I’m Tired of Being Told What Not to Write

I read a lot of wine blogs. I have over 1,000 in my feedreader. Every single day I go through the new posts on all of them. Once every couple of months I do a widespread search to look for new wine blogs. Why? Because I like to read about wine and I like to monitor what’s going on in the wine blog world.  While I’m not the oldest of the wine blogs out there, I’ve been around for quite some time in terms of the age of the wine blog-o-sphere. In nearly 4 years I’ve seen countless wine blogs come and go….some flaming out in a couple months and some mysteriously disappearing with no warning after years.

Recently, I’ve seen articles pop up on many different wine blogs and in the comments of others decrying those of us who write wine reviews. It’s “boring,” “useless,” “not entertaining,” etc. At Palate Press just two days ago, an entire article ran on why no one reads wine blogs and a long comment train followed saying that folks don’t want to read wine reviews. Additionally, check the comments in this post over on 1WineDude.

But here’s the thing: Only other wine bloggers (and perhaps PR and industry folks) care about articles about wine blogging. It’s navel-gazing of the most extreme sort. (I fully realize that I’m being hypocritical as I am currently writing a piece on wine blogging, forgive me the transgression.) Articles on the wine industry as a whole? Again, generally not something the regular everyday consumer is interested in either. Leading me to the main point: Who is your audience? I write wine reviews, vineyard visit stories, the occasional book review, and the once in a blue moon dabble into navel-gazing. My target audience is someone looking for a review on a wine they are thinking about purchasing, wondering what wine in their price range that they might enjoy that night, or perhaps thinking about visiting vineyards in part of the wine country that I’ve happened to visit.

I may just be one of those “amateur bloggers whose coverage of wine is limited to a handful of random samples we’ve just received, a trade tasting we’ve attended, or a press junket we’ve just been treated to” * (by the way, go read this “About” section on Stephen Tanzer’s new blog, it’s one of the douchiest and most self-serving things I’ve read in a while) but as a fellow wine blogger, even if you don’t write wine reviews, what does that matter to you? Go ahead and write about the wine industry or educate people on wine terms, or whatever it is that floats your boat. I’ve got my schtick and you’ve got yours. I won’t tell you you’re boring and useless and how about you stop telling me what to write too?

*I’m being facetious here. If you continue to read Tanzer’s “About” section, apparently living wine is the key—defined as visiting wine regions for a total of several weeks a year (yep, I have that one covered), tasting thousands of wines with their makers annually (so I probably taste closer to 500-1,000 this way), and more at their dining room tables (totally have this one in the bag). Given I’m only one person, this is not my job, I do it in my spare time, nor do I make a penny or ever intend to make a penny from it, I’ll say I taste a damn lot of wine a year. Though I would never make the claim that I am a professional. I am what I am and I’ve never held myself out to be any more or any less.