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Is The Wine Blogosphere Dead—Again?

By Charles Olken

About ten years ago, I was accosted by a social media consultant who told me that she could prove to me that the key to the future of Connoisseurs’ Guide depended on how well we embraced social media. And she would prove it to me for free.

I should have known better. There is no free lunch. Never has been; never will be. And thousands of dollars later, she was proven wrong.

Banner ads on websites were expensive failures. Facebook, while great for staying in touch with thousands of existing wine friends, turned out to be of virtually no value in encouraging broader readership. Twitter turned out to be a short joke (see how I managed to say that in 140 characters or less).

But the one thing that has worked out well has been the CONNOISSEURS’ WINE BLOG. True, it has not generated a big slew of new readers, but it has turned out to be well read by lots of wine professionals, and that readership keeps CGCW front and center in the serious discussions about wine and the entire stage upon which wine writing sits. For her encouragement to start this blog, I am grateful.

Every now and then, some wag pens an editorial that the wine blogosphere is not what it used to be. And while there is some truth in that as measured unscientifically by me as I count up the number of comments that get posted here and on all the other blogs I regularly read, I would opine that the wine blogosphere was never all that it was cracked up to be.

Full credit to Joe Roberts at 1WineDude, Alder Yarrow at Vinography, Steve Heimoff at himself, The Hosemaster, Blake Gray, Tom Wark and lots of other earnest commentators. But frankly, we are talking to mostly ourselves and other industry insiders.

No, the wine blogosphere is not dead. It is simply a continuation of the old “bulletin board” comment sites that eventually led us into blogging. It was never dead and it was never “alive” despite the fact that thousands of people have tried it and there are still plenty of reasonably well-read blogs.

What it has not become is the “arbiter”, the “leavener” of wine opinion. That assignment still resides in the paid-for writings of the newspapers and the wine magazines, and, if we in the blogosphere are not going away, so too are our free-to-the public writings not appreciated as broadly as we might hope. As I might have hoped.


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3/02/16 article
by Tom Barras
Posted on:3/15/2016 10:14:39 PM


Oh, how I miss the days when Gerald Asher wrote a periodic, in depth piece for Gourmet magazine that addressed the full history of a particular wine or winegrower. 

It was far more engaging than the bulk of today's bloggers who all seem to reaching for some kind of award, and in that sense, blogging has become too much of a good, or almost good, thing.

And you're right, most bloggers seem to read other bloggers.  Most readers seem disinclined to post a comment, for I suppose there may be very little substance to the topic. Ah, but they keep on posting . . . . .


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