Beware of Wine Bloggers!

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asteroidSteve Heimoff knows a lot about wine, and he is a pretty decent writer. So, when he warns us about a new threat to the wine community we should heed his words. Here are the aforementioned words of wisdom and warning:

The worst thing a wine blog can do is to shill, however inadvertantly, for a winery or region. The minute I read about someone’s “delightful” visit to so-and-so, they’ve lost me. Visits may indeed be delightful, but the writer shouldn’t say so, because it just sounds — I don’t know — smarmy and credulous. If the blogger describes the visit as “delightful” then her credibility suffers, in my mind. What if the wines suck? Would the blogger say so? Or is the blogger so delighted with the visit — with the hospitality of the owners, the personally guided tour of the winery and caves, the lovely luncheon by the pool, catered by the winery chef, and with the gorgeous tranquillity of wine country — that he’s unable even to know that the wine is mediocre?

Wine bloggers, unlike “real” writers like our friend Steve, are not to be trusted when they write about wine. Not because they are starting to be offered the same perks as traditional media, but because they ADMIT when they accept them and try to take their readers with them. Shame on them!

Steve does show respect for some bloggers, as evidenced by this sweet little reach-around for blogger/wine marketer, Tom Wark. I guess a guy who represents the wine industry while writing about it is the ideal blogger.

I read a lot of wine blogs. The ones I like tend to be what I think of as more literate, wittier and thoughtful. Also, those written with some particular competence or expertise, whether it’s Tom Wark on the industry at Fermentation to Hosemaster on a rant, or someone telling me something I don’t know about Tuscany or Tasmania.

Personally, since Steve is always either telling people that he is indeed a blogger, or telling other bloggers how they should comport themselves, I was surprised that there was anything he didn’t know about any subject. Perhaps he was only being modest. Let’s hope so, as we need all of the heroes we can get.

Then there is the issue of this infernal Interweb contraption that allows anyone to hang their shingle out and call themselves a blogger an expert.

The problem with this age of the Internet is that everybody feels he can be his own expert. But just because somebody says something doesn’t make it true.

Okay, now you’re getting me where I live, Steve. I am a blogger, not an expert. Perhaps you should admit that you are an expert, not a blogger. Bloggers post links back to other bloggers that they take issue with. Kind of like REAL journalists cite works that they mention in their stories. This allows the reader to see what all of the fuss is while ensuring that the reference is in context and not a distortion. An ethical journalist or blogger would do this as a matter of course.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, Steve Heimoff is just another traditional media type who sees the asteroid bearing down on his world and doesn’t want to be another dead dinosaur, but really isn’t ready to be one of the new unwashed cave dwellers scrabbling for an audience on the Web. Steve is here to set you straight.

I’m not really worried that genuine wine writing is going away, because the cream will always rise to the top. But we — the wine community — do have to be alert to naive bloggers, with potentially sizable readerships, being “useful idiots” for wineries and associations.

I am very thankful that Mr. Heimoff is here to protect you, my potentially sizable readership, from the dangers presented by, well, me. Because apparently bloggers, Steve and few of his buddies excluded, are as Mark Twain (I think) put it, “born ignorant, and losing ground ever since.”

I fully understand that every wine blogger has got to start somewhere, and that is usually from a zero knowledge base. However, if you really want to learn about wine, you need to know what people with more experience and understanding have to say about things, and then go on from there. You can’t just come out with inaccuracies or repeat banalities told to you by a P.R. person.

Steve, you patronizing prick, if you choose to get on the Internet to put your column online so that you can pretend to be part of the new media before your old media gig dries up, have the decency to respect your peers. I know it pains you to consider us as such, but you climbed in our sandbox, not vice versa. Oh, and Steve buddy? Our sandbox comes with a built-in spell checker. Not that I mind typos in the least, but real media types have been known to complain about such things. You might want to be careful if you want to continue attempting to straddle both worlds like the Titan that you are.

  • http://www.shanaray.com/ Shana Ray

    I simply made a statement that we all have our difference in opinion of what we like to read. I don't necessarily think he was defensive towards me, but he took what I said and changed it around to bad mouth bloggers who rewrite press releases.

