Why Wine Bloggers Aren't Scoring

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Have I told you how much I LOVE lists and scores?! Well, Parker isn't the only one having fun creating theses types of things... Looks like the folks over at Good Grape have come up with a "Best Of" list of wine blogs.

First of all, congratulations to all of the bloggers mentioned... this is an honor you should cherish but nonetheless accept with a microscopic grain of salt. No, I am not bitter because I am not one of the bloggers listed (which HAS to be some sort of oversight), I would just want to put the whole thing into perspective.

Unlike, Wine Spectator and Robert Parker's infamous scores, few people ever look to bloggers for reviews, and even LESS people actually read the esoteric and often overly wordy musings that fall on most wine blogger's websites.

Don't believe me? Try it for yourself!

Approach the next person you find on the street and ask them if they've heard of any of the wine blogs listed in this "Best of" List... heck, you'll probably get blank stares just mentioning Good Grape, let alone any other blogs. They may be "The Best" but they still aren't good enough!

How do you reach the masses?

The answer is simple: give them what they want!

So what do you want? Do you want hundreds of pages packed with tasting reviews decorated with useless descriptions? Do you want to bombarded with information about wineries that you'll probably never buy a bottle from much less ever visit?

...Or are you just looking to be entertained?

I think the masses are just looking for some good entertainment...

Wine bloggers, ask yourself this, is my blog entertaining... at all?

(This message brought to you by The Wine Whore)
(Photo credit: Art.com)

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Ben Simons said...

I think that you are definitely right about a blog needing to be entertaining to attract an audience that isn't made up entirely of people who also blog about wine.

That being said, I do think that people read the reviews of wines, just maybe not consistently reading the same blogs. I think a lot of people will Google a specific wine that they are thinking about purchasing and see what kind of reviews that they can find. Often this means that they will only read the first one or two reviews that come up in the search, as opposed to having that "go-to" blog for reviews. So, it seems like the key to having people return to your blog after reading a review is to make the review entertaining enough that people want to check you out in the future.

Wino4ever said...

Yes, you are entertaining - just as long as I know when to put up the B.S. curtain.

Anonymous said...

No way. Not only are you a shill, but you don't know jack shit about wine. And here's the thing--the general public doesn't read wine blogs, or about wine at all. They don't give a fuck. So the general public isn't who you shold be asking because they aren't the relevant target audience. Wine-people on the other hand, value good opinions, or people that like the same stuff as them. So they probably do like that stuff. I thought you had an MBA? Actually, that makes sense. Most people I've met with MBA's are actually morons.

The Wine Whore said...

I agree with you, Ben... reviews are important but they have to be entertaining too! What types of reviews do you think are entertaining?

Wino4ever, what do you mean by the B.S. curtain? In any case, I never said that I was entertaining... this post is merely an observation about wine blogs and why they aren't as well known as they could be.

drinknectar said...

Randy - you are over the top and one of a kind. Your blog is definitely entertaining. One of the few blogs I visit every day. It's not my model. I really like some of the ones mentioned in the Good Grape list (although I think there is a little good ol boys club of sorts happening in there).

Some people blog about wine as a matter of documenting their personal journey. Other blog to bring exposure to a particular area (WAwinereport or OR_Wine_Blog). One key is the establish a niche (which you have obviously done very well). People like you and Dale Cruse provide great entertaining value!

The ocean is certainly big enough for multiple styles and types. All of this will shake out in due time. The cream always rises to the top. There are enough heady wine folks to support Good Grape, regular 'joes' to support 1WineDude, geeks who love DrVino, and down to earth folks who support .

Then there are the whores, like me and you! No really, I have my own agenda. I really want to explore the wine and coffee scene in our area. So far, great response from the twitter community, and I'm working on local networking stuff too. Eventually, I'll have a brand I can promote in the area!

Keep up your style of entertaining. I'm sure looking forward to the conversation you get here.

Josh @nectarwine

The Wine Whore said...

Hey anonymous!

Not only are you missing the point of what I'm talking about... YOU'RE A HUGE PUSSY for posting a comment like THAT without sharing your identity!

..oh, and nice stab at my MBA... it's really easy to throw stones when no one knows who you REALLY are!

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you Josh!

I read a lot if not all of the blogs mentioned too... honestly I enjoy reading them. But I just often ask myself "who's reading this stuff"?

Anonymous said...

