Wine Bloggers [Friends or Foes]

This blog entry is sure to provoke some measure of debate.

What do us wine makers think of wine bloggers, do we like them, hate them or are we just indifferent?

The buzz word right  now is social media. What is it exactly? It is defined as the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. When I did a bit of research, I found well over 50 social networking websites. This is not a passing fad, it is trendy and your business is not current unless you spend a great deal of time on social media. Even here at the winery we pay a lot of attention to social media, to stay connected and informed. The person responsible for our social media is non other than my beautiful wife Kathy. Little did I realize how many hours it takes to stay current and connected. So far so good.

Being in a service related industry and creating a product we sell or present to customers, it is inevitable that social media would be used as a forum for dialogue and opinion on our wines and on the customer experience.

I have long accepted that not everyone will like our wines. Out of a tasting of 6 wines, you should really only like 3 or so. The reason for this is quite simple. We try to make a variety of wines that will appeal to a variety of customers. We make crisp dry white wines for the summer, oak driven whites that are a bit bolder and require some ageing. We make fruit driven, easy drinking reds and then we make big tannic wines that I would not touch for 5 years or so. Based on your preference, you will like some of those, but probably not all.

What makes a wine blogger different to a regular customer is that those personal preferences and tastes are communicated to a huge audience, sometimes thousands of followers. Am I okay with this, OF COURSE!

I love it when people have opinions, positive or negative they are entitled to them and how I choose to deal with them is really my problem. You can take a lot of information from a blog post, and we use that information to better the business and the wine. If someone talks about how they hated the wine, I want to know why, was it off, do you just not like oak, what was wrong with it and how can I improve it? Afterall I am constantly trying to make better wines and who better to critique them than our customers and those that will gladly write about their experiences.

At the end of the day, I stand behind my wines and the staff that pour them. I am happy for people to taste them and not like them, after all some of us like classical music and some like hip hop, we all have different tastes, just as long as you stay true to them and trust your palate.  If my wine does not do it for you then so be it, I would much rather you drink something you like, instead of what I like.

The other point of note  is that these bloggers are cool people and over the years I have developed some good relationships with them. I value their opinions and their insights and look forward to what they have to say about our future wines. You bet I will be reading all their posts, and rest assured I have no problem telling them I disagree with them, after all that is what makes the world of wine so fun. The world would be a boring place if we all agreed on the same things.

If you are interested in following some blogs that I find interesting and informative, check out the following ones

– Virginia Wine Time

My Vine Spot

Swirl Sip Snark

Cellar Blog

Hagarty on Wine

Charlottesville Un-corked

And Mr. Frank Morgan himself drink what you like  who is never short of an opinion. There are many more that we follow and if I have left you out, I apologize.

So cheers to wine, and individualism



4 comments on “Wine Bloggers [Friends or Foes]

  1. Yes! Stephen, Collaboration between media and service related products continues to evolve. As a fellow winemaker and blogger I believe we must embrace each other and LEARN from each other! Thanks, Brooke Webb Mesa Park Vineyards, CO

  2. This is SO much FUN! Today, I have learned more about filtration, sediment, corks, whites v. reds and how with supersonic speed, the word gets out! Thank you for including me on your list, what a compliment. I truly do enjoy your wine and like Paul, if I don’t like the winery, I don’t write about it. I am not expert enough to sling arrows at people who work very hard and have so much time and money invested. The mere fact that you were so receptive to feedback is unique! Looking forward to future posts and wine :)-Tricia

  3. Frank says:

    Another well done blog post Stephen! Many of us blogger types are really enjoying your insights. I appreciate the mention – especially the ‘Mr.’ part. 🙂

    I appreciate the fact that, “at the end of the day, [you] stand behind [your] wines and the staff that pour them…”. And also raise a glass to “individualism” which makes the industry here so great!

    Speaking of individualism – when are you going to make a sparkling Viognier (and maybe plant something crazy like gamay or Zin :).

  4. Paul says:

    Stephen! Thank you for including us on your list. We feel so honored! Great post…I don’t think it will actually provoke debate unless someone reading doesn’t care for bloggers. 🙂 As you probably already know about our site, we only write about wines and wineries that we enjoy. If you don’t find a winery mentioned on our site, we probably didn’t have a good experience there or enjoyed their wines. One thing is for sure, we love Keswick wines and have since the beginning. We think you do a great job and always have a great time when we visit. We look forward to visiting you again soon!

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