Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Writer

Who are those Top 10 Most Important Wine Bloggers in the US, Paul Mabray Inspired? + Mike Dunne

Well, wasn’t yesterday fun? I saw it coming, but not completely.

Here’s my look at the 10 Most Important Wine Bloggers in the US today, by category and not in any specific order:

  1. Charming ~ Alana Gentry ~ Girl With a Glass
  2. Endearing ~ Megan Kinney ~ Wannabe Wino
  3. Studious ~ Gwendolyn Alley ~ Wine Predator
  4. Influential ~ Pamela Heiligenthal ~ Enobytes
  5. Dedicated ~ Meg Houston Maker ~ Makers Table
  6. Refreshing ~ Alyssa Vitrano – Grapefriend
  7. Daring ~ Nannette Eaton ~ Wine Harlots
  8. Twisted (in a great way) ~ Thea Dwell ~ Luscious Lushes
  9. Joyous ~ Julie Brosterman ~ Women Wine
  10. Inspiration ~ Tina Caputo ~ Vineyard & Winery Management ~ Blogs when she can, she’s an editor, after all, like Jon Bonne above. ~ The Wine Broad’s Board

A couple of great guys really worth mentioning, to keep this somewhat in balance:

  1. Influential ~ Paul Gregutt (Yup, a guy, as I strive for a bit of balance) ~ PaulGregutt.com
  2. Endearing ~ William Allen, (aka Sonoma William) ~ Simple Hedonisms

I apologize for those of you whom I hold dear and you just didn’t pop into my head at this time. My next stream of consciousness could also include you. It’s just relative to right now, today.

There you go… they’re all connected to wine, in all lists (Paul Mabray’s and mine). I could also run the analytics on it all, but you go for it! Everyone has his or her own audiences, and life goes on.

Now… off to Mike Dunne.

I’m sure that many people have become aware that wine blogging has taken a turn into the professional realm of the wine writing world. If you are a wine writer, now you’ve figured out that you must be blogging, too. For many, that has to be a really tough call, especially if you’re self employed, like Dan Berger or Charlie Olken. Charlie told me that he was so excited to start blogging, and I told him to beware… it’s pretty addictive. Dan Berger, on the other hand, may never blog, because he organizes wine competitions and travels extensively. I doubt that he’ll ever have enough time.

But then, as a follow-up to Paul’s list, Mike Dunne of the Sacramento Bee, just wrote a story on his A Year in Wine blog that’s a takeoff from Paul Mabray’s Top 9 Wine Blogger list. (Yesterday I told you that people are talking, then along comes a story on the Web.) Mike and I have known each other professionally for years. Neither of us would have guessed 10 years ago that we’d be writing on the internet, just for the joy of it, but now we also share that. Besides his Sacramento Bee gig, now he can also write about his passions and observations without having anything cut or redirected by an editor. (It’s a grand freedom!)

And, Mike proves what I was writing about yesterday… A list is subjective to its author, and how the author chooses to gather that information; scientifically or artistically. Is one right and the other wrong? As the authors. From Mike Dunne…

The Best Wine Blogs You’ve Never Heard Of

As often happens, comments that follow a blog post can be more provocative and helpful than the original posting. Thus, thanks to Paul Mabray of Vintank, a Napa-based “digital think tank for the wine industry,” I’ve been introduced to several stimulating wine blogs. They are the spinoff of a list that Mabray posted a few days ago under the intriguing headline, “The 9 Most Important Wine Bloggers in the US.”

Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover ...

Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover featuring Rosie the Riveter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back to my Top 10 List

A list is what you make of it, people; analytical, emotional, or otherwise. Perhaps, in the hullabaloo of what started out by Paul as honoring those whom he appreciates for what they’re contributing to the internet in a numbers algorithm, and now my giving you a list of whom I also treasure (including who’s on Paul’s list), you – like Mike Dunne – will discover some new jewels in the crown of the wine blogging world.

There’s nothing like an aggregator to lift someone’s content in its entirety, either. How many extra eyeballs have read the story on the site offered below, versus Paul’s story? One can only wonder…

Look at the link below. It WON’T take you to Paul’s site, but it WILL take you to the entire story, along with his image. How can anyone measure any real numbers?

