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List of UK Wine Blogs

I have been threatening to do this for some time, and finally I sat down and put into one place all the UK wine blogs and blog-like sites that I have come across, particularly those that are already in my feed reader.

I want to have this list available to distinguish the UK wine blogs from the many other English language blogs around the world, so new readers can find the sites that are most relevant to them , that include the wines they can actually buy, and written by those who understand the UK wine market.

Of course the list could be much more comprehensive, covering a broader range of wine sites. To be honest, that is better left to someone better technically qualified as the list would be long (if you want that, go to AbleGrape.com as I’m sure you’ll find the information you are looking for).

For the purposes of this list, I have chosen to concentrate on those sites that:

  • are written in the UK (whether they are about this market or not, or even written in English!)
  • provide Opinion, Commentary and/or Tasting Notes. I am not including news sites like Harpers.co.uk because of this, but I have included Decanter as they have a separate blog area, even if it only seems to be used for en-primeur reviews these days, and included JancisRobinson.com as it achieves many of the same objectives even if 50% or more is subscriber only

I have also tried a very basic categorisation. These categories are not strict or mutually exclusive, but they do try to separate the blogs by the type of writing you can expect when following them.

The “Lone Voices” are individuals blogging on their own time and are personal impressions. There are individuals who are also in the Press (Pressing Concerns), so their professional expertise in both content and style separates them somewhat from the others. There are also wine merchants who blog, and their commercial background influences their content to a greater or lesser extent, but their access to winemakers and tastings make them useful sites to follow as well. Finally, there are the other sites, directories, aggregators and social networks.

I’m sure to have missed a few (yes, bloggers ought to do a better job of research, but I can update this list with your input, so effectively this IS my market research).

Hopefully this list will be useful to some other than just sp*mmers. Let me know what you think.

Lone Voices in the Wilderness
Clueless About Wine
Confessions of a Wino
Eating Leeds
The Daily Wine
Gare Aux Gouts (don’t be surprised if it is in French, the author is based in London though)
Golly’s Wine Drops
Grapefan’s Wine Adventures
InterWined
Linda’s Wine Blog
The Pinotage Club
Spittoon
Tales of a Sommelier
The Tasting Note
The Wine Conversation (or my original address at wineculture.blogspot.com)
The Wine Doctor
The Wine Post
The Wine Sleuth
Winey Wink

Pressing Concerns
3 Little Words by Natasha Hughes
Andrew Jefford
Decanter
Drinking Outside the Box
JancisRobinson.com
Jim’s Loire
Wine Anorak

Merchants
(I’m sure there could be many more here)
Aldi UK (Buying Director’s Blog)
Barrels and Bottles
Berry Bros. & Rudd
Bibendum
Bordeaux Undiscovered
Majestic
Surf4Wine
Thirst for Rioja (my new blog)
Wine for Spice

Directories, Offers & Aggregators

FeedReel (Directory, including a “latest posts” service)
Love that wine (Social Network)
UKWinesOnline (Offers)

Happy Reading!

List Last Updated: 08/09/2008

Your views on Wine Experts

Andrew Jefford has issued a request for views regarding:

“whether the palates of professional wine buyers, sommeliers and wine critics are ‘too developed’.”

This is for an article in Decanter, so get on down to his site and leave him some thoughts on the world of wine reviews, wine buying and even wine service.

I have left my initial thoughts on his site (still pending comment moderation at this time), and I think readers of this blog, many of you bloggers and trade professionals yourselves, will have your own views. Why not have them published in Decanter?

Wine & Pork

Off to eat Pork and drink wines from Alsace – here’s a taster

[UPDATE: Click here for a picture of the centrepiece of the meal. Warning, not for vegetarians!]

Aperitif

Rolly Gassmann Pinot Auxerrois Moenchreben de Rohrschwihr 1997
+1 of the gewurz

Langoustines

Trimbach Riesling CFE 1995
Leon Beyer Riesling Comtes D’Eguisheim 2000
Weinbach Riesling Schlossberg Cuvee Ste Catherine 1997
ZH Riesling Clos Hauserer 1994

Foie Gras

Schlumberger Gewurz Princes Abbes 2000
Zind Humbrecht Gewurz 1998
Hugel Gewurz Tradition 1997
ZH Gewurz Clos Windsbuhl 1989
Trimbach Gewurz SDR 1998

Suckling Pig

Trimbach TPG Reserve Personelle 1998
ZH TPG Clos Jebsal 1997.
ZH TPG, Clos St.Urbain, Rangen, 2002

Hugel Riesling VT 1964
Hugel Riesling VT 1976
Hugel TPG VT 1976

Contemplation of pudding

ZH Clos Windsbuhl TPG VT 1990
ZH Riesling Brand VT 1990

Pudding

Albert Mann Pinot Gris Hengst SGN 1994
Rolly Gassman Gewurtz SGN 1997

An Audience With … Me

I was invited by a friend and ex-colleague to talk to her Wine Business and Wine Production class at Plumpton College yesterday where I met a very interesting and diverse bunch of people. I wish them lots of luck with their future careers in wine.

The subject of the talk was me (jokingly referred to as “An Audience With …“). More specifically, it was about my experience in the wine business, how I got (stumbled) into it, what I have done, and any suggestions I may have for those trying to do the same.

