Tom Johnson makes a flat-out statement in the Palate Press: Nobody reads wine blogs.
A year ago I was an unsuccessful political blogger, entertaining myself and almost no one else. Now, I’m a wine blogger doing largely the same thing, except that no one calls me a Nazi in comments anymore. Though my wine blog’s audience is only a tenth the size of my failed political blog’s audience, I’m informed by people-who-know that I am on the cusp of great success.
There’s no way to sugar coat this: wine blogging is failing its readers.
The evidence for that failure: with very few exceptions, wine blogs don’t even have readers.
The baseline numbers are appalling. Using traffic data aggregated by Cellarer and traffic rankings provided by Truth Laid Bear, the top 100 wine blogs combined would be the 280th most popular blog in the country.
Even looking at wine blogging as a niche product, we’re a disaster.
I haven’t seen similar metrics for beer sites (although Martyn Cornell did something along those lines last month, limiting it to UK blogs, and 47 comments followed). Based upon sparse numbers I have seen the best read wine blogs draw more traffic than the best read beer blogs.
Blogging about blogging seems way too much like navel-gazing — and certainly limits the potential audience — but what I’m really interested in is the future of a) journalism and b) beer journalism. That raises a couple more questions I’m not going to try to answer now, because then we’d be into serious navel-gazing. What is beer journalism (or is there even such a thing)? And what is beer news?
Will it happen in the form of blogs or some other way online? Make no mistake. The stories you repeat to friends over a pint will be reported first online. Will they arrive 140 characters at a time? Will you read them primarily on your phone? Will there be a tasting app on your iPad? Some of these questions are related to how and some to what.
I don’t think there are answers to either yet.