    I go back to my response to the post: The news channels (speaking generally) have always had a bias and used scare tactics or fluff stories for the sake of entertainment and rewritten press releases. This is not a new phenomenon to the wine blogging world.

    My original comment was that the online world has allowed for us to personalize the way we get information and given us more choices of what we read.

    And that is not going away.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      I think I've said so before, but when I worked in PR, “traditional writers” used to drop in my ENTIRE press release and add their by-line. Why? Because they were overworked, competing with entertainment for space, lazy, or I gave them exactly what they needed.

      For a guy who gets PAID to write about wine to say that someone who writes for free offers a less credible opinion (because frankly that's all he can offer as well) is just mind-boggling. Plenty of people paraphrase the press releases, and it's not the best way to write a story — but the man seems to be in a serious panic that he won't be able to stay relevant if others' opinions are available. He seems pretty transparent in his turf protection.

      He has not only insulted wine bloggers, but wine consumers. It appears that he thinks everyone OTHER than he is naive and stupid. He's saying the bloggers will be “taken in” by lunches, and consumers will be “taken in” by opinions of those who never had a print gig.

      I say the more people writing about wine – the better for the consumer and the better for the industry. The only one who will suffer if he doesn't embrace change, will be Mr. Heimoff.

  • winebratsf

    WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NORMA RAE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Suck it Heimoff.

    That is all.

  • http://eaglesnestwinery.ning.com Eagles_Nest

    All media sources, to a degree have bias, just as any individual has opinions. When we share a discussion with another, there is an exchange of ideas and positions on various topics. We share thoughts and we learn things.

    Wine bloggers are people, as are their readers. Nothing more nothing less. No one is forced to read a particular blog – it's a personal choice.

    An exchange of ideas is a good thing. I appreciate wine and other bloggers and the unique personal experiences they share with others. Need I say more?!?!?

  • http://wineskewer.wordpress.com/ Tish

    Tell us how you REALLY feel….

    What I think we are seeing here is a good wine writer who has a serious disconnect between blogging and writing. He must feel threatened to a very real degree to keep returning to the subject again and again.

    And yet, Steve Heimoff apparently holds his own online “journalism” to a much lower standard than his print journalism. How else to explain the fact that his entire diatribe about shilling turned out to be based on a complete misquote of the blog he anonymously condemned? The blogger he slammed was only posting about looking forward to tasting a case of Lodi wines sent to him as samples (that's called transparency in the blogosphere). And the blogger never gushed, as SH claimed, that Lodi wines rival Napa's and Sonoma's; he only noted that Lodi winemakers aspired to make wines of Napa/Sonoma pedigreee. This was pure shaky/shady reporting by Heimoff. One might argue that such lazy/inaccurate reporting reflects more negatively on bloggers than the powder-puff writing he bashed in the first place.

    As for shilling, it is fine for Steve to condemn that. But let's hope moving forward that he finds better examples to criticize. Maybe he'll have some time to discuss the topic of shilling as he and the WE gang convene this week for their annual “Star” award nominations, which somehow always seem to wind up looking like Advertiser of the Year nominations (an annual ritual I find pretty darn funny: http://dregsreport.com/starfish.htm)

    This was an ugly little incident that will quickly slip into the archives of “older posts”, but let's all hope that flare-ups like this remind all writers — print and online — to keep communication honest.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      We have similar “advertising” awards in law pubs. I always find it interesting when the Texas Super Lawyer honorees also have full page ads touting the award of X number of Super Lawyers at their firm. Which came first, I wonder? The Ad buy or the award?

      Taking something out of context to underscore a point would be better left to tabloid journalists like those of one particular “News” network that comes to mind.

  • http://www.fermentation.typepad.com/ Tom Wark

    “For a guy who gets PAID to write about wine to say that someone who writes for free offers a less credible opinion (because frankly that's all he can offer as well) is just mind-boggling.”

    Wait a minute. Let's be fair. Steve is describing what he believes makes a wine blog good, in the same way that any wine blogger might describe what they believes makes a wine or wine in general good.

    Just like wines, all wine blogs are not equally good. Nor are all wine blogs equally authoritative. Nor are are they equally useful. If you want evidence of this just take not of the fact that some are read more than others.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      Actually Tom, Heimoff continues to paint all wine blogs with a pretty broad brush with the exception of a couple “veterans” who make sure to recognize their “place” behind the old guard. He appears to compare those of us he perceives as not having “paid our dues” to the naive country girl who will go home with any stranger who buys her a drink.

