in this new career. And why not? My finances (well most peoples finances) wouldn’t normally allow me to attend as many events or trips as I do but as everyone in the wine (food, hospitality, etc)  business knows, that’s why there are such things as press trips and events sponsored by wineries, samples, etc., to bring the world of wine to my readers who are most likely cash rich but time poor. The smaller wineries in particular benefit from blogs in that they don’t have the budget for flashy marketing campaigns. This doesn’t mean they don’t make good wine. A lot of them make great wine but they just don’t have the money for massive campaigns. I am happy to be able to give them a voice. They are able reach the consumer, and my readers by inviting journalists and bloggers to experience their wines and this gives them a voice they might otherwise not have.

In my opinion, wine is something to be enjoyed and shared with friends, it just so happens that many of my friends are bloggers. I think my readers follow my blog because they enjoy my adventures in wine and what I think of the wines that I have enjoyed and recommend. Certainly from their comments that seems to be true.  If they want a  wine review with a number attached to it there are plenty of blogs out there doing that.  There’s more then enough room in the blogosphere for all types of wine, wine writers and wine bloggers. I see myself and my blog as a chronicle of a fun loving, Mexican American, living in London, who is not only quite knowledgeable about wine but loves it, knows how to enjoy it and wants to share my wine experiences.

As I said earlier, if you want just a wine review there are plenty of other sources out there. Don’t read my blog however, because you won’t find that here. Here you’ll find a lot more….if you’re curious about MY vinous opinions and adventures in  London (and sometimes beyond), then pop on by, this blog is open 24/7.

I get by with a little help from my friends

35 Comments

  1. Love your blog Denise, and love even more being part of your wine and food adventures! I will miss you as you travel around South America without me in November!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

    • What a shame you cannot come with me to South America, I will miss you as well. Looking forward to dinner on Saturday! :D

  2. You know my history on this sort of subject. But at the end of the day, I’ve come around to the fact that my blog is my blog. I write about what I want to write about. It entertains me, and I hope that’s why readers keep coming back. Keep doing what you do, D! And do it well and honestly. That’s all you need to worry about.

    • Cheers, Krista! Glad to hear from you guys on the other side of the pond. Like I told Niamh, if it stops being fun, then I won’t do it any more.

  3. BrixChick_Liza /

    From your US Fan CLub—don’t ever stop! You have super fun, informative content all about the adventure of wine in exotic London! We Love you here at brixchicks! (Plus you share your sparklers! Yum!)

    • Thanks, chicks! I love my US fans too and really want to come and visit soon. I’ve finally gotten all my passport stuff sorted out and I’m way overdue a trip home, hopefully sometime in the new year. I’ll definitely bring more sparklers with me. Have you ever heard of Nyetimber? YUM! esp. the 2001 :)

  4. You go girl (in my best Cali valley girl accent!). Well said, it’s so much more interesting to read a blog about a wine with a story behind it than a droning review of tasting notes and/or facts about a region or producer. I’ve also found by my writing about a lesser known wine, it ends up coming up more on Google, so power to the little people! Keep on doin’ what your doin’. xx

    • You’re absolutely right, Christina, re:less known wines plus isn’t it more interesting to read about those wines and it’s a heck of a lot more fun! On my recent trip to Italy, i discovered some true gems and can’t wait to finish writing them up. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you soon! xx

  5. I agree with many of your points. I am a bit worried about wine producers marketing via wine bloggers. However if you would buy their wine anyway I do not see a problem in writing about them. I myself have a blog and sometimes get a bottle or taste for free at the wineries I like to visit. But as I said I would not go to the place if the wine was not up to scratch… However if something arrives in the post box who you have not heard of before, it could be an influence.

    Having said that I have read your blog before and do find it a better read than someone saying “good wine – 18 out of 20″, because that tells me very little…

  6. Great blog post Denise. Carry on with what you’re doing in the way that you’re doing it. You’re a wonderful person, who has carved out a real niche for yourself, yet you do this with passion, enthusiasm and honesty. In addition, you do this in a very fun and down-to-earth way, which could never be mis-construed as intimidating. Be yourself and natural.