If I told you who I was, that would be no fun for either one of us. Anonymous heckling is amusing. And you're a self-professed whore--you should be comfortable enough with someone treating you like a piece of trash.

The Wine Whore said...

... nah, nice try but I'm sticking with my first assessment!

Ben Simons said...

As far as what kind of reviews are entertaining, I don't know that there is really a formula for that. Sometimes it can be raw charisma (see @garyvee), and sometimes it's just quality writing (like @1WineDude) and sometimes it can be content that is more clever or funny (such as yourself, or Dale Cruse). Some of it just comes down to personal taste.

I also agree with Josh's comment above. There is always room for people filling a specific niche. If a blog like Josh's is doing a good job of covering the Spokane and Washington wine and coffee scene, there will always be an audience for it in that area, and even beyond. I live in West Texas, but I still enjoy reading @nectarwine.

The Wine Whore said...

I agree with the idea that blog can be successful by covering a niche but that brings up a good question... do niche blogs have to come together in some sort of collaborative project in order to successful?

The Wine Whore said...

That's a great question!

I know what I want to accomplish... but I'm curious to hear what other bloggers are looking for!

What are you looking to accomplish with your blog?

Psycosis said...

No. It is not entertaining in the least. It is a dreary, dreadful bore and I do not understand how you even have sponsors. Why I...blah...blah...blah.
See, anyone can do the pretentious heckling. Though I like to use considerably less cursing. Maybe it's the writer in me.

maulmatt! said...

I write my little blog as a labor of love- a hobby to keep me interested and to keep my mind sharp. It's a creative outlet and a good way to document my wine experiences.

For shits and giggles I'll tweat when I post something or email my friends occasionally about it; but honestly it's all gravy is anyone actually reads it.

A blog is fairly esoteric by nature. It needs to be true to one's self first; success should be accidental.

Psycosis said...

Damn, I forgot to mention keep up the good work. Maybe if there were more entertaining wine blogs more of the general public would see wine as more than a snob's job to critique. Experiment! Imagine it's the era of free love again and all those bottles of wine are the promiscuous young girls and boys that want you to have a bit of fun with them!

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! Psycosis, I think I get what you're saying and I agree.. like wine, I like to read blogs that have something new, interesting, or entertaining to say. Why else would we spend SO much time reading 'em!? Ok, the truth is that WE are a bunch of wine nuts... but why would anyone ELSE read 'em?

Nomatter why you right your blog, I agree that ultimately you need to follow maulmatt's example. People can tell when you don't love what you do... it will come through in your writing, regularity of posts, and overall content.

Let's crank this up to 11! :)

Karen said...

I believe in entertainment! It's too easy to glaze over postings that simply describe wines. Give good writing and context. Craft a story with the event that provides one's content. Draw me in as a reader, give me eye candy and visual pleasure. Make my imagination run wild. I want to live vicariously through the blogs I read. And so as a lover of wine, literature, and visual imagery, I aim to marry this holy trinity.

The Wine Whore said...


I'm gonna start reading more of YOUR blog! It sounds like we see eye to eye on this one!

How could I make The Wine Whore MORE entertaining?

Richard Auffrey said...

Dancing girls and free wine!

The Wine Whore said...


Ok, I've got the free wine thing covered if only I could figure out how to ship it... but what about the dancing girls? Any volunteers? :P

Dale Cruse said...

No offense, but no, your blog isn't entertaining. Amusing sometimes, but not entertaining to me.

But I think you hit on something more important in your question. You asked WINE BLOGGERS if your blog is entertaining. I say: WHO CARES what wine bloggers think (including me)?! I don't want to write for other wine bloggers to read. If that was the case then the wine blogosphere would be an echo chamber at best and some sort of sick circle jerk at worst.

Well I for one am sick of it and won't do it anymore. On my blog I brought in other authors - some of which aren't even wine people - to write about wine. And their audiences have come with them! I'm just scratching the surface of the ability to scale.

I believe that for wine blogs to become as influential as they can be, we have to learn to stop just writing for each other.

Chris said...

If you manage to get any dancing girls on here I will promise to read this blog every day...

The Wine Whore said...

Dale, I appreciate your honesty. I never said that this blog WAS entertaining... I was actually asking how it could BE entertaining.

In any case, albeit unsolicited... thank you for your opinion. That's what this is REALLY all about... exchanging opinions and views on wine and whatnot.

