Ξ December 3rd, 2008 | → 2 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, Wine History |
A year in the life of a wine blog is an eternity. I have often heard most give up the ghost before the earth rounds the sun. Could be. Very likely. While the reasons for the failure of a blog are few, writer fatigue, the rush of life, family and work obligations among the most frequently cited, perhaps the most important reason is that it never found a readership. Writing a wine blog worth a reader’s time is difficult to achieve. But it remains the only satisfying measure of a blog’s success.
With respect to the wine blogs of others, I hold in very high regard virtually any creative effort I might find. An interesting turn of phrase, an obscure topic explored, the profane confessions of wine diarist, all are sufficient reasons to bring me back to a blog. ‘A Carnies Guide to Wine’, ‘Grandma Breaks Her Hip’, ‘Why I Hate Wine’, ‘Can’t Find My House, A Wino’s Drinking Companion’ may be charming, fine wine sites in their own way but they are not, however, what the vast majority readers are looking for. Or I should say the reverse is true, a blog creates its audience. Eventually. The fundamental question must always be, “Who would I like to read this blog”?
What follows are the first anniversary reflections from the three original writers for Reign of Terroir, Donna, Karl, and lastly, yours truly, the Admin.
Year in Review
2008 has been an interesting year. Living in Houston, I got to experience the tragedy of Hurricane Ike. On the scale of hurricanes it did not carry a lot of death in its wake as some of it’s predecessors but the damage to the landscape of Galveston and surrounding areas was astounding.
I was one of the lucky ones, I was only out of power for 3 weeks with a little bit of carpet damp due to my French door jams giving way to the horizontal rain that assaulted them.
Our Admin for reignofterroir.com asked us to comment on our most valuable article we wrote.
Being a student of wine and a wine buyer for an importer, my favorite was the How Professionals Taste Wine. I had a blast with my friends taping the tasting. I hope we can do more of these for the grape of the month in the future. More than anything else it allows me time with my good friends. Working in the wine industry, despite being a blast, is very time consuming and we have a tendency to work very long hours as our personal lives and commitments are also surrounded by wine.
But, then I started thinking about all the work I do, and lack of personal time, and I knew the article not involving wine was the real winner. The article for Veteran’s Day about my father was my favorite and I thank our Admin for remembering him in our previous conversations about life and including his memory in the blog.
It’s hard to believe he’s been gone nearly 4 years now. Not a day goes by without my heart aching for him. His last years were fraught with the evil that is Alzheimer’s. What was once a great man was reduced as the disease attacked his head and subsequently by default his body. But taking care of him through his diseased years gave me the strength to deal with the obstacles of 2008 leading up to the finale of Hurricane Ike. So even through his illness he was still parenting me to deal with obstacles in my life.
So, as we come to the end of another year, we are told to count our blessings. I however recommend you also count the curses. The curses are that which makes your character.
A year in retrospect.
When Reign of Terroir went live in December 2007 I was excited at the prospect of being able to “publish” my thoughts and experiences on food and wine which, up until that point, had been confined to informal chatting on Internet Forums (which is where I “met” original co-authors Ken and Donna).
Writing has always been something I’ve been comfortable with ever since school and the written word factors heavily in my day-job with verbose technical reports, training manuals and customer-support e-mails all hinting at a frustrated author trying to get out. However away from work I’d never had anything to write about until I developed my interest in all things wine-related in 2006. The timing of Ken’s decision to set up Reign of Terroir was perfect for me – my business travels around the world meant I had a good supply of topics to (hopefully) tell some interesting stories and also I was at a stage in my wine education where I was becoming confident in being able to include relevant and useful wine information as well.
My first post, From the Caucasus to the Baltic, is, with hindsight, a fairly amateurish attempt with rudimentary formatting and no images which add necessary visual excitement to a web-page. However it shows, in embryonic form, the style of writing I was to develop over the year and my liking for reference facts and information on the topic, most of it usually relevant!
One of my specialties is the Restaurant review, if only because I get to go to plenty during my business trips. My aim is always to write about places which have a link to wine, whether it is indirectly through the location or, more often than not, directly because of a good bottle consumed on the premises! My favourites from the year were Schmulik Cohen’s in Tel Aviv, where the hearty home-style food is to die for, and Pano Saraphanesi in Istanbul where the selection of weird and unusual Turkish wines should pique any enthusiast’s curiosity.
Of the other articles over the last 12 months ones that I’m particularly happy with on a personal level are A Case of Familiar Faces, where I profiled some well known names in the industry, and Pesticides in Wine, which was one of the few “Current Affairs” topics I worked on.
And the year ahead? Changes in my role at work mean I could be travelling less so the global Restaurant Reviews may suffer, but you should see more informal “diary” style posts of what I’m buying and drinking each month. Most of all I have strong desire to inform and educate – so expect more articles on wine history and unusual or interesting producers, as well as the usual mix of topics related to the workings of the wine-world.
I’d like to think that Reign of Terroir has found a niche for itself in the blogosphere and that people find something useful out of the range of topics covered on its pages. My contribution to the blog has at times been irregular, and with the constraints of a busy day-job that will likely continue, but I plan to continue sending through my eclectic ramblings as long as Ken will have them and I trust that at least a few of you will enjoy reading them.
My appreciation for Donna and Karl is boundless. We work well together because I’ve made no rules as to what they may submit. Like our readers, I, too, like to be surprised! I will do the html, add the pics and hyperlinks for anything they write. Wonderful, broadminded folk.
A special note of thanks must be given to Tom Wark of Fermentation, the net’s gold standard of the daily wine blog. He provided this space an early boost. More than that, after receiving Tom’s notice I realized how much work needed to be done to remain deserving. He has been the single biggest influence on the quality and rigor of what we’ve written. As I asked above, “Who would I like to read this blog”? Well, folks like Tom.
A hearty thank you to all of our readers. We will continue to work hard to inform and entertain you.
Back to work…