    I love to use this quote on these occasions: “Don’t let someone else’s success diminish you or make you feel jealous. Let it inspire you instead.” – Steve Pavlina

    • Great quote, Robert! I’ll have to remember that one :) As I said, there is plenty of room in the blogosphere for everybody and as you said, I’ve carved out my little niche but there’s lots more just waiting to be discovered. Thanks for stopping by! :D

  7. Jessica /

    You are so right! The whole idea for me is to convince people to try something they aren’t familiar with. I love finding little gems and introducing them to others. I don’t get paid for what I do, neither do I get expenses. My most expensive piece was on English wines where I visited vineyards or ordered and paid for wine myself just to write a good piece on it. It highlighted local growers and got to the heart of some family industries. However, if I did that more than a couple times a year, I’d be completely broke. Stay strong! We need people like you.

    • Wow, Jessica, thanks so much! It gladdens my heart to get support from people like you. And great to hear from other female winebloggers as well. I admire you for doing it out of your own pocket,unfortunately, somebody else has got my trust fund – I’m still trying to hunt the bastards down! In the meantime, I’ll have to carry on with the freelancing. Thanks for stopping by :)

  8. Personally I think the UK wine blogging sphere is as dynamic and as interesting as it can get. It has certainly moved on from bloggers just writing for other bloggers; and I love reading about your trips and experiences just as much as I do writing about mine (this is the point where you say how marvellous you find my blog to, by the way ;-) )

    What I dont like are the self-styled blogging police – if you dont like what Denise or anyone writes on their blog then dont read it. It is not for you to question ones ethics for people are not stupid and can smell an advertorial a mile away.

    I have found, as I think you have, that wine blogs need more than just tasting notes (I have done plenty in my time) and the trips we are offered, the dinners we are luckily invited to and so on, do help us in continuing our wine learning and, I hope, offering the wine-interested readership equal enjoyment and pointers to a decent food match for example, which vineyards to visit etc

    As you state wine blogging has moved on, one of the reasons I started the secret wine tastings, was to progress away from the staid, traditional approach and get everyone involved in having a little fun!

    • Ha- too right about the self styled blog police! As if we aren’t watched enough already ;)

      I think your secret wine tastings are great and it’s marvelous that you encourage non-bloggers to participate as well, although I sense that we can get a bit too geeky for them, they can always have another piece of cake! I remember when I first started blogging that you were one of the few friendly voices out there, thankfully, the wine blogosphere in the UK has expanded and I think in general, with a few exceptions, we are all very supportive of each other. You’ve even gotten me to come round to grudgingly drinking South African wines!

      Thanks for stopping by and I do read your fantastic, beautifully photographed (actually, your new camera is taking amazing pics) blog religiously -now, could you please correct the spelling of my name in your ARSE 2 post from Densie to Denise, pretty please?? ;)

  9. oh wait do get it…(quite early my time)
    like your points on wine blogging as a more than just solely on wine…and the community around it all

  10. denise, i dont get it…
    were they miffed with you writing about a sponsored event??

  11. Couldn’t agree more – wine blogging is about something completely different to straight wine reviews. See what you think of our own, somewhat idiosyncratic approach on the Sediment blog at http://www.sedimentblog.com

  12. Hi Denise,

    I like the post a lot and agree with pretty much all of it, however for me it poses a couple of questions;

    Firstly, by the terms that you define yourself as a food blogger, would you consciously avow the descriptor of wine critic. It’s something I find myself mulling on quite a lot. I’m quite dependent on the generosity of suppliers and producers, more so now that I don’t buy wine professionally, as well as this, many are friends. So I find myself, wanting to leave out comments, or not to mention wines or tastings that I’ve been quite unimpressed with. While I appreciate that he’s not so much of an influence now, I love the ethical stance the Parker takes, though the world was a lot cheaper when he started out (and he had pretty good capital from the get go).

