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National Blogger ConferenceWine Bloggers Conference Keynote Addresses

Both keynote addresses rallied the troops. If wine bloggers needed recognition and a shot in the arm to motivate them to continue writing, the keynote addresses at the fourth Annual Wine Bloggers Conference accomplished that task. On Friday, July 22nd international wine author Jancis Robinson urged wine bloggers to work on their writing skills, get along with other bloggers, become creative and consider writing some investigative articles. On Saturday, writer Eric Asimov questioned what was meant by the term blogger. He suggested that bloggers are writers, editors and publicists. Both speakers were encouraging and pro blogging about wine.

Wine Bloggers Conference 2011Friday Keynote: Jancis Robinson

Jancis Robinson became interested in writing about wines and started JancisRobinson.com. Rather than placing ads on the website, Jancis decided to go the subscription route. She spends hours a day working on the award winning website. Jancis began writing articles and books in 1975. She does not believe that books are dead and sees the future of books in self-publishing. She noted that there is a huge market for wine books in China.

Jancis challenged the attendees to make what they do better. That includes marketing what they write. Robinson suggested that bloggers have a certain anti-printed word attitude. However bloggers have many options available to them including writing, audio and video. Jancis suggested that some bloggers do more investigative writing and believes they are in the ideal position to do this.

Blogger entries could profit from some creativity. Robinson suggests that bloggers work on their writing skills and date their articles. Wine bloggers should be aware that wine is a universal topic and they are writing to a global audience.
A touch of humility may go a long way in capturing and keeping readers. Add to the humility, well written articles and the blogger can become influential.

Wine Bloggers Conference 2011Saturday Keynote: Eric Asimov

On Saturday, Eric Asimov stated that he no longer is a blogger and asked, “What is a blogger?” He wonders if the term is applicable any longer. Today a blogger is a writer, but also an editor and publisher. The unifying theme is writing. Bloggers as writers are now established and their voices are being heard.

Mr. Asimov discussed his background. He enjoyed wine and beer as a journalist at the New York Times. Eric never took a class in wine. He taught himself. Somewhat negative to the term “wine appreciation,” Eric discovered that the assembly of a meal included food and wine. It was not an appreciation, but a natural place where wine belongs. He learned about wine in terms of drinking wine rather than tasting wine. Tasting wine is an exercise however drinking wine goes beyond merely tasting.

Wine writers need to drink a lot of wine. To understand a wine, one needs to drink the wine with food while enjoying the company of people. Mr. Asimov commented that tasting wines are like people who count visiting a state when they simply change planes at an airport. Drinking wines is like leaving the airport and visiting the sites.

Mr. Asimov challenges certain assumptions such as vineyard yield per acre, the phrase “wine is made in the vineyard” and wine scores. Eric urged wine writers to think and raise questions about these and other assumptions. In terms of wine scores, the rating system may work while peering over shelves of wines in a wine shop. Add food, mood and people to the context and a wine score becomes meaningless.

As bloggers make decisions of how they are going to connect to an audience, they themselves should become more comfortable with wine. How bloggers write about wine often shapes how consumers think about wine. Bloggers are in a unique position to write about everyday wines that the majority of people can afford.

Mr. Asimov cautioned about writing the traditional tasting notes and their associated vocabulary. He encouraged bloggers to write what they love about a wine and how it fits into their life and meals.



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