      We understand we outsiders threaten the old guard. We understand we're the Barbarians at the Gate. But this constant need to put “in our place” those of us who haven't asked the experts for “permission” to blog is becoming tiresome. It insults not only the blogging community, but the wineries and the wine consumer as well.

      Wine blogs allow the consumer greater access to information. Rather than being limited to only insiders who have long been gatekeepers based on their own tastes and prejudices, the consumer now has an opportunity to “walk with” a wine lover. It also gives wineries more opportunities to tell their stories to interested writers rather than having information doled out from On High to the publication where they put the most advertising dollars.

      • http://www.fermentation.typepad.com/ Tom Wark

        Wonkette:

        When you write: “this constant need to put “in our place” those of us who haven't asked the experts for “permission” to blog is becoming tiresome,” it starts to sound like there is a chip on bloggers' collective shoulders.

        There is a very long, satisfying and useful history of media criticism that has served reporters, publications and industries quite well.

        That Steve chooses to assess various aspects of the wine blogosphere isn't very unique. Most of us bloggers do this navel gazing on a regular basis. Steve is in a pretty unique position to assess the quality and potential, not to mention pitfalls, of the wine blogosphere. He's not suggesting that anyone ask for permission to do anything. And rather doubt he's worried about the wine blogosphere eclipsing print wine media. He'll have a place to write in print media as long as wants wants one.

        There's nothing wrong with asking and urging and cajoling peers to do a great job. In my view what you see Steve doing is trying to motivate and advocate on behalf of the wine blogosphere probably because he's intensely aware of it's enormous potential. Remember, this is someone who had no financial incentive to move into the blogosphere. He money doing so. He does I know because, among other things, he revels in the freedom that is granted to a single, unedited voice.

        I think all wine bloggers, especially myself, ought to take this veteran's advice and thoughts for what they are: advise on how to work harder and better at this craft.

        • http://wineskewer.wordpress.com/ Tish

          Tom, anyone reading this knows you are a thoughtful straightshooter when it comes to all things wine industry, As well as a professional who respects Steve in both the context of print and blogging. But you are cutting slack here in a dangerous way.

          YES, as you say: “There's nothing wrong with asking and urging and cajoling peers to do a great job. In my view what you see Steve doing is trying to motivate and advocate on behalf of the wine blogosphere probably because he's intensely aware of it's enormous potential.”

          Your error here is in not recognizing that the example Steve used — a blog post about Lodi — was a horrible example. He misquoted the blogger (re Lodi vs Napa/Sonoma); he mischaracterized the post (as hilling, when it was nothing but a transparent alert that reviews of Lodi would ensue); and worst of all, implied (with his infamous broad brush stroke that he ludicrously claims does not exist) that thiswas a perfect example of “when blogs go bad.” In fact, it was a terrible example and the conclusion must be rejected in the strongest terms.

          We all AGREE that there are good blogs and not-so-good blogs, and the better ones are prevailing and will prevail. But as a blogging community we should not sit back and let a self-declared maven of print and blogging use thoroughly tactics when blogging that he himself would never use in print — and, I would stress, good bloggers never do. That was the real sin here, and I hope it gets noticed far and wide.

          So yes, let's mind the “advice” from Steve's misbegotten example (don't shill), and let's all be more conscious of our “craft.” In the process, let's avoid bending the truth to make a point. In vino veritas; ditto blogging.

          • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

            Very well said, Tish. There is a lot more to being a blogger than writing on the Web. Someone who not only refuses to acknowledge that fact, but then breaks major rules of both blogging and journalism should not attempt to lecture the rest of us. Mr. Heimoff needs to learn that lesson, and it appears that perhaps Mr. Wark might needs a refresher course.

        • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

          Tom, would you intentionally misquote another blogger to make an invalid point? If so, would you then neglect to provide a link so that readers could decide for themselves within the actual context instead of the one that you created? When called on it, would you create a fake identity and try to deflect criticism by mocking the people that called you on it?

          That is what you are defending. Are you sure you want to go down that road?

          • tomwark

            JP,

            Hell, I'd misquote my mother to make a point. (would I?)