Well, that’s the subject of another topic… How Top 10 Are You Really, Based On Numbers We Can’t Measure?

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28 Responses to “Who are those Top 10 Most Important Wine Bloggers in the US, Paul Mabray Inspired? + Mike Dunne”

  1. Alana Gentry says:

    Enjoyed your post Jo. You did a great job capturing our essences in one word. Right on.

    It’s my hope that readers, wineries, tourism associations, and wine PR folks will find all of these lists (maybe with the exception of comic-relief Hosemaster) helpful in navigating the current blogosphere. We are all in it together.

  2. Paul Mabray says:

    Great list Jo. Kudos.

  3. Donn Rutkoff says:

    Thanks for the gal list. Gives me something new to look at since those names rarely pop up in WBM daily feed where they choose 4 per day blogs. They track 158 blogs. I work in liq. dept. of a store of major grocery chain. Most of my customers, hence, are women. Since I am fond of women, no problem. One major difference, in this setting, sometimes it takes a woman months of ignoring me before trusting that I actually can help and am not a shill for some big wine conglomerate.

  4. Jo Diaz says:


    As I just wrote to Meg Houston Maker, who thanked me on Facebook for including her: I just wanted to proliferate with a balanced theme… Artistic versus scientific. Scientific created that atom bomb. Artisitc created Monet’s Waterlilies. There needs to be a balance… Both are equally important, I guess. (We had to slow the Japanese, but we also need the diversions from the art of war.)

    Einstein vs. Monet… I’ll take them both any day.

  5. Jo Diaz says:


    You’re a gentleman and a scholar.

  6. Jo Diaz says:


    Yes, there are very few of us women on WBM’s blog roll each day. I’ve been there since day one, when there were 11 wine industry bloggers listed. I was with their Top 10 guys. (That’s so funny to me.) Cyril and I have worked together, with me providing stories for WBM. He was/is used to my writing style, having both press releases and stories coming across his desk. He’s stuck to his theme… bloggers (now writers also blogging) from “within” the wine industry. We’ve got to be either employed or self employed serving the wine industry. Most women blogger are within the industry and blogging. As I said yesterday, when I began, I had no woman wine blogging inspiration, so I had to just do it; find my own way, find my own voice, find my own reason to be blogging.

    I love that you’re fond of women. You’ll, therefore, find some new energy and great stories. Each woman brings interesting perspectives to the Internet. I enjoy their energy…and there’s still so many more to discover. I don’t hang in any cliques, so this will be a moving target, too.

    As I wrote, it’s based on who I know and enjoy… I hope you find a few voices worth reading, from your perspective, too. I’m betting that you will, since you enjoy and work closely with women… including selling them wine. Stats say, women buy more wine than men. Getting to know that female wine buying psyche will serve you well. (Have to admit, we’re drawn to pretty labels.)

  7. PaulG says:

    Jo, I appreciate the mention, and I especially applaud your list of women bloggers. As a side note, one of the very first wine-related stories I placed in print, almost 30 years ago, was a feature on…. Women Winemakers! It was a big deal back in the day that a woman could actually make wine. Now it seems it’s a shock to the male-ocracy that women can actually write. Plus ça change… etc. etc.

  8. Jo Diaz says:


    What a great laugh you just gave me.

    You’re so deserving of mention for your years of writing… Was it in the 80s that you began? You’ve done a lot to sell a lot of wine for years! You’re very influential in a very quiet way, considering all the wine that’s been purchased over the last few decades, just as Steve Heimoff has, let’s say.

    And you’re a great resource for all women. You’ve championed me for quite a while now, and I appreciate it so much.

  9. awww thanks for the mention. Very kind. Other adjectives are often used to describe me. 🙂

    You didn’t hyperlink Mike’s article:

  10. Sonadora says:


    Many thanks for the nod on this list of very accomplished women. Blogging has been a (mostly) fun, engaging, and worthwhile use of my personal time for the last 6ish years. I certainly could not do without the many wonderful people I’ve connected with over the years, including yourself, whom I never would have met had I now decided to buy way too much wine on my first trip to Sonoma!


  11. ooops you did link it earlier, never mind :p

  12. Sonadora says:

    Er, that should be not, rather than now.

