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Degeneration of the wine blogosphere ~ weeding out the riff raff ~ a parable

Wine, the civilizing beverage….

I just read a story, written my friend Steve Heimoff. It’s entitled, When wine writers lose it. It’s a brilliant title, because it’s a double entendre. It had me running to my own blog site to make sure I’ve not exchanged links with the person he’s written about. Thankfully we haven’t, so I didn’t have to pull away from that energy. It was never established.

It seems that a wine blogger wrote a scathing review for a wine that he had tasted. Then when the person who owns the winery was beside himself with not only the verbiage, but also a score of 59 points, the owner of the winery took his displeasure public on Facebook. The blogger did say in his comments that maybe the bottle had been tainted in some way, but didn’t leave it alone and became uncontrollable with anger toward credible writers… I suppose, thinking that that would build his own credibility.

A bit of drama ensued in his comments… As I read through it all, I asked myself, “This is wine blogging?”

One commenter:

Methinks this review says a lot more about the critic than the wine – especially in the back and forth with [the owner] in the comments.

You should know that what you write is in the public domain – you were obviously embarrassed to be approached by the winemaker of a wine you summarily trashed, even though you knew it was an off bottle…if you aren’t ready to stand up to what you write in front of any audience, maybe you aren’t so sure about what you are writing. Don’t write to make an impact, write to make a difference Any jackass can write inflammatory shit to make a splash; only a skilled taster and writer can make a difference in what they say.

The blogger in response to the above:

“Methinks”… is that how they start off in Connecticut? We don’t say that here as it is very rude. Embarrassed? Embarrassed is any jackass talking crap based on poor interpretations and living in a state that makes shitty wines.

I’ve always felt that the plethora of wine bloggers who emerged once the flood gates were open with Web 2.0 would also – ultimately – have it’s thinning down, for lots of different reasons. I didn’t see this one coming, though… that someone would take off on those who came before them as wine writers, blazing the trails and making writing about wine worth reading.

I wrote the parable below on Steve’s really well written and thought out story, as my own thoughts.

I’m also going to share them here, because it has PR value… that’s what I do for a living. This is solid PR advice, if anyone is considering writing about anything… much less wine, the “civilizing beverage…”

The main point here is that what this blogger has written is very disturbing, for someone wanting to build his “brand.”

This parable (my comments to Steve) speaks for itself:

When I was about seven years old, I got up one morning and went to visit my friend Milk Lahey. We enjoyed playing together. That one morning, he was sitting in his sandbox with one of his toy guns in his hand. Back then, these guns were made with really heavy materials. I still remember the simulated pearl handle of that toy gun. I had always liked it. We enjoyed playing cowboy and cowgirl together in his sandbox and surrounding yard.

I sat down next to him and said, “Hi, Mike!” He looked right at me, took the gun and swiftly switched it around to hold the barrel; then, with full force, brought the handle down upon my head.

I left in shock, crying from the pain. It took a long time to figure out that he had even moved, because I didn’t ever go back, because I’m not into S&M. (Now I know that he was angry with having to move, and “we always hurt the ones we love,” as the song goes.)

Time wounds all heels, and anyone who fancies him or herself as someone that wine companies will send their wines to, hoping for someone professional on the other end to be writing an endorsement that will help sell the wine, had darn well mind his or her manners, or that person will be weeded out.

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2 Responses to “Degeneration of the wine blogosphere ~ weeding out the riff raff ~ a parable”

  1. Tim Harris says:

    Jo,

    I must say I was incessantly shaking my head in agreement with you as I read this article! I am a very young writer, wine enthusiast and PR hopeful that graduated college just a little over a year ago. In my studies I latched onto the concept of emotional intelligence presented by Daniel Goleman and, in my opinion, this is what many wine bloggers lack! I see no need to degrade or belittle a winemaker in his trade. If it is a bottle you are unpleased with, find another you enjoy and write about that! We are not here on this earth to diminish our fellow man; but rather, we are here to lift ones other up and reinforce each others successes. Wine bloggers are here to better the wine community rather than destroy it and this unnamed bloggers negative writing diminishes all of us. Enough venting on my end and may I wish you and all of your readers a “glass half full” type of day!

    Cheers,

    TH

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Tim,

    As you’ve noted, emotional intelligence is very important to have, for happiness and well being. Those who have developed it wish that others had more of it; especially when we see one human being denigration any other beings. Some of it is a lack of confidence to take that a bullying course. It’s not always easy to choose a higher road. Some even view it as a Pollyanna stance.

    I’m with you on this one… The glass is always half full in my house, which allows me to be more joyful.

    Emotional intelligence is a choice… Nice to have met you under these circumstances, and I know that you’ve got a successful road ahead of you.

    And, yes, the newer wine bloggers have an opportunity to be positive, polite, and successful; I welcome that energy.

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