            If Steve misquoted his example then Im sure he'll work that out. But this reaction to Steve's main points about blogging simply don't address his main points and, further, call into question his credentials and his judgment. The fact of the matter is that Steve's has become among the most compelling voices in the wine blogging world in a very short time for a simple reason: He's better equipped with knowledge, experience and talent than me and just about any other wine blogger out there. Furthermore, see no evidence to suggest that Steve is fearful of blogs

          • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

            Tom, you aren't even addressing the few points made to you. Even if his points hadn't been addressed multiple times throughout this post and subsequent comments, isn't it a bit disingenuous of you to try to deflect with that bit of fluff?

            Have you seen a public apology to, or even a mea culpa about, misquoting some of your fellow bloggers from Steve? I certainly have not. And what do you mean “if he misquoted his example?” You didn't bother to check before you mounted your brilliant white horse and charged in to defend Heimoff?

            Steve is indeed knowledgable and a good writer. Check the first sentence of the post. That was conceded already. Your point? Besides “Steve is a better writer than me, and I'm better than you, so STFU.” That one won't fly.

          • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

            Now come on Joe, can't you just be a good little blogger and follow the talking points? Don't point out any facts that might be considered inconvenient to anyone with the pass code to the gate! ;)

          • tomwark

            The white horse upon which I rode in on was no galloping in the direction of defending Steve for any misapplied quotes or lack of attribution. That horse was drafted into the service of defending Steve from insinuations in the original post that he's fearful of bloggers, that he's dismissive of bloggers, that he doesn't respect his peers. Furthermore, as a blogger who has no allegiance to anyone but himself and who is clearly very good at this game, I think Steve deserves more respect than this.

            Finally, had I wanted to tell you or anyone to STFU, I would have come right out and told you and others to STFU. And had I done that, rather than simply being accused of doing that, I'm confident it would have flown just fine.

          • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

            So, you are okay with misquoting and lack of attribution as long as the culprit is someone that you admire?

            Just a suggestion, Tom…turn the hubris dial down a bit. Coming off as a sycophant was bad enough, no need to compound that with bluster and arrogance.

          • tomwark

            Once again, had I wanted to say I was ok with misquoting I'd have said so. As for being a sycophant, I have no need to curry favor with Steve. I think the word you are looking for is “defender”.

            Also, arrogance isn't a bad thing necessarily, particularly if it is justified. And I'm going to go with “justified” here. But I do appreciate the suggestion.

            Finially, you are simply going to have to live with the idea that I mean what I say, rather meaning what you say I mean. If we can both agree to that, then this conversation might go somewhere.

          • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

            When direct questions are ignored, and a defense is mounted based upon generalities, charges that I am putting words in your mouth ring rather hollow. Particularly when, by your own admission, you have not even bothered to see if the accusations you are defending are true or not.

          • tomwark

            I'm going to go with my comments ringing true, if only because, well, they do.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      And Tom, readership or the size of the audience does not determine whether someone is “useful” or “good.” It's not “evidence” but simply one possible indicator. Plenty of biased, patently false and libelous publications have a big readership. Just check out anything at the grocery checkout whose headline screams “Dog Boy from Mars Rates Merlot a 97,” or the countless on-line sites that insist someone with a valid birth certificate from the state of Hawaii is not a U.S. citizen.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      More people read Wine Spectator than read Parker, yet Bordeaux prices aren't set until Parker releases his ratings. So much for that theory…

  • http://blog.vintuba.com Vintuba ChrisO

    This whole issue brings to mind the old Swiss saying “to change is to suffer…” The old media is suffering because their world has forever changed. The fact that this suffering has taken on an air of mudslinging is just absurd. Steve Heimhoff, Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, et all are like cats backed into a corner lashing out at their perceived enemy the wine blogosphere. Can you blame them, their source of livelyhood is in danger from bloggers who are, at least for the short terms, content with not being remunerated for their passion and efforts. Bad or inaccurate blogs will disappear all on their own, with out the help of holier than thou old media.

  • lulu

    Hi there, I am a reader and a wine drinker. I read wine blogs, and will continue to do so. I don’t particularly care if they are “experts” or not. I like to think I’m intelligent enough to read WHAT I WANT and make my own decisions. If you are a good writer— engage me, convince me, win me over, be truthful and honest, excite me, be passionate; that’s all that matters to me. I love wine, you love wine. Let’s love it together =) Thanks for being honest.