  13. Jo Diaz says:


    Thanks for being such a gentleman in yesterday’s debate. I can’t imagine the other adjectives.

  14. Jo Diaz says:


    Likewise… it’s been fun (and enlightening) meeting you, too.

  15. Jo,

    It’s an honor to be included in this illustrious list. Thank you.

    Everyone here—and everyone on the other “top ten” lists circulating recently—is striving to making sense of the complex, perplexing, and sometimes mysterious experience of tasting wine. Finding meaning in experience and then translating it into prose is the truest definition of a writer I know, and while my own importance is arguable, I do believe strongly that writing itself is important, and I honor our collective efforts.


  16. Boris Seymour says:

    Hi Jo –

    Mike Dunne it is…he golden-handshaked his way out of the McClatchy’s Sacramento Bee after they almost went under after buying Knight-Ridder. They fired most of their great and senior writers. The SB is now a shadow of its former self and very thin each morning. He strings for them now with his book material that should be coming out in a couple of years.


  17. Jo Diaz says:


    There are so many people that could become part of these lists, and we’re all working so hard at it – uncompensatedly – I might add. So, it’s a true passion put to use. (I love Shakespeare for that line.)

    No one’s on the list is arguable, because – again – it’s only my perspective. That’s what makes this one hard to argue about, while yesterdays was a wield ride.

  18. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Boris, and I did add the “e” to Mike’s name. I had caught it just as your comment came in. Arg! I knew that, after all of these years, I always knew about the “e.” (I need an editor, but I don’t get paid; so, finding one is the challenge!)

    Someday, there will be no paper… What a slow, sad circumstance process can be. How about the carriage makers who had to shift gears, when the Model T was invented? It’s always something.

    Most newspapers are now a shadow of their former selves… reduced size, reduced pages, reduced staff… Not a business I’d want to be in right now.
    Mike Dunne is a price among princes, that’s for sure.

  19. Deborah Gray says:


    Thank you for the addition of new voices to the mix, ones I’m glad to see recognized and ones I hadn’t heard of before and will now go off and investigate.

    “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” could certainly apply here in the broadened scope of readership and notice these two lists have achieved.


  20. Jo Diaz says:

    Finding the balance has its own rewards, Deborah.

    Last night I was re-reading your “How to Import Wine” chapter on containers. It made my head spin… What a world to get into. I’ll say this for that world (having worked with imports, but never on the level you’ve achieved), becoming a citizen of the world certainly gives one a bigger picture, which makes the world so much smaller. Just a thought off message here, but eager to write your book review.

  21. Deborah Gray says:

    Jo, I know far more than I ever wanted to know about working reefers and non-working reefers and weighing the benefits of palletizing vs. floor stacking. Ah, the romance of the wine industry. 🙂

    But I do love to write and share stories and education, so it certainly satisfied a need in me to put it all on paper.

    I look forward to the review.

  22. I appreciate your artistic versus scientific approach Jo, cheers and thanks for the inclusion amongst this great list of writers! But you forgot one:

    11. Focused Rock Star ~ Jo Diaz ~ “Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz”

  23. Thank you so much, Jo, for including me in this list!

    PS If I was to make a list, you’d be at the top! Hmmn, if I wasn’t so busy being studious (working on my PhD in Ecopsych and doing field work on a certain adult beverage or two…) I’d blog my own list of influencers!

  24. Jo Diaz says:

    Pamela, very funny. After 20 years of being in Rock and Roll radio, I’ll take it!

  25. Jo Diaz says:

    Gwendolyn, you just proved scientifically that my artistic list was scientific by its research.

  26. […] Vintank’s list, (and has 75 comments so far!) and in the second she produces her own list of 10 Women Bloggers and two men which includes Alana Gentry of Girl With a Glass, Megan Kinney of Wannabe Wino, Meg Houston Maker […]

  27. Jo – just got your message on fb that I was mentioned here and I must say (I’m not usually at a loss for words) that I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughtful person to shout out the Women & Wine name.

    You have given ME so much to think about and have inspired me to find a way to become a more confident voice in this crowded arena.

    The only thing better than this would be to meet in person and raise a glass to you!


  28. Jo – thanks for putting Women & Wine on the list! I especially like the Joyous categorization as you always put a smile on my face.

    Julie Brosterman

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