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Multiple Personality Issues

I’ll announce the details about the actual project in due course, but I am starting a new blog elsewhere so that I can cover some of the topics that I expressly forbade myself from covering on this blog.

My intention here was always just to “talk wine”, not drink it, sell it or even make money from it. There were few places to get some of these thoughts and I believed that I could have some fun putting my own point of view out there to see what happened.

I never expected it to get all that far, and really it was as much an experiment that would allow me to join the “blogging conversation” as much as it was my contribution to the “wine conversation”.

Now, I feel well and truly captivate by blogging. It makes a major difference to my life, where I make plans according to the time available for blog reading and posting. It opens doors to conversations with wine professionals in the UK and around the world. It even gives me excuses to plan exciting events.

I have always had more than one blog, having started a local interest blog right at the beginning of the adventure (now largely untouched), and also contributing to several others.

However, I will now have two personal wine blogs, both of which are important to me. The question is whether I will have to develop a full blown multiple personality trait to allow me to separate one from the other, or whether one will eventually win out over the other?

I will have to wait and see. I hope both turn out to have a role to play, however small. I trust you will forgive me if I split my attention between the two, and also stick with me while I find my feet blogging “over there” about things I have tried hard not to cover here in the time (almost 2 years) that this blog has been going.

More details soon.

List of Irish Wine Blogs

You may have noticed that among the updates to the blogroll I made a few days ago I also separated out the wine blogs that are written in Ireland.

The list is as comprehensive as I can make it (for the blogs anyway, plenty of retail sites), which is saying something as it only contains 4 entries [updated; there are now a few more; check below for the latest list]

Simon Tyrrell’s blog seems to be fairly intermittent and I only started following it recently, but I do recommend you check out the others that are all in my feed reader already.

If you know of any more out there, please do let me know as Ireland does need more blogs like these to develop and nurture the Irish wine culture.

Last updated: 22/07/2008

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 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 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 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
Linda’s Wine Blog
The Pinotage Club
Tales of a Sommelier
The Tasting Note
The Wine Conversation (or my original address at
The Wine Doctor
The Wine Post
The Wine Sleuth
Winey Wink

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

(I’m sure there could be many more here)
Aldi UK (Buying Director’s Blog)
Barrels and Bottles
Berry Bros. & Rudd
Bordeaux Undiscovered
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?

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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