  • Chuck Barkley

    You people spend more time talking about wine blogging then you do about wine. Where can I actually find people writing about wine rather than themselves?

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      Chuck, you always seem funnier and smarter on TV. :P~

      Seriously, almost this entire site, and all of the other sites being discussed, are dedicated to food and wine…just not this particular page. Take a look around if you are really serious.

      • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

        Steve, I mean 'Chuck,' I think David's question is quite legitimate. Using a sock puppet does destroy any credibility you had on-line. Do you care to comment?

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      Hey Chuck, say “Hi” to Steve for us!

      Chuck Barkley
      chuck@barkley.com
      12.71.142.194

      AT&T WorldNet Services ATT (NET-12-0-0-0-1)
      12.0.0.0 – 12.255.255.255
      WINE ENTHUSIAST WINE-ENT19-142-192 (NET-12-71-142-192-1)
      12.71.142.192 – 12.71.142.223

      • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

        Whoa, Chuck is a sock puppet for Steve Heimoff? Who knew this guy would stoop so low?

        • davidhonig

          If Steve is using a sockpuppet to defend himself he has gone completely over the line and thrown away any credibility he might ever has possessed. It is possible that “Chuck” is ANOTHER person working at Wine Enthusiast, but this needs clarification.

          Steve? Your response?

      • http://enobytes.org/ Enobytes

        Well, that'll teach wannabe anonymous posters to think twice before posting! :)

        Hi Chuck at 12.71.142.194!

  • http://sacrebleuwine.com/ ashleylauren

    That so many wine lovers can now mount platforms to write about their love of wine and weigh in on the industry that provides it is a beautiful thing. Whether one is paid or not is irrelevant to the subject. Wine blogging is flourishing. So many to choose from and so many very good writers doing it. This is a big tent. Let's just continue to watch the numbers in it grow and welcome it. Heimoff is elitist and the tragedy of the elite is that they often become boring.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      Good points, Ashley. I think you may be on to something regarding the elitism. Note that the folks on the wrong side of this issue are the old-guard.

  • steveheimoff

    I love ya all back.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      Chuck?

  • johncorcoran

    Whoa, who knew that a country girl could be so wicked smart and so on-point. Well, my experience at WBC09 is that the wine blogosphere is a diverse group populated with a significant number of wicked smart people. If Steve was an attorney, he would know not to pick a fight he can't win. These are transformative times, economically, socially, and technologically. We as wine consumers now get to pick our sources of information and ascribe whatever degree of authority on that source we so choose. A term that I hear within the wine production community describing over ripe highly rated wines is 'the emperer has no clothes.' Will is the emperor of the traditional print still dressed? This is what I had to say on the topic of print media's current existential angst in a prior post on the topic:

    “However, what’s surprising, well not surprising perhaps but inducing a significant feeling of disappointment, is the raising tide of ad hominem attacks on the loosely confederated and decentralized wine blogger community from admired members of the traditional wine print media. As Scott Rosenberg writes in ‘say everything‘, a concise history of the blogging phenomena, “saying that ninety percent of blogs are crap‘ is way too close to implying that “ninety percent of people are crap.’ It seems a tad disingenuous to address the tired and the vapid, and then to paint the whole on the failings of the few. S.I Hayakawa must be turning over in his grave.”

    The whole premise of social media and blogging is that when writing and self-publishing on the internet, we are extending our hands out in friendship. Just like in a physical encounter you can choose whether to shake hands or not based on your own criteria. Personally, I like the feed back that I receive from my blog, and it's not been all positive. It seems that some have chosen to pull back that hand, and that's OK. Others reach out to shake it, and that's great. But none of us are running for class president at the moment. We just want to, in our own way, move the needle of consumer focused wine communication forward.

    Great lucid post. Now I am all the sadder that the conference was so crowded that I didn't have the chance to sit down to exchange ideas with the Houston dynamic duo. BTW: the Charles alias bit is just a scream.

    Cheers,
    Cork

    • winebratsf

      Well said Cork.

      • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

        Indeed. Bravo.

