How NOT to Blog about Wine

Posted by The Wine Whore |

I spend a lot of time thinking. I think about what makes wine taste good... I think about what I enjoy reading... and I think about what other people enjoy reading about wine. Like all well planned quests for knowledgesearches, my search for information about wine began on the internet. Not only is this information superhighway great for free porn and social networking sites, but it also has a lot of great information about the grape.

When it comes to free wine info, the internet offers two outlets: blogs and winery websites. I follow a great deal of both. While there are a lot of great websites out there, every single one has positive and negative qualities. Everything from spelling errors, crappy photography, and run on reviews plague many wine websites floating around the internet today. My blog is certainly no exception.

What is the RIGHT way to blog/write about wine?

Since it is Saturday afternoon, and I have a pounding headache (sadly not from too much wine), I figured I would open up the discussion. What do you like about wine websites or blogs? What do you hate? Provide examples anonymously if you are afraid of upsetting people... believe me, they'll thank you for the constructive criticism in the end.

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Rachele said...

I like wine reviews that are descriptive of the wine's flavor,aroma and finish. I also love hearing about what food pairings are suggested, especially if they are non-traditional pairings. By letting the reader know what flavors and aromas are present, they can then decide for themselves if it's something they may or may not like. A price point is another piece of info I like to see.

Anonymous said...

Pet Peeve: Blogs that subsist almost entirely of tasting note after tasting note. Sometimes I wonder if bloggers only write to get more samples-giving points out like they work at the Spectator.
Wine is about so much more than just tasting notes. Wine is an ever evolving narrative. There is a story and history behind each bottle and each region. My favorite blog entries are the ones that talk about the wine region and THEN incorporate the tasting note into how this wine is a reflection of that region.
That draws me so much more into the wine and encourages me to try it so that I, too, can see that reflection. I don't care about your personal likes and dislikes in wine. I don't care about points. I care about the story.

The Wine Whore said...

I agree with you Rachele, but these descriptions sometimes seem very repetitive which make them worthless to me. Price point is definitely helpful. Reviews are difficult because everyone has such different taste... how do you describe a wine so that everyone can understand what it would taste like in their own mouth?

Anonymous- The story is definitely key... especially when it comes to the techniques that make a wine taste the way it does. There are so many different stories behind the wineries and their history as well as their process that really make up the taste of a glass of wine. I found this especially during my trip to Bordeaux.

whineaux (Dawn) said...

I like honest descriptions. If I wanted to read wine spectator, I would (and I do) blogs are more informal. More experiential to me.

Wine Traveler said...

I like hearing stories about visits to wineries, the history of the winery and winemakers. Visits to vinyards and stories about the farmers taht grow the grapes we so enjoy.

The Wine Whore said...

That's a great point Dawn! Blogs should really be different than a magazine like Wine Spectator... I am a reader too, but since I have been caught up in blogging so much lately, I find that I read it less often. That being said, there is value in both WS and blogs as long as they follow a slightly different format.

Wine Traveler - It seems like you are not alone. Several people admit that they like to read about these types of stories. I wish there were more wineries in FL that I could visit... maybe it's time for me to move! :)


The Happy Mrs. said...

First of all - Welcome Back!

Tasting notes, the background of the wine, the region - I enjoy them all! They help me pick out the highlights (or the low lights) of the wine, and on a broader scale, help me hone my own tastes and what I like.

As i've tried to do (and plan to re-do, revise, and recover, now that I'm not out of town working 7 days a week freelancing) in my own blog, I like hearing the bloggers personality and own experience of why they chose and are posting about a particular bottle. I agree with Dawn - the informal experimental are the ones I relate to the most!

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you for the warm welcome! I really missed our conversations while I was away. It felt weird being so disconnected from the internet... but that's not to say that I still didn't have a great time!

The blog posts that I least enjoy are the ones which are predictable. There are many examples of those out there... it's almost like they wrote some sort of computer program to describe the one. I get tired of these types of posts very quickly.


Joeshico said...

