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Tuesday Tributes: Best of the Blogs
Why Millennials Don't Read Wine Blogs or Tasting Notes

By Charles Olken

The Connoisseurs’ Wine Blog is not yet six months old, and it does not get the traffic that the popular folks have begun to enjoy. But, it must be doing something right because increasingly, it is getting postings from Millennials who tell me that blogging is dead and I am too old to know it.

Last night, we were visited by someone using the nom de plume of Sippingsister. I personally prefer folks to post under their own names, but there is no way to police that desire so folks like “sister” and the ubiquitous “Anonymous” are perfectly free to stop by.

Sister’s contribution was actually much appreciated. She left this food for thought, and she succeeded—with me at least. I followed the link and very much enjoyed what I found there.

I think blogs will be the tree falling in the forest. And it may not take 10 years -- see this from nytimes

What you will find at the link is a very well-written article by Verne Kopytoff entitled, “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter”. But what you will find when you read the whole article is that Mr. Kopytoff, who may not have made up the headline (believe me when I tell you that my short life as a newspaper columnist resulted in some of the most convoluted titles for my articles I could ever imagine) actually is trying to tell us that the young are not like the rest of us. Now, aside from the fact that I am beginning to wonder how old Mr. Kopytoff actually is, he does eventually come around to the truth.

It is the young, the Millennials, who have given up blogging. Apparently it takes too much energy. It is too hard. One young women went so far as to say that she likes a social media site where all she has to do is put up her pictures. The actual writing of words was getting in the way. The reality is that the young turn out to be fans of Twitter and Facebook, and any diminution in the number of blogs in existence is laid at their doorstep. Oldies like the rest of us apparently still remember how to write because blogging by people over 34 has continued to rise.

How is it, you are asking, that I have somehow conflated the news about the blogging patterns of children with their disdain for wine reviews? Well, the answer is not scientific. Rather, if one does read the various wine blogs, it become pretty easy to spot the Millennials. They are the ones telling us that wine reviews do not matter; that journalism as we have known it is dead; that the NY Times has no idea how it is going to survive and other silliness that gets posted from time to time on blogs written by established writers.

Well, I have an answer for my esteemed young friends. Some years ago, when I was their age and surviving the Summer of Love here in San Francisco, our favorite mantra was “Never trust anyone over 30”. And then something unforeseen at the time happened. We turned thirty.

Some of us bought a house in the suburbs, raised 2.2 soccer players and then turned forty. And along the way, our middle-classishness and our palates led us into the arena of the wine aficionados. I was thirty-five when I built my first wine cellar in the back of our garage. And I am not alone. Old rockers now own wineries and vineyards. Old hippies now work in tasting rooms.

And when those Millennials do turn thirty and forty, which I can assure them that they will, they too are going to like blogs and wine reviews. I had one of them in the house just today. Not so long ago, he was a bike messenger in San Francisco. Now he lives across the way, has one son so far and owns his own business. So, I am not worried about the Millennials. They make think my way of life is dead, but they will discover otherwise. It is just going to take a few years. In the meantime, if they keep drinking wine, they too may turn out to be wine bloggers.


This Poor Animal
by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:2/22/2011 9:02:21 AM

Can we stop beating it to death? I respect the hell out of you Charlie and I think of all the wine press it is you and your publication that I hold in the highest esteem, part of the reason being that I have been involved in your tastings and have seen first hand that it is a very fair and balanced (oh damn, isn't that Fox News' deal...shit) way of tasting and everyone's voice and palate is taken in account before a score and "poof" is given. A far more accurate reflection of the wine than some jackhole running through 300 wines and slapping a number on it. Both styles are allowed and it comes down to the person seeking the information to place value on how it's given...the same is true of wine blogs. You think people like Dr. Vino, STEVE! or 1Wine Doody are reading my drivel? Of course they aren't nor I would suspect, are many of their readers. A voice, just like wine, is very subjective....


Will wine blogs die off? Many of them will, shit many of them already have and many more will follow, kind of like crappy restaurants in that way. In the 3 years I have been "writing" and reading wine blogs I can think of only one whose demise made any difference to me and that was one that had the sack to poke fun at a business, and the people in it that tend to take themselves far too seriously.


