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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
3 Oct 2006

For what I hope are obvious reasons I don't alas find the time to read many wine blogs. I know and occasionally enjoy Eric Asimov's The Pour on the New York Times website. Neal Martin's geeky stream of consciousness at www.wine-journal.com is one of the funniest boltholes in cyberspace (even if will insist on referring to me as HRH).

 

Ashika Mathews is a Plumpton College graduate in viticulture and oenology who at various points in her life has worked on a Côtes de Castillon property, organised the International Wine Challenge and now does some boring but extremely valuable transcription work for this website. I had no idea she was planning to get her own blog up and running but she introduced me to it yesterday and I think it's charming. Not sure about her reference to me, but that's a very minor ingredient in an eclectic mix that includes her thoroughly sensible philosophy of wine, and accounts of her adventures in wine and food (which seem to have ground to halt between mid August and Sep 22). Get a taste at www.budburst.co.uk.

 

The more popular North American model seems to be the email newsletter of which Nathalie MacLean and Jennifer Chotzi Rosen are arch exponents.

Please let us know of your favourite wine blogs via the Contact button at the bottom of this page (choose General Enquiries from the dropdown menu). I'm sure I have missed out some extremely obvious and entertaining ones. 

Marcus Gilliam, Montreal:

 

The wine blog is strange animal I think, especially these days. Blogs, by definition, are supposed to be intensely personal musings that strongly convey to readers a individualistic personality in a particular place and time. I think writing about wine on the web in that fashion can be quite difficult to pull off (and sometimes like shooting yourself in the foot). Some do manage this well and they make for my absolute favourite reads: De Long Wine Moment (more of a newsletter than a blog) and Alice Feiring (no reader replies allowed - a blog must!). The wonderful wine writers you mentioned today all do an admirable job, but I find that online they tend to strive for a common ground in bringing wine to the people. Looking at it now, those you mention are mostly what I would call wine "sites" rather than wine blogs for various reasons - no comment interaction with readership (Wine Journal); no sense of personality or chronology in wine entries (Nat Decants). Budburst is actually the best example of what a wine blog is (thanks for introducing it, by the way).

The reason I spill all this on you is because I think about the subject a lot, being the author of my own wine blog. Perhaps I shall submit it to you - weingolb.blogspot.com - as my favourite, as I do work very hard on it. My background is in journalism so I often try for a newsier feel than most blogs. Hopefully, readers will find I do possess a unique voice on wine - though not so much as to alienate - spoken from Montreal and with a keen interest in food pairings i e essential reading for any of your members who should they be planning a visit, and with any luck, a nice diversion for anyone at all who appreciates a quirky - "cheeky" as some have called it in the past - wine writing style.

 

me:

 

Cheeky? Heavens, we can't have that. Oh, now that I've read little bits of your blog (obscure start: Alentejo Regional Grapes which includes Altano wine from the Douro – now that's cheeky) and Damaged Goods which is a fascinating muse on the (quite carefully contained) damage done by the Asian ladybug in Ontario in 2001, I see you are not really very cheeky at all. Not nearly as cheeky as Neal Martin of wine-journal.com.  Take a look, folks. There is bound to be something to interest you here.

 

One blog I should have mentioned earlier is www.stormhoek.com, a blog designed to market a South African wine in an innovative way which has apparently been a huge success.

 

It can indeed be difficult to get the tone right.

 

I loved the Private Eye cartoon of a guy sitting at a pc calling "I'm just finishing my blog, darling". On the screen was "I, I, I, I, I…."

Jeremy Wilkinson, Epsom:

On the suject of blogs I really enjoy Neal's site and the other UK blog I find really interesting, and informative, is Jamie Goode's at www.wineanorak.com/blog/.


me:

I quite agree about Jamie's site which has so much useful information that I somehow don't categorise it as a blog. Wrongly perhaps. (Nor does it have that distinctive blog font.)


Jeremy W again:

I agree his site is not really a blog but there is a 'Jamie's blog' tab on the LHS the contents of which are much more akin to what I would regard as a blog.


William Roach, Putnam Wine, NY:

 

May I recommend Joe Dressner's The Wine Importer?


 

Luiz Horta, São Paulo:

It's not exactly a wine blog, but Kermit Lynch's monthly catalogue cum newsletter is such a joy to read, with an eventual article by Jim Harrison and the great photographs by Gail Skoff. When it arrives (it's downloadable in PDF from his page) I know I will have some pages of good reading ahead.

me:

He is such a good writer, as those who read his Adventures on the Wine Route know well.

Maud Letzler, Krugersdorp:

 

I was recently asked to participate in a web survey on bloggers (as I blog myself, albeit on a very amateur scale at http://maudonwine.blogspot.com) and its diversity, and found it interesting that when the results came back that those who participated were a 100% Caucasian/white when it came to wine blogs, of which 70% were men. It is certainly true in South Africa that our previously disadvantaged communities are only now starting to enjoy wine rather than as a method of payment!

PS Also love the Stormhoek site and some good blogs on www.grape.co.za


Alder Yarrow, San Francisco:

 

Regarding wine blogs - readers who are interested in sampling what wine blogs have to offer (much more than the few you mention) should check out Wine Blog Watch (http://wineblogwatch.arrr.net/) which tracks many of them. I may also humbly suggest readers explore my blog www.vinography.com which has garnered some acclaim.

 

me:

 

Both these look great.

Bob Ross, NJ:

 

Although not technically a blog, it operates like one in that Claes Lofgren often updates his photo collection. It's always worth a visit; the pictures change often and are of a very professional character: www.winepictures.com