  • http://www.winedivergirl.wordpress.com WineDiverGirl

    If only we all had the sharp wit, humor and brains that Another Wine Blog has…
    If only Mr. Heimoff had the wit, humor and brains you both have, at least his soft rant would have been entertaining. However, he makes a point that quality will rise to the top. (oh yeah, and a spell check…that would help too). That was worth something.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      You keep sweet talking us like that and you might get a reach-around!

      • http://www.winedivergirl.wordpress.com WineDiverGirl

        oops…might that make u a talented shill? Is that allowed?

        • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

          Depends on whether we said nice things about you afterwards.

  • randywatson

    I don't care what Steve Heimoff says because I know that deep down he is still a wine whore… a dirty, dirty, wine whore :P

    Cheers!

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      And we do like your ceramic coasters!

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan Opaz

    Well said. Thank you for taking the time to show what a joke the “Steve Heimoff blog against blogs” has become. When will we see some posts(if there have been I wouldn't know…quit reading him) that point to the great things that wine bloggers are doing?

  • http://www.1winedude.com 1WineDude

    Folks – I love this blog, in fact it's one of the very few blogs to which I subscribe via RSS (in fact, I'm *ashamed* of how few blogs I follow), but this post and some of the subsequent comments have me scratching my head. It seems to me that the response to Steve's post is overly dramatic and that the discussion is degrading into an attack almost worthy of the Wine Spectator Forum (almost – it's not that bad yet).

    I'm happy for people to tell me to butt out, but I really feel that I should comment and raise the concern that the potential debate is great, but is running the risk of getting lost in vitriol.

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      Hey Joe,

      I can't say that I disagree with you, but I have to admit that I am completely fed up with all of these self-appointed, self-serving gatekeepers. Steve's latest attack was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for me.

      It seems like we are always having to fight the very same battles with the very same players time and again. It seems that we have two choices, as the debate never changes anything, we can take their marginalizing us or we can hit back. I won't be marginalized, and I won't be put in my place. Especially given that the folks who are always putting us down are doing so to protect their business interests while pretending to be “investigative bloggers” trying to protect the wine drinking public from the scourge of us evil bloggers. The more power that we, as bloggers, receive, the less money that traditional media outlets and PR companies will get. They will fight us tooth and nail over that, and I'm not the type to take their shots without an answer.

      I'm a big fan of your site as well, and have no intention of telling you to butt out. In fact, I will delete any comment from anyone doing that. So, while I do see your points, and am pretty much in agreement in a lot of ways, I'm hoping that this little explosion of collective frustration serves as a warning shot to the current powers that be. If they keep up the attacks there is a good chance that they will soon be the the powers that were.

      Btw, I have the exact shameful situation with other blogs. I realized at the recent WBC that I talk to some folks on Twitter a lot, have even met them multiple times, but I just don't have time to read even a small number of other blogs most days. I feel guilty all of the time over it.

      Glad you stopped by!

      • http://twitter.com/Catie Catie McIntyre

        Come on Heimoff! Come on over to the “dark side” and play with us cool kids. You know you wanna. Stick it to the “man” and don't let them keep you down.
        ;-)

        • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

          Sage advice there, Fonzie…sage advice. :)

      • http://www.1winedude.com 1WineDude

        Thanks for the kind words about the blog!

        I understand that some people in 'wine power' attacking blogging hs the potential to set us back, because their words will be some of the first that their readers will see about blogging coming from (presumably) experienced wine pros.

        In that respect, we do have a fight. I've written my own pieces against such negative blogging attacks from dia Blue and Parker. Though I'm starting to agree more with Alder in terms of his advice on how we can fight back – prove them wrong with every post.

        I guess I personally don't see Steve H. in the same light as those guys. To his point, he is blogging so he's not exactly setting an example for WE readers that blogging isn't worthwhile as a whole. As someone that is involved in traditional media, he has an opportunity to show blogging in a positive light, which he does do, I think (though it's not always interpreted as such), unlike ADB and Parker…

  • http://www.cork-popper.com/ L

    As a relative newcomer to the wine blogging world, I find it somewhat entertaining that members of the traditional wine media are so threatened by the wine blogosphere. I'm no wine expert, certainly, but friends and family have been coming to me for years for recommendations, and it was actually one of those very friends that talked me into starting my blog in the first place. I've always acknowledged that my readers might not agree with my opinions, and I invite them to comment. I don't know that I've ever called a trip to a winery “delightful,” but if that's how I feel about it, then that's what I'll say. If you disagree or have had a different experience, then let me (and my readers) know! That's what blogging is all about – creating a community – and that's what the traditional wine media is missing.