I gave up on the Mags long ago and read as many blogs as possible. I don't care a lot for 20+ paragraphs on a single wine review, but there are some blogs that post long articles and are able to keep my interest throughout. Again as anonymous and you already said there is much more to a posting than just a list of descriptors.
There are many journalist out there that write very well, but I favor the personal blogger with the short story and short review.

The Wine Whore said...

I have to agree with you Joe! I find that I read more blogs than publications. They just seem more genuine and less sterile. I don't care for the brutally long entries though but sometimes, when they are written well, I can make it through the occasional ten page review.

How do you keep postings and reviews fresh and interesting?

Anonymous said...

Hi Randy:
First, welcome back. I hope you have to work many long hours back at the 9-5 to make up for all the fun you had in Europe!

Blogs... wine blogs... well, lets see. Like you, I too follow a lot of blogs. I like a variety of sites - ones that are regional specific like Lenn Thompson's site (lennthompson.typepad.com/lenndevours) and www.VirginiaWineTime.com. I also appreciate excellent, long form writers like Jeff at GoodGrape.com. I sometimes even appreciate your posts, when you have pictures of other cool bloggers in the post.

Given the fact that I am a naturally bad photographer, I have a soft spot for Alleigh's A Glass After Work blog (perhaps best photography for a wine blog). She got mad photo skills.

Speaking of wine blog photography, one thing that 'grinds my gears' are those wine blogs that insist on taking bad photos along with computer generated tasting notes (it's one or the other people). An example could be that one person who happens to take photos with her Centrum vitamins in the background. Come on!

I feel we are all obligated to raise the bar on ourselves and at least use spellcheck and attempt to clean up the house - remove all newspapers and Centrum vitamin bottles from the table before snapping a photo for one's wine blog.

Since I have low self-esteem and a weak constitution for criticism, I have made a decision not to post my blog site for fear of other's criticism.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fairly new blogger and it's taking a while to find a style, especially since I'm NOT writer. I enjoy a blogger's personal experiences and stories. A review now and again is great but they shouldn't feel that it is obligatory just because their theme is wine.

I think it can be challenging to write tasting notes that appeal to everyone. I recently read a popular wineblogger's post on how boring it is to read someone's notes, and how many times can one mention floral aromas and fruity flavors. Well, that's fine if you have a vocabulary that hails from Oxford or you were raised in the vineyards.

Let's give the regular, everyday wine lover a chance to succeed in this over-saturated wine world on the web.

Cuvaison Estate Wines said...

Thanks for posting this question! As a winery it is so good to hear what both wine lovers and blogger's have to say on this subject. Learning a lot!

To flip the question: What do winelovers/bloggers want to see from the wineries? ...besides making great wine :)

The Wine Whore said...

I am really glad that this is starting some excellent comments/debate. That makes it all worth it.

Excellent question! Lemme open this up to others so that we may brainstorm what wine lovers and bloggers want from wineries. Personally, I want good tasting wine for what I consider a fair price... and it wouldn't hurt if it would be easily to obtain locally. Beyond that, I enjoy interacting with the wineries and almost feeling like a part of the family. All of these things make a difference to me...

What do you all think?

Kevin Leete said...

To be honest, the best information for wineries to blog about would be weather patterns, history of the vineyard, style of fermentation/production/harvesting, and maybe even some personal notes on different bottles from the winemakers. The whole "it was a good year" concept is so vague, that I think specific stories about the process that leads to a good year, both environmentally and process-wise, could lead to a great blog.

Joeshico said...

Kevin's comment is right on!
Also, at least for me, I hate getting bottles with generic no info labels. I like to read the short paragraphs with a bit of winery info or history, usually found on the rear label of some wines.
Also don't care to much for those that go into detail of the wine descriptors on the labels.

Jeff said...

I know what I think is sadly missing, and that's people that write up scathing reviews of bad wine. There's a lot of plonk out there. How come no one's the proverbial Paul Revere?

joan said...

Jeff- I think Randy has given bad reviews to wines he's nearly gagged when tasting. You must not watch his broadcasts.
Kevin's suggestion would be great to read about all that goes into the bottle from wine makers perspective. And Joe, if I read ..has notes of blackberry etc. my taste buds don't always discern those details and I think I'm off.
Interesting comments!

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