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Social media,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Business,Wine Writer

What’s happening to the wine blog world?

What’s happening to the wine blog world? Attrition. It reminds me of my college classes. We’d start the year with 40 students in the class, and by the end of the semester, we’d be down to half that size. The only class that didn’t go that way, and actually seemed to grow, was the Wine Components class at Santa Rosa Junior College. That one gained two people for each one that dropped out.

I was just in the back end of my blog, looking around to see what people were looking at on the front end. In the site stats area, there’s a “Clicks” section. I decided to see what those links would lead to today, from when they were originally added to my blog… Light housekeeping, if you will.

I found the following, and for a minute I began to wonder if there was something wrong with my site’s functionality, as many of them didn’t lead anywhere…

wineblogwatch.arrr.net 1
thehamperemporium.com.au 1
winefoodla.blogspot.com 1
winetonite.com 1
winebloglist.blogspot.com 1
thewinenews.com 1
oregonpinotgris.org 1
youtube.com/watch?v=eSV7F5IKxFg 1
twoguysfromnapa.com 1
psiloveyou.org/category/blog/ 1

Of this group, I had to delete wineblogwatch.arrr.net, winefoodla.blogspot.com, winetonite.com, and thewinenews.com. The Wine News I know about… I watched that gorgeous wine magazine (my favorite at the time) go out of the publishing business. But, I didn’t know I still had a link to it, so… cleaned house.

I believe – said she after starting my own blog in December 2005 – that the thrill is gone for many of the original people. Perhaps not the thrill of wine, and perhaps not the thrill of writing, but more to the point… writing for free about that which we all really love… the wine business.

I predicted early on that if people were so passionate about wine that it would serve them well to just get into the wine business. It would provide two important things:

  • Necessary income
  • Fast track knowledge

Granted, not everyone lives in wine country – regardless of the state. Still, I moved from Maine to California to pursue the dream, so I know firsthand it can and does happen for so many of us. Case in point: Hardy Wallace of Dirty South Wine. He won a social media contest, put on by the Kendall-Jackson empire, and he’s now making wine in Sonoma County. He followed his passion and fulfilled the dream.

This year he’s only written two blog stories, proving that when you’re really busy doing it, you may not have time to journal it.

  1. 40 Under 40: Wine Enthusiast ~ for which he was included (because he’s also now making wine and is a personality), posted on May 2, 2013
  2. Blood into Orange Wine- 1 Week Later ~ posted on January 21, 2013

He’s even made it to Wikipedia: “Wallace is now a full time resident of Sonoma County, works with winemaker and friend Kevin Kelley at The Natural Process Alliance and Salinia winery, and has started making his own wine under the Dirty and Rowdy Wine label.”

I get it… It’s now 20 years later for me, and I’m also about to embark on a wine brand… Of course, it’s going to be Petite Sirah, because that’s where a lot of background lies… I’ve got tons of connections and they’re the ones that are going to help me move this forward. Details will be forthcoming, but not for a while. It will surely give me something to write about, but will I have the time? I barely have the time now.

I also have some new developments in my family life. Grandchildren keep you focused on “now,” not on wine opinions that need to be shared. I’d much rather spend time enjoying these new souls, then tapping away at my computer. I think there would be something wrong with me if i didn’t see it this way.

And, yes, some bloggers are now having children (versus grandchildren), and they have to have a different focus. Jobs change, responsibilities pile up, and maybe even a day off is included in there somewhere. Hey, here comes summer!

BOTTOM LINE: Wine writers for years had all of the things going on that wine bloggers are now experiencing. In the first few years, the honeymoon was sublime for the new bloggers. Now, life is taking over and only the strong and focused will truly survive a long haul…

Just ask any of my traditional wine writing pals. They’ve been there and done that, and the millennial are now getting some grass under their feet, too… That’s what’s happening to the wine blog world. It’s growing up.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT: I also think that Facebook, with its ability to deliver snippets of thoughts and the instant gratification that comes with its interactiveness, is replacing a lot of essay writing.

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12 Responses to “What’s happening to the wine blog world?”

  1. Oliver says:

    I noticed the same thing the other day. And I only just celebrated my first year of blogging! There are so many of the early blogs in my follow list that don’t exist anymore. Commenters, that had their own ambitious blog projects, just vanished, some after a couple of months of pretty good reactions to their blogs etc…I guess it is how it goes. But still…

    I think many of the reasons you give hold true in this: life getting in the way, actually entering the industry. It is worth re-examining what one is doing along the way and for many it is probably the right call to pursue other endeavors or actually get paid for the time and enthusiasm they put into it. That is not the worst thing, after all…

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    No, Oliver, it’s probably the BEST thing to ever have happen! It was for me, I know that.

  3. Oliver says:

    I’d subscribe to that. :)

  4. Very strange Jo, as just two days ago, I clicked on winetonite.com from my home page and noticed it was a broken link…sooooo…I did some house keeping and noticed how many blogs have gone stale or simply don’t exist.

