Regarding “Top 10″ Lists

by Tim Elliott on August 23, 2006

As mentioned here in the past, I’m a fan of Tom Wark’s FERMENTATION blog. Not only does he post often, he regularly is provocative in his views on the business of wine. From time to time he puts his tongue a bit in his cheek and posts Top 10 lists; today’s post got me thinking about the top 10 wine blogs. I know there is a list out there of the top 100 wine blogs, but it seems a bit off for me with non-blogs and defunct blogs listed. Since I wanted this information for a couple of projects I am working on, I looked into the only objective ranking system I trust in the blogosphere: Technorati. Over the past few weeks I have chipped away and logging in 50 wine blogs gleaned from my aggregator and the “top 100″ list, weeding out the entries that aren’t actively being published or are not really blogs in the first place.

The results are far from complete, but here are the current “top 10″ wine blogs sorted by Technorati Ranking:

1. Professor Bainbridge (1,209)
2. Vinography (5,129)
3. Stormhoek (6,372)
4. FERMENTATION (15,346)
5. LENNDEVOURS (16,150)
6. Winecast (16,513)
7. Basic Juice (17,772)
8. Spittoon (19,648)
9. Dr. Vino (20,594)
10. Grape Radio (24,143)

I’m pleased (and humbled) to see my blog on this list and happy to see that 20% here are podcasts. I’m sure I’ve missed a few blogs on my list, but think this is an interesting first cut. Let me know if you have another approach that makes more sense.

So I guess this blog is not on Tom’s proposed, “Top Ten Wine Blogs That Don’t Advocate Top Ten Lists” ;-)

Full Text Feeds, Please!

by Tim Elliott on August 20, 2006

I’m getting ready for our summer vacation and ten days without the trusty Macbook. That doesn’t mean I won’t be blogging here or reading my favorite wine blogs as I have a Windows Mobile handheld. My only gripe as I load up the feeds into Egress is that some of my favorite wine blogs don’t provide full text posts on their feeds. I’m talkin’ to you Alder and Jeff! Please ease my pain and do what Andrew does and provide the alternative full text feed. Or just make your main feed full text like I do and my friends Lenn and Beau. It will make my days on the beach in San Diego so much better; thanks in advance ;-)

Catavino’s 2+1 Survey

by Tim Elliott on August 14, 2006

Ryan started a Q&A meme over at Catavino that I participated in; you can check out the exchange here. What I didn’t know was that there were so many Portuguese wines here in the local market. I’ll be rounding some of Ryan’s wife Gabriella’s picks for a future podcast. You can follow Ryan’s Q&A with fellow wine bloggers here. Great stuff!

Happy Birthday, Basic Juice!

by Tim Elliott on July 28, 2006

Basic Juice, another of my favorite wine blogs, turns two years old today and blogger Beau Jarvis has asked for wine matching suggestions. Since the blog is from the 2004 vintage, that’s the vintage I’d choose to celebrate with. And since it’s a touch toasty in Beau’s home state of Utah at the moment, I’d stick to whites or roses. From my tasting log there are really a couple stand-outs:

A German Riesling from the Rheingau. Johannishof is one of my favorite producers and I’ve had some great ’04’s. If you can’t track that producer down, my second choice would be Leitz (Rüdesheimer Klosterlay). Both of these producers Kabinett wines can be found in the U.S. for $20 or less.

The second stand-out varietal from 2004 is Sauvignon Blanc. If you like the lightly grassy, floral style, look for Cliff Lede SB from the Napa Valley. If you like the “slap-your-face” gooseberry and acid whack attack, Kim Crawford’s SB from Marlborough, New Zealand is hard to beat for under $20 a bottle.

I’m looking forward to many more years of Beau’s wisdom, tasting notes and whimsey. Happy 2nd Birthday, Basic Juice!

Regarding “point pimps” and worse…

by Tim Elliott on July 18, 2006

Like a lot of wine geeks, I read quite a bit of online content but for some reason have never participated much in online forums like eBob. So I was tipped off to a recent “conversation” on eBob reading Alder from Vinography. He points out a particularly heated recent exchange that included Mr. Parker deriding some participants as, “…point pimps and and whores…” Wow, pretty strong stuff considering the issue here is the timing of the electronic version of the Wine Advocate newsletter versus the mailing of the print version. Alder’s take on this issue is more a comment on human nature and online communities; mine is mild shock with how addicted some wine lovers are to scores. To make up your own mind, check out the thread here. Interesting reading, yes, but not the kind I like to spend my time on most evenings.

For me, I’ll stick with the relative civility of the wine blogosphere. If you don’t know where to start, here are my top ten picks:

Basic Juice
Good Grape
The Zinquisition
The Pour
Cellar Rap
Bonus: Wine Blog Watch

Fear of Blogging

by Tim Elliott on January 12, 2006

Over the past several days, I have been posting reasons for wineries to use blogs as another tool to increase their online exposure and ultimately sell more wine. It occurred to me that there is a basic fear that also needs to be overcome before more wineries join the wine blogosphere. The fear is not controlling the message or what becomes of the online conversation.

When I was at Kodak, I was trained by PR flacks on how to answer any type of question and not say anything that was “off-message”. In many cases, this leads to repeating the same canned response highlighting the product or services’ key benefits and how much we care about our customers’ business… blah, blah blah. Much of this attitude still pervades large companies today and most likely the wine industry where healthy egos and lots of money are also at stake. I only mention this because blogs, as marketing guru and blogger Hugh MacLeod says:

“…are not selling channels, they are disruption channels.”

What winery wants to be disrupted? Aren’t battling the weather, rogue insects and the taste buds of Parker and Tanzer enough?

I’d say most every winery needs to be disrupted and blogging is the most efficient medium to accomplish this goal. Why? Because of direct shipping, oversupply, brutal price competition and industry consolidation. Disruption is everywhere in the wine industry and most wineries need to change in order to stay competitive. Why not be on the leading edge and expand your market beyond the interests of your distributor and the status quo?

Johnnie Moore, another marketing consultant/blogger, summarizes the value of blogging well:

“…the value may not be the immediate impact of their words on the market, but how the conversation changes the blogger. As Hugh says, it may be a mistake to focus on using blogs to sell things; it’s more about creating real engagement – where you are changed too.”