Look, I've been PR people mind you, that if I want my blog to be successful, (what the hell does that even mean?) that I should cut my posts in half and keep my wine reviews to ten words or less, well I can't do that. Wine is not a sound bite to me, it's personal. It's the people, the places, the night I spend alone letting a bottle make love to me, so my blog shall never fit into the "successful" model and you know what, I'm absoultely fine with that.


I can only speak what I know and what I see and My Dear Sweet Charlie if wine blogs are in no danger of vanishing and there is a wealth of interesting and well written stuff to choose from, how come your Best of the Blogs isn't featuring one of them today? Just sayin'...

by Charles E. Olken
Posted on:2/22/2011 9:14:23 AM

Sam, I have no idea where you are coming from.

This column is about best of the blogs. It responds to a column in the New York Times whose title missed the point but whose content did not.

The best of the blogs will survive as long as their makers are having fun, feel rewarded by the quality of their efforts and the feedback they get from their readers. That is what this column says and that is why it is about best of the blogs.

Incidentally, I just ran across the Suburban Wino blog and his comments about grower Champers. I had to admit to him that you have done the same thing to me--that is opening up the world of Marcel Moineaux and Camille Saves. But, Sam, don't get too successful at that endeavor. Pretty soon you will make those small guys into big guys--and then, where will we be?

Millennials and blogs
by Tom Johnson
Posted on:2/22/2011 9:43:12 AM

This is one of my favorite subjects: people who confuse the behaviors of youth with generational differences. Everyone looks at how the Millennials operate and says, "Oh my God! They're different from their parents because they don't take blood pressure medication! This is going to be the end of the blood pressure medication industry!"

The Great Mystery of the Millennials is a combination of the Millennials' own lack of perspective and the lack of perspective of market researchers who can't see past the next quarterly report. Despite the panic, the Millennials are eventually going to grow up and become regular people. 

Eventually they're going to take blood pressure medication. They're going to develop wine brand preferences. As you point out, they're going to settle down enough to read something more than 140 characters.

They're going to be different, sure, but they're going to be the same, too. Every generation is like that. 

valid points
by William Allen - Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog
Posted on:2/22/2011 9:45:56 AM

Nice post Charlie and I think many valid points. I almost didn't read the NYT article when I saw it as the title made me roll my eyes, here we go again, but the content actually different as you point out.

Why all the drama and naysayers? Usually lack of time in the world to understand the cyclical nature of things IMHO. Media dead? Ya sure. Transforming perhaps, as I repeatedly write and present: its a communication evolution. New Media supports & augments Traditional, not replaces it.

The fact that Wine Blogs will go through a Darwinistic weeding out is natural and healthy. It's a labor of love, and it takes HUGE effort to sustain it over time, in today's busy world.

It's also valid that (some) Millennials can't be bothered to read or write, are both valid but not connected phenonemon. Millennials are important, but no segment or media format is going to collapse from their partial support. And I love your anologies on transformational changes as we um....mature.

I write my wine reviews for consumers, and get increasig feedback from many sources that they influence what people try and buy - which makes me enormously fulfilled.

As I wrote in Friday's Rhone Ranger (long) post I refuse to write wine reviews of 5 sentences and be done. I want to combine education, substance, not just rattle off flavor profiles. The blog isn't for wine writers or other bloggers, its for consumers first and foremost. (I am of course honored when the former do.)

So like Sam, sticking to my guns and my format. It seems to be working and reaching critical mass. I am too much of a hack on the fly to ever get too big time, and I like it that way.

cheers  and thanks for sharing these insights


by William Allen - Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog
Posted on:2/22/2011 9:47:19 AM

btw Charlie, if you ever have the ability to add email feeds to your blog (not sure your platform) would be awesome. I try not to miss them, but that would help a lot.

No Subject
by Chuck Hayward
Posted on:2/22/2011 9:51:26 AM

A quote from your blog: "Apparently it takes too much energy. It is too hard. One young women went so far as to say that she likes a social media site where all she has to do is put up her pictures. The actual writing of words was getting in the way."

I have always enjoyed the following adage and find it quite useful even though I do appreciate good writing...   "If a picture says a thousand words, why write? It's inefficient!"

And as for the possibility of Ms. Duggan's blog getting more popular, take a page out of the above and start doing some videos and we'll all be watching!! Yowza!!