    Secondly, as regards the influence we have? I often worry that vibrant as the wine blogging scene is, the majority of people who read it are wine trade, or other bloggers, and hence very well informed anyway. Do we really have a noticeable effect on the visibility of smaller growers who may or may not have limited advertising budgets. Or are we fooling ourselves, and the mere fact that there are so many of us bloggers out attending tastings means that smaller producers trying to show their wines to the world get lost in a morass of blogs where it’s equally hard for them to be heard. In short are we, actually making it arder for smaller people to make their budgets go far.
    I appreciate that these are both slightly negative points, and personally I think that the world we have with lots of bloggers keeping their eyes out on what’s happening is far and away the best one. But they’re issues I can’t quite shake off.

    regards

    Donald

    • Hi Donald, Looks like both your comments made it into the blog, although they were in my spam comments for some reason. Anyway, I’m reposting what I wrote to you because I think you did bring up some valid points. So, here is my rather lengthy reply to you….

      I don’t consider myself a food blogger but food and wine go hand in hand and I think it’s foolish to talk about wine and not mention food. I’m first and foremost a wine blogger but there are so many other things surrounding wine that you can’t help but write about them. Well, I can’t anyway because I think it’s about the whole experience not just the wine itself. Otherwise, we’d just all be drunks! As for negative comments, I tend to write about stuff I like just because I know how hard it is to make wine and all the effort that goes into a bottle. I used to do negative posts but that’s not really what my blog is about. I’d rather just not mention it. I might mention a wine or up and coming wine region and give my assessment of it which could be negative but I try to be constructive in my criticism. As I said, if you (not you personally) want a straight up wine review, go somewhere else.

      As regards influence. I see it as a ripple effect. We might not see the ripples hit the beach but they do none the less. I have people who write to me who are not in the trade and ask me questions all the time both in emails and on twitter so I think that I do have some influence on people’s wine buying decisions. My blog also comes up pretty high on google for specific types of wines that are not commonly drunk because I write about not-the-usual-suspects.

      As for small producers, I see nothing wrong with all of us attending tastings, if anything it gets them mentioned and google can find them easier. I don’t think they get lost, if anything, the more people writing about it, the better for them, they’re getting more exposure which is just what they want. Thanks for stopping by and I do appreciate your comments. Sorry I missed you last nite but was at another event. Hope to run into you soon!

  13. Hear hear Denise! You’re doing a great job, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  14. Great post! I totally agree. I love your blog and look at it for wine choices because I know I like the wines you recommended and you write in an interesting way.
    I actually started my blog for myself and I’m just honoured that people read it from time to time.
    Its great that you enjoy writing and and have fun doing it! :)

    • Thanks, Ms Mac! I’m glad you actually get something out of my wines and good for you on your blog, keep on trucking, as the Grateful Dead sang. ;)

  15. Hi Denise,

    I like the post a lot, however it does bring to mind two questions;
    Firstly – as a wine blogger, by your description, would you consciously avow the description of wine critic? It’s a issue I’ve been wrestling with for some time, as the recipient of quite a lot of hospitality I’m often a little wary about writing scathing reviews of things or people. Whilst he may well be quite a maligned figure in certain circles, I respect the code of ethics that Robert Parker set out early on. Obviously things have changed substantially since he started (and he had quite reasonable finances at the get go).
    Secondly, the idea that we bring wines to peoples attention and are thus helping out smaller wineries that might not have the large budgets etc. My concern is that the circle that reads wine blogs is actually quite small, heavily wine trade and blogger weighted. Are we deceiving ourselves by preaching to the already converted.
    However with all that said, I think that the world with a lot of informed bloggers keeping everyone on their toes is a much much better one than any other I can imagine, and to anyone who whinges about you or I attending dinners or trips. Then I shall post my comments where impressionable young people can’t read them….

  16. And that’s why we love you Denise!

  17. Well said. If you don’t take wine journalists to task for attending industry-sponsored events (as they do all the time!), then you should by the same token leave wine bloggers alone. I come here because apart from wine chatter I like the personality behind the blog – that’s what sets it apart from a dry set of tasting notes. Keep reporting back on your adventures in wine (some of them even involving me!!) and remember: it’s YOUR blog, do what you like on it!!

    • Thanks, Jeanne. As I said, there is room for everyone in the blogosphere and there are really only SO many tasting notes you can read before you’re eyes glaze over. It’s called SOCIAL media for a reason!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: