Who doesn’t love a big wet sloppy kiss every now and then? Oh good grief: perhaps it is a wild frontier in the wine industry with the emergence of Web 2.0. It isn’t easy trying to figure out where wine industry, wine/web 2.0 companies and wine bloggers all fit in together and how they fit together. But no one can deny the direction and the trend toward web 2.0 participation in social networking, wine consumers and wine technology businesses. Yes, I’ve covered parts of this topic before (Wineries and Bloggers). And there is something to add to this conversation based on recent blows, insults and online conversations between old media and wine bloggers.
Frankly, I’d like to see wineries sponsor wine bloggers to get to the WBC. I may end up in hot water for saying this, but I believe the community will benefit if the experienced, contributing, talented bloggers are in the room (and not just the ones who can afford to be there). And why not? Why shouldn’t the wine industry invest in the blogging industry as a whole. It certainly isn’t going anywhere. Do we want honesty? Sure. Transparency? Of course. So let’s set it up that way. We’ll need the voices of capable, committed of bloggers (or blobbers) with talent and integrity. Fortunately, I don’t think it will be too hard to find those wine bloggers.
The last paragraph was an excerpt from a comment I posted on DirtySouthWine ‘s blog. I continue to think there is value in wineries and bloggers working together to increase the flow of information, education and all that is extraordinary about the wine experience to consumers and anyone passionate about wine. Initially I approached Joel Vincent regarding a winery funded sponsorship for bloggers to attend the WBC. Unfortunately, resources (human, time) were in short supply to make it happen this year. Alternately, wineries could offer to sponsor bloggers directly. Certainly include transparency, honesty, and what works for your program. The idea is to contribute value, increase access, information, education and promote the wine experience.
Bloggers are different from journalists. They have been called “other” (thanks, 1WineDude) and they have been likened to “Faith Healers” (Jeff Cox). Wine lovers who are moved to blog have also been called influencers (Joel Vincent). Similar to getting advice from our most trusted friends and family, regarless of their certification or education, bloggers are also influencers to their peer-like community. Research indicates that people trust their chosen influencers in their friends and family circle more so than they trust advertising, marketing and businesses. Likewise, it seems many bloggers have already decided that their own audience will determine their value, appreciating their integrity and content. Or not.