I was excited to learn today that we are a finalist for the 2015 Wine Blog Awards. These awards were created in 2007 (Thank you, Tom Wark!) to honor the growing number and quality of wine bloggers, and have been awarded each year since. I'm even prouder that of the nine years the award has been given out, this is our seventh time being a finalist.
Blogging isn't easy to sustain. It takes commitment to persevere through the start-up phase, when no one much sees what you're writing and you may go months between comments. And it's a challenge in what is an annual endeavor (making wine) to continue to find new things to talk about. I'm proud that we've been able to keep it fresh, and feel like what we've done the last year has been particularly good.
This year, the folks running the awards combined two categories (Best Winery Blog and Best Industry Blog) into one, making it that much harder to make into the five finalists. The others in our category are all deserving, including a two-time winner and another three-time winner. I hope that you will take some time to explore the many great blogs that made it to this stage in the process. If, after doing so, you'd care to vote for us, we'd be honored. The winner will be determined half by the voting of the judges, and half by the votes of the public. Voting ends June 26th.
If you're new to what we do, or have been only an occasional visitor over the last year, here are eight of my favorites of the 67 entries we've posted in the last year, with a little about why each has stuck with me:
- Customer Disservice: Nine Lessons from a Terrible Hertz Experience: Sometimes, it's a choice between laughing at something frustrating and hitting someone. I chose to laugh, but it was a near thing. Hopefully, even if it won't be Hertz, someone will learn a useful lesson or two!
- Dry-Farming in California's Drought: Everyone I see, anywhere around the country, asks me first how we're faring four years into our drought. Most are surprised to learn that a critical reason why we think we're OK is that we've been increasingly investing in dry farming over recent years. In this three-part series, I try to explain why.
- Is Facebook Even Worth It Any More?: It's hard to get a social media scoop. But the comments I got from people around the industry after I published this blog in February suggested that many wineries were aware that their posts were reaching fewer fans, but unaware to what extent, or that Facebook has been very clear that this is part of their long-term strategy.
- State of the Union, Wine Shipping Edition: In honor of the real State of the Union, I broke down the 51 markets we ship to by tier, from relatively straightforward to incredibly convoluted and expensive. I always try to make sure posts are topical and timely, but only succeed to this extent a few times a year. If you think that wine is a free market product, read on.
- Worried about preserving an opened bottle? Just stay cool.: I find I often have the most fun with blog posts that answer the questions I get from consumers. This one gave me the chance to dust off some chemistry in pursuit of an answer that may be surprising to many people. It also spurred me to collect all these sorts of posts in a Practical Wine Advice archive.
- The Enduring Effects of Sideways, 10 Years Later: We weren't in Sideways. Nor was Paso Robles, to any significant extent. But this quirky movie's impacts on us and the communities we're a part of have been significant and long-lasting nonetheless. It's hard to believe it's been ten years!
- Are direct-to-consumer sales really failing to lift the wine industry? I saw the headline "Direct to Consumer Sales Fails to Lift the Wine Industry" in a major industry journal, and took exception. Lots of great comments to this one!
- Finding Closure(s) in Portugal: I always love the articles that Assistant Winemaker Chelsea Franchi writes, which are all funny, thoughtful, and beautifully documented. She reports back here on a trip she took last summer to the cork forests of Portugal.
Thank you all for following along on this journey with me and with us: 598 posts and counting since we began the blog in November of 2005. It's wonderful to hear, as we get ready for our tenth anniversary, that the experts who filtered down the hundreds of nominated entries to the five finalists in our category think we're still going strong.