I will skip the vast majority of the content as it is irrelevant (and not all that interesting really), but I thought I would post a couple of the closing thoughts I had for them as they may be relevant to others, whether you are in the trade or looking to get into it.

1. Help solve a problem.

It isn’t good enough to turn up to interviews with a bunch of skills but no idea what is going on in the trade. There are some key issues facing the wine trade today, what do you think they are, and what do you think your prospective employer could do (with you) to address these (profitably)?

My own, very quick, list was:

  • How do we sell better wine? (upselling)
  • How can we reach more (new) consumers?
  • How do we grow our business responsibly?
  • How do we educate consumers?

No-one expects you to answer these questions fully (and if you can, set up your own business!), but if you have thought about them and about how you can help the prospective employer put this into practice, you’ve got a lot more to offer than other candidates.

2. Blog!

The wine trade (in the UK) may not believe it at the moment, but I am convinced that blogging / self-publishing / consumer driven content / whatever you want to call it, will become a major influence in wine purchasing in the very near future. If nothing else, as wine retail develops online and more consumers purchase a greater range of products online, the need for recommendations and suggestions will increase. Blogging, and Wine 2.0 in general, also has the opportunity to change how we source information on wine wherever the consumer decides to buy it.

If you want to be in wine marketing in the next few years you really have to be familiar with this new trend. All it takes is to sign up to a few blogs, read them, contribute comments and share the conversation.

[I am particularly intrigued to know what they make of Wine Library TV (if anyone of you drops by, please leave me a comment) which I pointed them to as only 1 had heard of it before]

Even better, get involved and start your own. Blogging encourages you to put your own thoughts in order and encourages you to do a little more research (well, I did say a little). If you want to communicate about wine in the future day job, why not start now?

Also, the more there are of us providing interesting content, the better the general knowledge archive will be. Blog posts are permanent records, however well or badly they are written, and a well-meaning post, properly researched, might turn out to be invaluable to others

A Final Thought

We need more people to join the wine trade not just because they love wine, but because they have something to offer to improve the business. If you can find a way to tap into consumers needs and ways of thinking, then there will be lots of people willing to give you that dream job you are looking for!

Refreshing the idea gene pool

Any group can become insular and cliquey without outside ideas and influences.

I have seen it in all sorts of parts of my life, particularly in small businesses growing rapidly. At first the “entrepreneurs” just get on with the many tasks in hand, ploughing their own furrow. Eventually there is a social bond between the founders that keeps the business really successful, … but it also difficult for newcomers to join the inner circle.

It isn’t planned that way, but those who have been involved from the start have a shared history, language and experience (and in-jokes) that newcomers don’t ‘get’, and so feel/are excluded.

With all the ‘cooperation’ activity going on, is it possible that wine blogging is heading the same way at the moment?

I really don’t think so, but it is easy to fall into the trap of talking too much to each other and not to the average wine consumer/reader out there. It is certainly a charge levelled at us by some in the traditional Press, so we must address this in some way.

One problem is that it is in the nature of wine bloggers in particular to be cooperative, after all we are not competing for business, we are actually, really and willingly working together to “float all boats“. Our readers can easily subscribe to a number of blogs as they only need to read one article per visit and then move away to the others, following links or some other RSS feeds.

We must remember that bloggers are as much consumers of information as producers. Most importantly, we don’t need to keep readers trapped and clicking all around the place like certain sites.

Wine/Web 2.0 is supposed to be about interaction, two-way communication and conversations between publishers and readers, but, to coin a phrase, not all readers are created equal.

Bloggers read and link to each other a lot. It means we are very familiar with the personalities on these other blogs and also with the software, the etiquette and the writer’s need for interaction, so it is actually bloggers that are the most frequent commenters on other blogs.

Once you add in social networking on facebook, Open Wine Consortium, Twitter, etc. we end up spending a great deal of time talking to each other. We even have shared activities such as Wine Blog Awards, Wine Blogging Wednesday and, dare I say it, Wine Conferences (and even wine blogging lampoons)

In themselves these are not bad things as there are lots of benefits to us cooperating and sharing best practice, technical and moral support and also growing the awareness of blogging. But wine bloggers need to ensure that the key audience, the blog reading consumer looking for information on what wines to buy, why and where, does not feel excluded.

Ryan at Catavino (see, I did it again!) recently pointed out that even well educated, well informed readers are uneasy and uncomfortable joining the conversation. We need to ask ourselves why?!

This blog is a major offender, but then my subject is to blog about things like blogging in wine after all rather than provide information on specific wines. I’d guess that the vast majority of my regular readers are bloggers themselves. I’d be glad to be proven wrong – if so, leave me a comment and let me know what brings you here.

So I have a suggestion and a request:

Bloggers, we must do more to incorporate comments into our posts. Many blog templates (including this one) relegate comments to secondary pages making a conversation very hard. Can anyone suggest a better way to do this?*

Readers; leave a comment! Anything will do. Any extra information you can provide is likely to be very gratefully received, but even a simple “thanks” or “that’s not right” will do. Not only that, but suggestions and questions are the germs of ideas for future posts and discussions. If these are on things that matter to you the site will be even more interesting and valuable, and the gene pool of ideas will be that much more varied and healthy.

* I will be making changes to this blog very soon to try and put some of this into practice myself.

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