  5. Hardy says:

    Hi Jo,

    I’m not sure if you just figured this, but I have not regularly “blogged” on the Dirty South Wine blog (or any traditional blog) in about 2yrs.

    When we were ready to begin our first release of Dirty and Rowdy (where I am the winemaker, the sales guy, the marketing dude, the admin, the vineyard sampling guy, the social media person, chief fly-catcher- and at the same time work full time for another winery) I moved almost all of my social presence and content creation away the Dirty South Wine blog onto other platforms.

    From 2006-2009, blogging was the most effective tool of communication for me. I never identified solely with the “writer” part of wine blogging, but used Dirty South Wine as a space to share content (photos, video, and writing). By the time 2011 rolled around, traditional blogging was no longer the most effective way for me (and many people) to communicate / share content.

    I spent the summer of 2011 living on / farming on a vineyard in the Sierra Foothills with limited internet (usually none), and a 20 min drive to a hotspot, I had to evolve and change my means of communication. With that restriction of limited connectivity, Instagram became the way I connected to the community. Two years later, it has become the most important social media and business tool that I use. Its value to me isn’t “social fluff” (or in the great pictures of kittens and sandwiches that I see in my feed)- but that I can track its use to DTC sales, distribution, restaurant placements, and export. Very few of my blog posts, tweets, or previous social media activity could be easily tracked to real ROI like this. Out of 150 million instagram accounts, my use (as a fledgling winery) was noticed and featured by the company on their tumblr site.

    After the vineyard experience and getting back to normal connectivity, I found that I had the need to sometimes share more than a photo and thoughts. WordPress / Typepad, or other traditional blogging tools- were static, rigid, not effective for my needs. I found a home with Tumblr and began utilizing that platform. Oddly (and happily) similar to our Instagram activity, out of 100 million Tumblr sites, we were one of a few featured by Tumblr in their Storyboard series– http://storyboard.tumblr.com/post/45836912209/at-dirty-rowdy-california-wines-made-simple

    Jo- You are right that Dirty South Wine has not been updated very much. The tool that I started working with in 06 is no longer what works best for me 7 yrs later. It is not out of lack of strength and focus, it is out of intention, strategy, and finding the best tools out there vs sticking with one that no longer works.

    The strong stay focused and they also adapt.

    All the best with the new project.
    Hardy

  6. Sometimes hobbies or passions evolve – as your going into winemaking. I’ll drink to that. Your own PS to love. and share of course.

  7. Jo Diaz says:

    Hardy,

    Thanks for your update of how you’re using social media. And, I DIDN’T know where you had gone for social media, but I did know you were evolving… As I mentioned, once you get a winery life, writing as an outsider is never the same, as in “too busy living it to journal it” (completely).

    Your honor with Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 is very special for you. It also proves my point.

    Your climb, though, is a bit remarkable, as I’ve watched others’ progress go much more slowly. Your propulsion has to do with your passion, focus, determination, and hard work. (We outsiders coming into it without an inordinate amount of money better have the work ethic of passion, focus, determination, and willingness to hard worker than anyone else.)

    So, personal congratulations and thanks for the update. It fills out the story very well, and is so good to hear from you, again.

  8. Hardy says:

    Jo,

    Thank you very much.

    Not too busy to journal it. If blogging was the best tool for me / the winery, I’d spend whatever time was needed. I journal / create content via other tools that I find more effective.

    Cheers!

  9. Jo Diaz says:

    Standing the tests of time, or not, Pamela… I’ve got to get some free time and test all of my links, is what this tells me.

  10. Mick Cameron says:

    I’m still kickin’ after two years though my original articles have slowed for sure. I have been focusing on key wine trade personality interviews and writing when I can, reviewing wines, translating and posting French wine press articles.

    It is very tough to sustain this work given the lack of funding but it remains a labor of love for now that I hope to continue well into the future.

    Santé!

  11. Randy Caparoso says:

    It’s never been a secret that wine blogging on a personal page is what you do when you have nothing else to do because you don’t have an actual paying job. If I knew how to do it otherwise, I, too, would be a very well-off personal blogger.

    As it were, I am among many who no longer maintains a personal blog. I now blog anonymously for organizations and businesses who have the money to pay writers. So that’s one way that personal blogs can pay off — landing you paying jobs down the road.

    It may very well be a question of whether or not the “wine blog world” can avoid extinction, rather than whether or not it’s “growing.” But for now, when one page goes down, another seems to pop up in its place. It seems to me that some of the newer ones (like chasingthevine.com and wakawakawinereviews.com) are even better and more interesting than the many that have suffered ignominious deaths. Survival of the fittest? Is this any surprise?

  12. Jo Diaz says:

    Yeah, you’re right on, Randy. I once wrote, if you want to blog, get a job in the wine business. Look at what Lisa Mattson has done for Jordan… Nuf, said.

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