Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wine Bloggers Conference 2014

Wine Bloggers Conference 2014
What can I say about the 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference held in Buellton a few weeks ago? 
The purpose of the conference seemed to have been two-fold: 1) tips about wine blogging and 2) an opportunity to blog about wines. At this time of the year the wine events that I blog about are in full swing, so I didn’t have a burning desire to add to my backlog of blog posts. My main objective was to learn more about blogging in general and wine blogging in particular. It was also a good opportunity to network with wine bloggers and wine professionals, tweet a bunch, and of course… drink wine!
I attended some interesting sessions on blogging (the keynote speech), wine certifications, the bu$iness of blogging, photography & videography for wine bloggers, print wine writers, and how the pros taste wine. I listened to how successful bloggers sell ads on their blog sites, get sponsorships, experiment with their site styles, don’t review wines in detail if they aren’t certified, limit the amount of photos on their blog to just 6, reduce the amount of text and increase the amount of graphics/photos, leverage their character rather than their credentials, proactively market their blogs, and hang out with successful people. Well, at least I was hanging out with some of the successful people in the wine industry… and drinking wine.
Larry Schaffer (Tercero) with the super group of Santa Barbara County wine makers: Richard Sanford (Alma Rosa), Richard Longoria (Longoria), Bob Lindquist (Qupé ), Ken Brown (Ken Brown). Best part of the Wine Bloggers Conference!
Does the world need another wine review site?
Hell no, the world doesn’t need me to review wines. If anyone wants a competent wine review they can read the Wine Spectator, The Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, or one of the many other credible publications! That’s why my blogging about tasting trips around California doesn’t focus on detailed wine reviews. I blog about the event instead: the wine, the food, the people, the venue, the music, and even the beer! I’d rather be out there getting the whole experience instead of describing each wine in terms of Sight, Aroma, Taste, Balance and Finish. Besides doing that for 50 - 60 wines isn’t feasible in 4 hours unless you’re a SuperSomm.

So maybe this thing isn’t a WINE BLOG! (And it certainly isn’t profitable.)
  • I have no certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS), the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), or the Society of Wine Educators (SWE) as a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW). So there aren’t many detailed wine reviews. (I'd better leverage my character here since I'm short on these credentials.)
  • Just 6 pictures per blog? I typically shoot 300 - 500 pictures and some video at events. So even after I edit down to 40 - 60 good pictures there are still way too many for a typical blog.
  • Profitable? I have used Google Ads AdSense in the past, but despite over 34,000 pageviews the revenue is a big zero. Sponsorships are interesting, but I like to keep things independent when writing about wine and food events.
  • I should probably use more graphics, like the print wine writers recommended...

This conference made me wonder, so WHO is my audience?
I rarely get comments, only the odd promotion, so I don’t have many clues about who is actually viewing/reading my blog. Maybe it’s just other bloggers? Wineries? Or, it could just be regular people who like wine. Whoever they are most of them seem to be in the United States.
(See handy graphic above.)

I guess I'll just have to think about all of these points some more and fine tune my blog in the second half of this year. I think I'll still keep this a photo-centric blog though. It would be great to get some feedback, come up with an event better format, and monetize my posts while entertaining you. 
Are you one of those people who read my blog? Please let me know who you are and what you'd like to see more or less of...

Twitter:      @TasteNTrip