GMO,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Business

Nine years of wine blogging, should I have just written a book?

I’m reflecting on nine years of wine blogging this morning… having started just about this time nine years ago, in terms of thinking I should, and then getting Jose to build a site for me. I’ve had about four wine blog sites in the process. In 2005, I eagerly waited to write that first story, as Jose set up my blog.  It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that my first story was about Petite Sirah. I simply called it, “What is Petite Sirah.” All of it is still true, with most of it still being misunderstood. I just saw a wine writer of major impact write about “Petite syrah,” as he called it.

Do wine writers really read press releases?

I’ve written 500 of 2,100 stories with Petite Sirah mentioned, if not completely about Petite, while wine blogging.

[Image of Weather Report from the Allmusic.com Website, with photo credit for Sam Emerson.]

Jose told a story to me, when we first met, and I still remember most details of it.

The Time

Jose was at Bowdoin College and had an interview set up (independent study program) with saxophonist Wayne Shorter, in Marblehead, Massachusetts, at Lenny’s On The Turnpike. Some of you, like Cyril Penn, may remember Wayne from his days of launching Weather Report. I’ve long looked for this saying’s credit being given to Wayne; but, in a conversation this morning with Jose, he told me that Wayne simply said this to him in passing. It’s not a saying that has had major impact with anyone beyond Jose and/or me, that we know of… But it’s a powerful statement. Jose didn’t think so this morning, when I told him that it’s a very impactful statement. He thought that it was sort of light and breezy, I guess, but I told him that it’s not been something he’s ever forgotten from that interview. Also, I’ve heard him say this to others at least 100 times, since we’ve been together (1976).

It’s not he who comes on strongest. It’s he who lasts longest.

I would say that that’s my claim to fame… I’ve just been here since the early beginning of Web 2.0. I’m definitely not the strongest voice; but by virtue of tenacity, I’m one of the longest. I’ve had very little impact with the masses, because I’m not trying to build an audience. I’m simply writing a journal about being a wine publicist, being in this business, and the things that impact me from day to day… If you’re reading this, you’re reading my diary… period.

Mostly, what I get is that I’m one of the ones who has currently lasted longest. I don’t have a single focus. I write about anything I darn well please… In fact, wine blogging is all about my personal freedom. Words just come, versus a writing assignment where I have to watch my tone, the words I chose, and/or will a client approve of it or tear it all apart.

I had one client once who said to me, after my first press release was written for him, which I thought was pretty darn good, “This is the worst writing I’ve ever seen.” Needless to say, this client only lasted a few of months; a great relief to us both, I’d say.

I’ve also had a couple of commenters on my blog tell me how stupid I am. I know my IQ and choose not to prove what my intelligence quotient is… or is not, so it rolls off my back.

The difference between both circumstances?

  1. Clients pay me, I have to care.
  2. Commenters don’t pay me, I could give a flying rat’s patutie.
    • I also find some amusement in those who decide to deride me.
    • They may get my goat (for a short time frame), but they don’t get my mind.

That’s the charm of wine blogging… We’re able to write and we’re not accountable to anyone… no clients, no deadlines, no assignments… and judgments are subjective, which I remind myself to not take personally. They impact nothing, except that they allow someone to vent. (Public service)

I have an ongoing debate with one person, who actually thought he’d never read my blog again, but keeps coming back to it… And I’m actually finding myself beginning to like the guy. We just had this exchange. I’ve gone to look him up, because initially one asks oneself, “Who is his guy, anyway.” Turns out that he’s had a pretty interesting life. Here’s the exchange, demonstrating how fascinating for me that comments through feedback also are, as part of blogging:

It has to do with my ranting about genetically modified organisms, which I really don’t want to see happening to grape vines. He thinks that it would be great, if they could “cure” Pierce’s disease, for instance. I say, find a natural, existing way… (I believe when I studied viticulture, we talked about companion planting… but, it’s been a while.)


And coffee is ten times more carcinogenic than glyphosate. The same International agency tells us our cell phones cause cancer. Dr Bruce Ames, who created the carcinogenicity test, the Ames Test, is quite clear that 50% of all substances he tested, both synthetic and naturally occurring, are carcinogenic. Let’s put this in context. I am still using my cell phone. And glyphosate is still helping reduce greenhouse gases by reducing tillage and fossil fuel use and increasing yields.

My Answer:

Dear John,

We have to stop meeting like this… Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I thought of you the other day when I read something to the following effect, paraphrasing: For every professional opinion that you’ll find on one side of an issue, you will also find as many professional opinions from the opposing side.

I’ve stopped drinking coffee for the reason you’ve stated (not easy to do, because there’s an entire culture that goes along with that decision). I only use my cell phone for that very reason you’ve stated (frustrating my family to no end, because more than half of the time my battery is dead, with my husband reminding me, “I hope you never NEED your phone”). It’s very easy for me to not use. I like my time away from client needs and wants, because I work hard and long hours. The increasing yield thing? It’s proving otherwise and time will win/prove the battle.

When I put it into context, too, I see an entire generation being experimented upon. This, for me, is the most frightening and unconscionable part of this entire GMO experiment. You and I are never going to come into agreement on this. I do, however, enjoy your popping up for time to time, to create the other side of the coin. Both sides of the issue are equally important, I grant you that.

Yeah, nine years later, wine blogging is still interesting and my current hobby. I wonder what the next one will be? I was once a model and I was once a dancer. I once played the piano (not very well, but for a long time). I once was a very prolific clothing designer/seamstress (successfully), and I was once a very prolific knitter. I once worked with sisal and jute, creating baskets, and I was also a potter. Now, it’s writing. I’ve dreamed of painting… could it be that, when wine blogging has run its course?

6 Responses to “Nine years of wine blogging, should I have just written a book?”

  1. Congrats Jo! I’m not too far behind you on Art Predator (Nov 07) and with 1542 blog posts there plus 438 on Wine Predator and a few hundred here and there on my other blogs. Quite a soapbox we’ve built for ourselves, eh? Cheers! And Happy Bloggoversary!

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Gwendolyn, and congratulations to you, too! Yeah, quite a soapbox.

  3. Nova C says:

    Hi Jo,
    We have never met however I would love to at some point. I’m a few years behind you and Gwendolyn (my 5 year blogversary is next April) but I think it would be fun to chat about our respective experiences. I love the quote! I definitely have not come on very strong but I like to think I have a small but loyal reader base that I have developed over the years. I have often felt the same thing; that it would have been easier to just write a book.

    Congrats to your tenacity! I’ve enjoyed and I’m sure will continue to enjoy your posts!


  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Nova, how thoughtful of you.

    Best wishes to you with your blogging, too. I just finished writing one about being asked to allow my content onto an app… sigh… Writing is now all free, if we’re crazy enough to go that route. I rejected the “offer” to expand my fan base on principle. Deep breaths…

  5. Randy Caparoso says:

    Great work, Jo! I admire your energy, grace and resiliency. R

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Thanks, Randy. I’m a great admirer of your work and stamina, too.

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