Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Monday, 17 October 2011

European Wine Bloggers' Conference 2011 (#EWBC): reflections on blogging

George Taber giving his keynote speech@the #EWBC

Inevitably being at the European Wine Bloggers' Conference raises questions about why we are blogging, how to do it better, who our audiences are and what are the differences, if any, between blogging and other forms of wine communication.

When I started writing about wine over 20 years ago I was a wine writer or as I preferred a wine journalist. Now am I a blogger who is also a journalist or is it the other way round or is there no longer any really useful distinction between a blogger and a writer/journalist? That blogging is just another tool for communicating offering different opportunities from the printed word and, doubtless, having its own limitations. Blogging, for instance, allows me point up more regularly the shortcomings of 1855 than would be possible in a published magazine. On the other hand the three news stories that Decanter magazine (through have taken from me about 1855 will, I'm sure, have reached a much wider audience. Of course some of the information that came to me through blogging about 1855 then went into the Decanter stories.  

On Friday in the initial round-table panel presentation and discussion, Evan Dawson, author of Summer in a glass and managing editor of the New York Cork Report, said that "specialism is the future of wine blogging". There are now so many bloggers out there that to be successful you need to carve out a niche. I'm pretty sure that Evan is right – bloggers need to find something that sets their site/blog apart from others. Whether it is by concentrating on a particular area, a particular style or some aspect of the wine world such as natural or organic wines. Equally it might be on a more campaigning theme – an area I think has not been fully explored by blogs.

Whether there is a real distinction between bloggers and journalists there ought to be one area of agreement between the two – if you sign up to go on a trip you keep your side of the bargain by turning up no matter how late into the night you partied. Yesterday on one of the EWBC trips to Franciacorta, the hosts and main sponsors of this year's conference in Brescia, only six people out of the 20 who had signed up turned up. 14 no shows, unless there is a very good reason why they didn't make it, is a disgrace and highly unprofessional. Such behaviour reflects very badly not only on the absentees but also on wine bloggers and the European Wine Bloggers' Conference. 



Anonymous said...

Maybe there still is a difference between bloggers and journalists, journalists turn up no matter how hungover they are! I remember one trip I took with 2 American wine journos, they partied til 5AM but were on the bus at 9am and tasting by 10am.

Brian St. Pierre said...

Highly unprofessional indeed. . . and, another distinction, most journalists' editors wouldn't condone the sort of innuendo and insinuation too often seen in too many blogs.

Miss Vicky Wine said...

Yes I agree there are thousand differences between bloggers and journalists and I won't discuss them here. One though is that usually bloggers are not paid to attend the trips, journalist are. Here no one was paid, I have been very unprofessional this time - I think I am reaching my limits and need a break. I apologize and plan to come back do the different trips, which of course does not pardon me. I am deeply sorry. Thanks for a great conference!

Jim's Loire said...

Denise. Not sure that journalists do always turn up even if drunk. I can't certainly think of times when some journos haven't turned up for wine-maker dinners etc.

Jim's Loire said...

Ms Vicky – thanks. What do you think the 1000 differences between wine bloggers and journalists are?

Jim's Loire said...

Brian. Thanks.

'innuendo and insinuation':

Perhaps bloggers should remember that they are still subject to libel and defamation laws.

Jim's Loire said...

Denise: 'I remember one trip I took with 2 American wine journos, they partied til 5AM but were on the bus at 9am and tasting by 10am.'

Hair of the blog perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Jim, perhaps it was hair of the blog! All I can say is, I was mightly impressed by those women ;)

Anonymous said...


sadly, I feel this is a reflection of a wider problem in society, which is a decline of basic courtesy and good manners. My (indeed your) generation and even more so those of our parents and grandparents took the view that once you had accepted an invitation you were obliged to go (barring illness etc) and that you would also be under a strict duty to take considerable steps to draw your inability to come to the attention of your hosts. The increasing modern behaviour of finding a better offer and going somewhere else or simply feeling 'Oh I can't be bothered', was simply unacceptable behaviour. I fear that people no longer regard themselves as bound by such undertakings.

I suspect I have now irretrievably written myself off as an old fogey now, but then my last birthday it was my 60th.


Patrick Johner said...

It is indeed a bit of a problem and it really lies 100% in the hands of th eindividual person. From my point of view I must admit, that I skipped all the partying. It may be a good thing to get to know each other better, but hey I'd rather collect the moments with a clear head. I personnally had a big problem with those dinner delays on Friday and Saturday. I even missed some courses on Saturday, just to be fit on Sunday morning, where I unfortunately had to drive back home (5hrs drive). Maybe partying and staying up long is part of the EWBC, maybe I'm too old or maybe I'm just too responsible... but it is part of professionalism and appreciation.

Unknown said...

I agree entirely with Graham's comment. Having accepted an invite you go unless there are extenuating circumstances why you can't go and then you get in touch with your hosts to offer apologies.

I attended a bloggers only event at Vinopolis hosted by Max Riedel of the glass company. 7 out of 24 invitees turned up. I was embarrassed to say the least by this discourtesy.