    Cheers, and keep the insightful (and delightful) entries coming!

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

      Thanks for stopping by L. Couldn't agree more.

  • strappo

    OK, I'm reading all this stuff and wonder why everybody's so red-hot about Steve's comments. (NB: I hardly ever read his blog — or anyone's anymore — and I don't read WE either. I think it's boring.)

    Telescoping a couple of salient points, “inadvertently” shilling for wineries and spitting out their press releases and describing everything as “delightful”, etc., strikes me as a reasonable criticism of a lot of wine-blog writing. (Professionals use a somewhat more detached vocabulary with which to spread the buttah.)

    People, come on, do the words RODNEY STRONG ring a bell? That affair exposed the wannabe credulity of a lot of people, including not a few who've won Wark's web awards thingie. I got defriended by some for coming down hard on them for their greed and naiveté.

    My cursory reading of some blogs of late is that not a lot has been learnt from that fiasco. I can tell you that when I look back on my early (2005-06) posts on mondosapore, I'm embarrassed by my utter lack of discrimination and probity. So in my case at least — and in this I do not think I'm so damned unique — Steve H correctly hit a few nerves.

    I guess it's only human nature to dish it out and not be able to take it. All the grousing about the MSM wine media is overdone but enjoyable until it gets monotonous. Isn't it only human when “they” (Steve H, RP, others) take a couple of swings back? So what? If they're irrelevant, why bother go into rant mode over their swipes at bloggers? Are they really so past it? Then fuck em and forget em.

    Not that any of us really believes that.

    Look, if you wanna play with the big boys, this is what happens. It's about as nasty as politics. Maybe not as vicious as, say, an English Department faculty meeting. But bitching and going into high dudgeon isn't going to grab anyone's respect.

    • http://wineskewer.wordpress.com/ Tish

      Very wise take. Wine under the bridge now. Looking forward, I only hope that Steve — and all writers — apply the same journalistic standards of fairness in reporting to their blog posts as they would print pieces. That's what caused the problem here, not the simple idea that some blogs are lame and forgettable. We all knew/know that. It's sad when a decent post from an earnest blogger gets hung out to dry just so Steve Heimoff can make that point. Maybe next time he'll use a better example, and more level-headed treatment.

      • http://www.anotherwineblog.com jpower

        You went right to the heart of the issue, Tish. This isn't about the MSM or about some of the valid points that Steve Heimoff raised. It is about accuracy and fairness. Steve is a very good writer, and from everything I can tell, a pretty good guy. No matter how much he and his synchophantic defender wish it to be so, those things do not excuse him from journalistic standards. In fact, his position and standing would suggest that he should be setting those standards, not ignoring them to show that others have no standards.

        I agree with a lot of what Strappo has to say, but this isn't the usual attack on the MSM by a blogger. A very real line was crossed.

      • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

        I think Steve has probably learned a very valuable lesson judging by an interview I saw on Sacre Blue http://sacrebleuwine.com/2009/08/03/the-steve-h

        I'm looking forward to writing about more “delightful” visits to wineries! In the words of @HoustonWino, (aka Joe) “damn I like wine!”

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  • liveslow

    It's the average ignorant person's taste and opinion that moves markets–markets that exist so that an expert can write about them!

    • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

      That's sometimes the thing that people forget. It's the consumer who often determines what is popular — consider the White Zin fad back in the 80s-90s. Bloggers tend to be more consumer fans — we're like word of mouth marketing — which is often considered one of the most effective forms of “advertising.”

      Thaks for stopping by!

  • http://www.anotherwineblog.com WineWonkette

    That's sometimes the thing that people forget. It's the consumer who often determines what is popular — consider the White Zin fad back in the 80s-90s. Bloggers tend to be more consumer fans — we're like word of mouth marketing — which is often considered one of the most effective forms of “advertising.”

    Thaks for stopping by!

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