Hemingway would’ve had a wine blog
Whatever else he might have done this past weekend—mow the lawn, watch a movie, stroll an art gallery, sculpt BSG figurines out of lardo; I’ve no idea not knowing the man personally—Joe Roberts made a strong case that everyone who loves wine should do what he does: write a wine blog. Roberts is known on the blogosphere as 1WineDude, and his snappy, casual prose makes for very approachable reading. In a post aptly named “Why Every Wine Lover Should Have a Wine Blog,” Roberts writes:
Do it because it will help you learn about wine, because it will help you share some of your wine experiences with your friends, because it will encourage you to taste more and more wine and get to know your own wine preferences better.
But most of all, do it because it’s good for the wine industry if you start blogging about wine, because the positives of every additional ounce added to the volume of the current wine media sea change far, far outweigh the potential negatives.
The body of the post relies on litotes—the proving of the positive by exploring and refuting the negative—and what it all boils down to is that wine lovers, no matter how inexperienced, no matter how ignorant, and no matter how small their audience, have a right and, in Roberts’ mind, a duty to write. Writing, Roberts points out, helps you figure out what you like. It documents your experience and how your palate changes. And, ultimately, according to Roberts, “You may not realize it at first, but your small wine blog audience, added in aggregate to the audiences of many, many, many, many other consumers blogging about wine, adds up to something big – something very, very big – that is fundamentally morphing the wine media world.”
Making this assertion, Roberts turns to arguably the greatest voice of authority in the wine world today, Jancis Robinson, who served as the keynote speaker of the recent Wine Bloggers Conference and said, “Develop your own opinions and get in touch with your own preferences. Remember that with wine appreciation, there are no rights and no wrongs. We all have different tastes, and no single one of them is right. Be open: There are other grape varieties than chardonnay, and there are other colors of wine than red.”
I fully concur with the opinion of both Robinson and Roberts. All wine lovers should feel free to love what they love—and to document their passion. But I want to add a few points to Roberts’ call to write. Blogging, in fact all writing, does more than merely record what you experienced; it shapes your thinking. Writing is an act that is at once conscious and ineffable. Writing springs from both our conscious mind and our unconscious mind. This means that we both write what we know, and we write what we do not yet know we know. And for this reason, writing holds power. If you want to find out what you really feel about a bottle of wine, write about it.
Beyond that metaphysical reason, writing a blog makes you part of a larger community. The more you write and read blogs, the more you comment, the more involved you get in the community, the more you find that your love of wine will bring you together with people. For this reason, I’d also urge wine lovers to take the blogging thing one step further and urge you to get a Twitter account. I’ve met amazing people through blogging and through Twitter, people I’d never have met otherwise. It can feel really weird to shoot out 140-character missives into the digital dark, but once people start responding, it stops feeling weird and starts to feel like a conversation.
And finally, you want to write because you never know who’s going to read your blog. I doubt that Julie Powell had any clue that when she started her Julie and Julia project that she was on her way to a book deal and a movie. You just don’t know what you have in you until you put it out there.
Start a blog. I’d use Tumblr, were I you, but that’s just my point of view. If you’re stuck for inspiration, pour yourself a glass of wine and see what happens. Let me know how it goes. I’d be delighted to post your thoughts as you create them. After all, you’re part of a community of wine lovers. Let’s hold virtual hands and celebrate our vinous love.
A brief user’s guide
If you did a quick Twitter search for “wine” at exactly 1:25 p.m. EST, you’d see that the top Tweet is from Lady Gaga. “Taking a break today,” she says, “in bed with mommy having glass of wine waiting for sis to get home. Just us italian girls running the house tonight.” It’s reassuring to know that in her busy schedule, Lady Gaga can find time to enjoy the simple pleasures of wine and family.
If, however, you did a slightly different search and put a number sign—also known as a hash tag—just before the word “wine,” you’d get entirely different results. You’d find the same sponsored link (even Twitter needs to make money somehow) from Virgin America announcing their updated wine service designed by Gary Vaynerchuk, but you’d also find a plethora of wine news, reviews, thoughts, quotes, stories, contests and offerings. In short, you’d find the fastest, most updated, and most freely pouring information on wine available.
If you’re reading this blog, chances are high that you’ve at least heard of Twitter. It’s the free microblogging service that limits user’s updates to a mere 140 characters. What this means to Tweeters—the name of people who choose to Tweet in common parlance—is that they must use an economy of phrasing. The best Tweeters are able to pare their syntax down to a witty, evocative line. A tasty tidbit, and not a whole dish, is the order of the day on Twitter.
Twitter is growing, and it’s growing fast. By last June, 10.9% of the total web-users were Twittering. More germane to the wine topic at hand, most of those people aren’t kids. In fact, recent statistics suggest that the average Twitter user is in his or her thirties. It’s no kids’ site, and that means that it’s an excellent place to find information on adult stuff, like wine. Moreover, you don’t have to Tweet yourself; in fact, many people have Twitter accounts just to follow the people they’re interested in, for example, Jancis Robinson, Eric Asmov, or The Wine Harlots. You can even set up lists for easier, more categorized following of your Tweeps. You can make choose to follow people according to their geographical location, their profession, their predilection, or their connections to wine magazines—you can even follow other people’s lists if you find ones you like. Nothing could be easier, which probably accounts for Twitter’s astronomical popularity.
Whether you’re looking to buy a bottle, plan a vacation, choose a restaurant, or just waste a whole lot of time, you’ll find your wine fun on Twitter. Check out the We Follow directory for wine as a good starting place. Of course, be sure to follow IWM. It’s like an everlasting wine tasting, but without all that spitting and rinsing.