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Why does wine blogging matter?

Published:  30 July, 2008

Blogging is certainly not the most direct route to fame and fortune. In fact, I'd wager most would be hard pressed to name a single wine blogger anywhere in the world.

So should the UK wine trade care about wine blogging? Yes! Blogging, if well done, can transform the relationship between wineries, consumers and retailers.

Wine blogging is not just about wine geeks writing their tasting notes of Yellow Tail or writing personal rants against well-known writers. Wine blogging is considerably more diverse than many imagine, involving winemakers, retailers, journalists, experts and amateur reviewers, bloggers who match food and wine, photographers, and more.

Building relationships

Blog writing is similar to 'opinion' pieces in a magazine or journal, personal views on the world of wine, which hopefully are relevant, educational, dynamic and entertaining. What makes blogging stand out is not that that it is delivered online or that blogs are updated regularly, but that the content is personal and encourages feedback, so that readers build a relationship with individual bloggers. You only have to read and follow the ones you like after all.

It is these relationships that are new and important. Wineries can now build loyal, informed consumers and advocates around the world, and for a winery, this blog 'marketing' is virtually free. Reviewers can pick the smallest of niches and become trusted sources, delivering valuable traffic to online retailers. Journalists, unrestricted by word count and features schedules, can indulge their personal passions and bring us great content that no editor might commission.

Commercial success

There have been some notable exceptions, such as Gary Vaynerchuck from Wine Library TV, but no-one expects individual bloggers to revolutionise the wine world. However, if you take all 600+ wine bloggers together, they are creating opportunities for a lot more people to read and learn about wine, and ultimately this will translate into wine sales.

Consumer interest

The wine business has always sought ways to reach out to consumers and communicate the personality and individuality of their wines, and now blogging - whether it be by the winemaker, the consumer with first-hand experience, or the trade professional offering a trusted review, makes this possible.

If anything is holding blogging back it is the bloggers' inability to make any sort of money from their efforts, and unfortunately money is the final arbiter of success. This is a Catch-22 situation. Without a revenue stream it remains a hobby and is not taken seriously by advertisers, PRs and the media, and since they don't take it seriously, there is no investment in marketing through blogs.

Wine bloggers around the world will be meeting in Europe (Rioja, 29-31 August) andNorth America (Sonoma, 24-26 August) to discuss how we can change this. The future does not necessarily include banner ads or pay-per-click, but if it is to prosper and develop, it must find ways to generate some sort of revenue.

These are exciting times for wine communications, and I encourage you to read more wine blogs and join the conversation.

Suggested blogs to visit:

Wine Conversation


Wine Library TV

La Gramiere

Good Wine Under $20

Wine Anorak