In anticipation of the upcoming 2012 Wine Bloggers’ Conference later this week the editors at Palate Press: The online wine magazine have gathered several different perspectives on wine bloggers. This week we will be running those perspectives, and taking a look at how wine bloggers are viewed by the rest of the world. After those of three Oregon winemakers, Tuesday, of wine importer Bill Deutsch, Wednesday, and wine columnist Talia Baiocchi, yesterday, we are now publishing those of Steven Spurrier, a wine expert and author who has worked as a wine merchant and is known for having organized the Paris Tasting of 1976.
Bloggers: how important are they really, anyway?
I think they are really quite important as information is totally important. Something that is not communicated about in the modern world does not exist, so all information is important. What is of questionable importance is the opinions of the bloggers, but then they would not blog if they did not have an opinion.
What have been the positive and the negative sides of the emergence of wine blogging on the world of wine and wine writing?
The positive side is the increase of information and the increase of opinions and comments on the information and opinions. I can’t really think of a negative side, provide people have the time to read everything that is out there. There is plainly a tendency for a surfeit of information and of opinions, but then there are a dozen newspapers per day in the UK all of which are informative and readable in varying degrees, but most people only take one newspaper, so it is unlikely that even the most addicted wine drinker will read every blog that there is.
Does the distinction between blogger and writer really matter anymore?
Yes, a great deal. Writing is almost always of a specific length, on a specific subject and to a specific audience. Blogging is not.
What is the actual influence of bloggers on the wine industry and the wine market?
How much of an impact do they have on sales? I have no idea. Jancis Robinson writes each week in the FT, but she also has a hugely influential website called the Purple Pages. Thus she is both a writer and a blogger and probably the greatest influence on sales in the UK. The influence depends entirely on the respect in which the blogger is held and the breadth of their audience.
Anything that bloggers should be weary of/careful about?
Of over-using their opinions. The exaggeration of blogging is a rant and any comments on a rant will produce more ranting.
Which blogs do you read and why?
I don’t read any blogs, don’t have the time.
If someone wants to start a blog, what is your advice to them?
Get to know what you are talking about before you talk about it.