Wine Bloggers Conference: The 10 Most Important Things I Learned

[The images that follow have absolutely no relevance to the context of this blog, except to say that they’re providing a bird’s eye view of the conference.]

1. There are over 500 wine bloggers, as tracked by Alder Yarrow on Vinography. (There are so many, in fact, that Alder had to create a separate page, because the list has become so long, as stated on his Website.)

2. Everybody, from all walks of life, is blogging about wine. (This is because they have interest, not necessarily academic or experiential learnings… They’re simply journaling, writing their personal opinions. To overhear someone say, “So, there are vineyards, and there are wineries,” told me the basic level some people are at in their journey.)

3. Wine blogs from those who are just learning provides a novice, perhaps even refreshing, insight. (The peril in this process, however, means that there’s going to be some misinformation being disseminated to those who have even less knowledge.)

4. Some of the wine bloggers are taking themselves very seriously, believing that they’ve moved from interest to becoming a professional. (Until one receives compensation for writing about wine, that person is a hobbyist… And, there is nothing wrong with being an enthused hobbyist. Many of these hobbyist are intently keen on learning how they can convert their hobby to a publishing career.)

5. A lot of PR professionals were also at this conference, trying to understand the movement and the importance bloggers are playing in the world of wine. (For larger brands, the three tier system continues to rule, and continues to need the endorsements from the handful of trusted US writers. For smaller wine companies, however, bloggers provide a new, and important medium.)

6. There is a lot of concern about being ethical and not demonstrating conflict of interest. (This is a noble concern within the wine bloggers’ world, and tells me that those who are blogging are striving toward journalistic integrity.)

7. Advertising… to be or not to be, that was clearly the question. (Bloggers are torn about this one, and yet can’t segue from journaling to journalism without compensation coming from somewhere. They’re even trying to figure out how to capture the monetary compensation from a full-page, four-color, glossy wine magazine ad with a $125,000 price tag into their own pockets overnight… without yet understanding the credibility factor that was created over a long career of publishing to get to that point.)

8. Within the wine blogging gene pool, there are future wine writers. (Once offered a job within an established periodical, and having that job offer be taken, you’ll most likely see that blogger’s site become dormant. I’ve already seen it happen with one writer who was offered an editorial position. That blog hasn’t had an entry since the day of accepting the position… many, many months ago.)

9. Bloggers all seem to be talking to each other; not in what they’re writing as the topic; but in the comments section. (Wine bloggers love to read each others blogs, and then try to prove their own points. This is instantaneous feedback, and seems to have replaced the social need for the “alt.food.wine” days.)

10. The voice of the wine blogging world is a social marketing model versus the traditional media voice. (There’s an assumed lack of bias that’s supposed to go with these voices, but there is bias, because it’s subjective, personalized info posted into the blogging world; and, if that changes to complete journalism, the blogs will shatter on the vine and dry up.)

6 Responses to “Wine Bloggers Conference: The 10 Most Important Things I Learned”

  1. Pamela Adams says:

    Hi Jo: I appreciate your perspective as an established wine writer and blogger. It must be strange to see all us newbies playing in your sandbox. Since I am entering this a personal hobby, I will look to vet’s like you for guidance and support. I hope to contribute by providing a bit of the “fresh eyes” perspective and ideas to connect the dots in this new media.
    All the Best, Pamela Adams
    aka: Pea Noir’s blog: Drink, Pray, Make Wine

  2. admin says:

    Hi, Pamela, It was strange in some respects, because there were a few people like me in the group, that have years behind them, and people like yourself, just starting out. I just made me feel a bit crusty! The enthusiasm was really fun to see, because I remember coming into the business 16 years ago, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, either. I’ve tried not to take any of the business for granted, but it’s almost impossible to not have SOME jaded moments… It just comes with years and years of repetition. I remember Ann Wilson of Heart saying to me, “It’s nice to see you again, ” and I thought, “Oh my Gahd, I’ve been in rock & roll too long.”

    It just happens…

    I’ve slipped into the mentor category, and that’s just fine… If I can help others in their process, that’s important, because there were others who have helped me along the way.

    And b-t-w… all images, for which you are in one, really have nothing-what-so-ever to do with anyone above or below the images.

    As I assembled my images this morning, having written the blog yesterday morning, I took the best images from my camera in the order that they were taken, and dumped them into the story, one at a time, until I had my perfect 10 photos… You’re smiling with your IPhone, and looking really adorable! You put a great face to the event, and I enjoyed your company as we traveled around! My best to you, and all the others among us who are just starting their journey… You can keep “Jo-the-Blogger” in mind if you need any advice. (I wondered when I could pull attention away from Joe-the-Plumber.)

  3. 1WineDude says:

    Thanks for the concise and thoughtful summary, and interpretation. You’ve captured here many of the salient points that I took away from the conference, as well.

    I think that it’s important to remember that, as bloggers, we are expected by our readership to have opinions. They want a bias. And an opinion does not an expert make. Expertise takes time, and energy. I’ve invested lots of both in studying the world of wine, and hardly consider myself an expert…


  4. admin says:

    The more I know, the more I know I don’t know… Cheers to you, too!

  5. Dick Keenan says:

    Jo: thanks for sharing your blog story with me. Please sign me to receive future blogs you write. Dick Keenan

  6. Jo says:


    I have stories Monday through Friday, most days, on this blog… Just save this as one of your favorites, and then return when you have the inclination.

    Another easy way to find my blog is that Wine Business Monthly also has a subscription based daily newsletter, with many news stories and featured wine blogs. I’m one of their daily blogs, so you can follow my writings there, too!

    Thanks for enjoying this. Ideally, I really want to visit Kick Ranch to have you give me your thoughts as a story.

    I love vit and the people behind the vines! It’s always a great tale to tell.

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