Sam On Video
by Charles E. Olken
Posted on:2/22/2011 10:04:22 AM

Chuck, I think you are on to something here.

But I think I can go you one better. I don't know if Sam and Paige have met, but if a video of one gorgeous blond is good, then a video of two gorgeous blonds would have to be better.

And, Chuck. How long before someone calls us out for being sexist. Oh well, if we can't admire beauty at our ages, what do we have left but wine blogs and grower champagne?

Not A Clue
by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:2/22/2011 11:17:05 AM

And that my dear is why I should not try and post a comment when running late for work and shy one cup of coffee.


I think the point I was trying to make, I mean other than giving you a little poke in your side about running out of bloggers to shine a light on, was that this conversation is just one big loop of never ending and answerless questions. There is more than one way to write about and appreciate wine and as long as that is true....which it shall always be, there will be people writing about it be it in print or on the internet and those of us that are in it for love, well we can't help but share that.


I love pictures as much as the next girl but rarely can they do what someone like Alfonso Cevola can with his words....make me ache to know, taste, smell and feel just a little bit of what he's talking about, pictures and numbers just don't do that for me. So just as I hope all wine does not begin to taste the same, I hope there is always an arena for people to share their lust, love and information. I guess I am agreeing with you love, I do think blogging is here to stay, not in the numbers there are now....I mean how long can people be inspired to write for their cousin Cooter and Aunt Gert before they hang it up and find something better to do with their time? But for those of us that this wine world is beyond a hobby....well we will still be around, sharing and discussing wine. I for one am thankful for that.


Oh and why do people keep putting 2 g's in my name? I've got double d's people not double g's! That being said, Chuck you make me blush.....

by Thomas Pellechia
Posted on:2/22/2011 1:07:05 PM

I predict that when by dropping the word "wine" that is placed before either the word "writer" or  "blogger" everyone will be better off.

Wine is a subject--writing is a skill; blogging is, hmm...

by Charlie Olken
Posted on:2/22/2011 1:33:54 PM

So, Mr. P., work with me here. Does this mean that we will no longer have sports writers, financial writers, editorial writers?

Right you are, Charlie
by Thomas Pellechia
Posted on:2/22/2011 1:46:26 PM


I've spent much of my communications career (in the visual as well as written word sphere) hating the concept of pigeon-holing.

Writers certainly have the right to specialize, but that has to do with their passion, not with their writing skills.

There are writers who write solely about sports, finance, wine, and so on. There are also writers who write about more than one subject. And then there are writers who can't write about anything, at least not well enough to be called writers.

Blogging is no different--or it shouldn't be viewed differently.

Plus, we are not always what we think or say that we are, just because we say that's what we are. How's that for a Donald Rumsfeldlian comment?

It is too HARD!
by Pamela Heiligenthal
Posted on:2/22/2011 7:50:00 PM

Maybe Millennials don’t read wine blogs because they don’t know how to read? That’s why they prefer pictures? ~signed the snarky hosemaster’s daughter

Ok, I’m just joking. But seriously, “...It is too hard”.  Who said things would come easy? Imagine where the world would be if Gates, Branson, Hawking, da Vinci, Ford, Buffett, Zuckerberg said the same thing.

by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:2/22/2011 8:51:02 PM

Holy crap, did we have a kid and I missed it? Damn martinis....

Who Knew?
by Charlie Olken
Posted on:2/22/2011 11:20:51 PM

Pam meet Sam. Sam meet Pam. Who knew?

by Ron Washam, HMW
Posted on:2/23/2011 9:08:40 AM

Oops. Sorry, Samantha, I should have mentioned Pamela. I guess the cat's out of the bag now. Pamela was the love child of a previous romance. I've hinted at it before, tried to make light of that long lost fling, but, well, you should have known, My Love, that where there's smoke, there's Feiring...

Not true
by Thomas Pellechia
Posted on:2/23/2011 10:04:57 AM

Thus far, Charlie, Hosemaster, and who know who else claims Pamela. I have it on good authority that she is unclaimed--I saw the baggage check myself.

Sigh of Relief
by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:2/23/2011 10:49:59 AM

Ron My Love, No problem whatsoever! Just feared that we had conceived and given birth to a child and I somehow mananged to sleep through it! I will not come between you and your Feiring Flame....

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