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Tuesday Tributes
Fermentation Finishes First: The Voters Get It Right!

By Steve Eliot

A quick check on the wine blogosphere finds the week beginning with plenty of chatter about the just-announced winners of the 2011 Wine Blog Awards, and, as might be expected, the tone of commentary ranges from congratulatory patting-on-the-back to second-guessing, from smiles and raised eyebrows to downright dissension. We, of course, feel compelled to add our own two-cents to the discussion.

We were not a contender at the 4th annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville. The CGCW blog is still in its infancy and too new for consideration, there are no hurt feelings or vanity votes here, and the extent to which we may or may not agree with results is irrelevant. Our thoughts, this morning, are not so much concerned with who won and who did not, but rather with the remarkable growth and maturity of wine blogging as a whole.

Yes, many complain that there is far too much electronic bleating of Internet sheep, and, even if we agree that worthwhile insights might have at times been likened to needles in a haystack, there are more than a few serious voices and provocative ideas to be found these days from those whose passion drives them to blog about wine. There has been much hand-wringing about what blogging has meant and will mean to the world of wine journalism. Will it survive? Will wine bloggers tire as daily then weekly then even monthly writing becomes a grind? What kind of rewards might drive professional involvement...and is professional involvement all that important? Good questions all and ones that inspire no small measure of crystal-ball speculation, but one thing is certain: the world of wine writing has been indelibly changed.

The latest round of Blogger Awards very much testifies to that fact, and, if the winners deserve a tip of the hat, so too does the host of very good writers and sites that just missed in their reach for the ring. This year's top honors as Best Overall Wine Blog goes to Tom Wark's Fermentation,, and we could not agree more. Mr. Wark has been called the godfather of wine blogging, the one who started it all, but his successes are not about being first, they are about thoughtful relevance, solid reporting and advocacy for common sense. In the aftermath of his award, he muses in this morning's web entry about the meanings and measures of success and comes the conclusion that success is ultimately tied and dependant on "how other people react to what you are doing."

Yes, Tom, we agree, and this Tuesday we feel the need to react by adding our voices to the many who feel that the voters got this one right.

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