I think a lot of people out there could argue that the wine blogosphere HAS become some sort of sick circle jerk... you can't tell me that there aren't all kinds of "clicks" when it comes to blogging... what I am saying is that I want to figure out how to engage more than just bloggers... I want to get the attention of people who don't even care about wine.

After all, we all know the easiest way to engage other bloggers:

-Praise 'em through a Top Ten list
-Make fun of another blog

Richard Auffrey said...

Now if you could get some of the girls in the pics on Dale's blog to be your Dancing Girls, then your traffic would skyrocket!

The Wine Whore said...

What do you say, Dale? :)

Dale Cruse said...

I declare bullshit. You most certainly did not ask how your blog COULD BE entertaining. You asked if it was when you asked: "Wine bloggers, ask yourself this, is my blog entertaining... at all?"

I answered that question for myself only: No. I don't consider my opinion unsolicited at all.

I DO, however, very strongly agree when you say, "I want to get the attention of people who don't even care about wine."

The Wine Whore said...

Ohhh! When I said "ask yourself this, is my blog entertaining... at all?" I should have written it like this:

Wine Bloggers, as yourself this "Is my wine blog entertaining... at all?"

... meaning, ask yourself if you think that YOUR blog is entertaining. No B.S. on this one... I didn't even realize that it was being interpreted the other way.

Lenn Thompson said...

I want to hear about this "old boys club" first and foremost.

I think Dale hit the nail on the head (per usual) here -- who cares about writing for other bloggers. That limited readership is not at all what we shoot for over on the NYCR. We aim to hit anyone interested in NY wine. We do not write for other bloggers -- how could we? Most bloggers can't even get the wines we talk about.

I have to say though, Randy...this smells like another post that was written only to get attention. Attention is wanted by a whore after all.

Your blog has improved...but this is a step back in my honest opinion. There are better niches to target than what you're doing now with stuff like this.

My challenge to wine bloggers for 2010? Write more about WINE and less about wine blogging. Your average non-blogger reader doesn't care about this stuff.

Write for your audience and who you want your audience to be.

Oh, and calling someone a pussy in comments isn't exactly professional. You can make them feel small without lowering yourself to that level, right?

Dale Cruse said...

Ah, now I see the confusion. You wrote this:

"ask yourself this, is my blog entertaining... at all?"

when you really meant this:

"ask yourself this: 'is my blog entertaining... at all?'"

Lenn Thompson said...


I mentioned the acronym for the name of my site because I was illustrating one (of many) differences between our sites. I didn't spell out the full name or include a URL. Let's calm down on that.

Long-winded, hmm? Our readers have attentions spans longer than 30 seconds. And if you read through our comments, you can easily see who the bloggers are and who the non-bloggers are. As blogger and someone active on Twitter, you know who most of the bloggers are.

As for your handling of Mr./Mrs. Anonymous -- he or she was disrespectful, sure, but if it were me, I'd have taken the high road. Your readers can recognize this person is being disrespectful. Name-calling right back at him or her makes you look just as bad.

Also, you can't really call someone out for being anonymous when you offer anonymous as an option on your comment drop-down :)

I don't really care how you justify it in your own mind -- this was a post written for other bloggers to read. Those posts suck. I tell any blogger who will listen that they need to stop writing for one another -- unless they are happy just getting free samples and being nothing more than amateur.

More bloggers need to take things to the next level.

The Wine Whore said...

Honestly, I wouldn't care if you posted the whole URL, link, billboard, etc... I just found it funny that you called me a whore!

Long winded or not, 30 seconds or three hours, the point is that people have to WANT to read whatever the hell it is you're putting out there... THAT'S taking it to the next level!

Anyone disagree?

Brian (TheOther46.com) said...

Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I'm VERY interested in wine reviews, vintages, and/or the background on a specific winery. Let's take Lenn Thompson's "The New York Cork Report" for example. I visit the city quite often (both on business and for pleasure) and make an effort to drink local when I'm there. I depend on Lenn's site for both wine and winery recommendations so I'm equipped when I go searching for that special New York bottle. Previously, I'd select blindly and be disappointed. With the "quality" content on his site, I feel more confident in my selection of NY wines and will most likely plan my trip to Long Island around his winery reviews.

I'll be honest, I didn't read through the 33 comments, but wanted to add my two cents.

Brian said...

To answer your question (2nd paragraph), probably not. Again, just my two cents, if a blogger is targeting the greater masses he/she would need to expand outside of wine.


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