The Coming of Age of Wine Blogging

My head is still spinning. Just when I thought I'd gotten the hang of this blogging thing, I attended the 2009 Wine Blogging Conference.

Now, I don't know what to think.

This is my second year at the conference. Nearly 300 bloggers from all over the world came to learn about wines, blogging, and the future of social media.  The creator of the conference and wine blogger extraordinaire, Tom Wark (Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog), was on hand to give out the annual wine blogging awards. (Sadly, this blog came in as a close runner up.) But that was just the beginning. The weekend was chockfull of seminars and presentations on social media, blogging, and building online communities. When we weren't listening attentively to social media wizards and techie types, we were tasting wines, visiting wineries and touring vineyards. I spent an entire day in the Napa Valley learning first hand about how “they” do it. (It was great being on the other side of the table for a change!) On Sunday, the group gathered here at Dry Creek Vineyard.  We, along with neighbors Rued Family Winery and newcomer Gustafson Family Vineyards, hosted a luncheon to introduce everyone to the wines of Dry Creek Valley.

One of the things about attending a conference like this is you realize how little you actually know. Furthermore, you realize that keeping up with the changing times could be a full time job. And, while I've come a long way since I started this blog, (true confessions…I don't even like to text message!) it's clear that I haven't even scratched the surface. Furthermore, I'm a dying breed. Case in point: I was the only person in the room taking notes…the old fashioned way, by hand.

Nonetheless, I came away inspired and enthused. Even though I fondly remember the days of handwritten notes, lengthy phone chats, and face to face interaction, I now know the value of a well thought out social media strategy. So if you haven't gotten on board the train, you better hurry up. It's coming fast and will change the way people get their information forever.

Here's a snapshot of what I learned:  

?   First, let me dispel a myth. Bloggers are not young, tattooed, or pierced. Well, some may be, but there were just as many middle aged/senior types as well as 20 somethings.


  If you think you're going to make money at this, think again. From a show of hands, only 5 or 6 said they were generating revenue from their blog.
?   Time is the biggest factor in determining whether you should have a blog for your business or your passion. That, and the ability to be authentic, engage the reader, and stick to it.
?   Find a niche. Whether it's reviewing Albarinos under $20, sharing new winemaking tricks, or an insiders look at the “wine country life”, find your niche and stick to it.
?   Twitter in 2009 is like the CB Radio in 1975. It's hot and it's growing, but it will probably fall by the wayside as soon as the next new thing is developed.
?   Wine bloggers, especially the ones that review wines, are busting down the traditional barriers of wine media. There might even come a day when your computer provides you with more information than your favorite magazine.
?   Consider Facebook, but only if it's personal and authentic. And, never use it to sell!
?   This new era is creating a society of socially stunted multi-tasking digital goof balls.  OK, this last observation is purely personal. But it comes from seeing how teenagers “talk” to their friends, which for the large part is entirely through texting and online conversations. Now grown-ups are becoming this way too. Does anyone, besides me, wonder how our thumbs will hold up over time??

Next year's conference is June 25-27, 2010 and is moving to Walla Walla Washington. Learn more at

| | Comments (8)


Bill Smart said:
July 28, 2009 4:44 PM

Wilma - you're not the only one whose head is spinning. This stuff can be slightly overwhelming but your advice is spot on.

Larry Chandler Author Profile Page said:
July 29, 2009 10:19 AM

You were not the only person taking notes with pen and ink. The wireless was erratic so I used the more reliable technology.

Also, some of the older crowd also had tattoos and piercings (though I left the visible evidence of piercing at home).

However, you blog is right on. You summarized it well, and next year it will be interesting to see what all the buzz will be about. Twitter? Never heard of it. Facebook? Huh? Blogs? I remember those. But if the wines and the generosity of the wineries are as great next year as they were this, Walla Walla here I come.

I do think that blogs can make money, though it's not likely to be directly. A good blogger can show their skills to the world and some people will pick up on it and offer jobs, contracts, connections, that can bring in significant revenue. The key of course, is as you say, to find a niche where there aren't 9,687 others blogging about the same thing.


Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
July 30, 2009 11:56 AM

Thanks for the comment Larry. While I'm sad to see the conference leave us next year for Walla Walla, I'm sure the wineries there will be equally hospitable.

I'm not sure what platforms we will be discussing next year, but I'm sure the learning curve for me will be just a challenging as Twitter, Facebook and the rest!

Ryan Reichert said:
July 30, 2009 12:43 PM


Thanks for this re-cap. Very good points about the conference. Had a great time, though I'm sorry we didn't get to officially meet. Next year in W2 for sure!


Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
August 1, 2009 3:04 PM

Sorry we didn't meet. If you're ever in the area, be sure to stop by the winery. Otherwise, it's Walla Walla in 2010.
All the best!

Andrew said:
August 3, 2009 10:32 AM

I'm certainly not young but I do have a tattoo! I hope the Euro conference scheduled for October is going to be as enthralling as your version obviously was. I'll be there, scribbling wine notes out by hand...

Sparkling Wine said:
August 5, 2009 10:41 AM

What a great article about both wine and social media (who would have thought to link these two together a few years ago?). There is a lot for people to keep up on when it comes to blogging and social media in general for both young and old(er) alike. I think the best we can do is just keep up with what is useful and not readily drop the tried-and-true (e.g. note scribbling).

Kim (aka Wilma) Author Profile Page said:
August 5, 2009 6:35 PM

I'm totally with you on the tried and true's the new and "improved" ones that I can't quite grasp! In any event, there are loads of opportunities for wineries and winelovers alike to wax poetic about their favorite beverage. Clearly, blogging is just the tip of the iceberg--who knows what will come next.

Thanks for your comment Sparkling Wine.

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This page contains a single entry by Kim published on July 28, 2009 4:25 PM.

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