This week the New York Times ended their experiment with a pay subscription barrier on selected content (“Times Select”)–yay, free content for all! Subscriptions had made the company $10 million a year but the thinking is that by making the “premium” content free to readers, the uptick in page views and associated advertising revenues will offset the loss of subscriptions. Even the Wall Street Journal, seen as the most successful online newspaper with $65 million in subscription revenue, is talking about giving out the content for free under the forthcoming Murdoch regime.
Some wine sites put their content behind subscription barriers, notably eRobertParker.com, WineSpectator.com, and JancisRobinson.com. The Wine Spectator also hits readers with ads after they have already paid, as did Times Select for that matter.
Are there enough ads out there to support wine sites? Should subscription-based wine sites go free? Have your say in the poll and the comments below.
poll now closed
There’s a wine blog created every minute! OK, maybe not that many, but there are a lot of wine blogs today. The editors of Wine & Spirits magazine asked me to look at some of the best wine blogs “that you’re probably not reading” in the current “25th anniversary issue.” I was honored to help them out. I respect the magazine for looking beyond their own fine pages to the wild world of the internets. Seriously, this is the only exclusively wine magazine that I know that has mentioned the word “blog” without referring to it’s own. Props to W&S! But wait, they don’t have any blogs of their own–boo hoo!
I talk about five blogs in the story, three amateur/enthusiast blogs, one journalist at another magazine, and a proto-winery blog. They are:
You may have discovered these already and there are many more that I enjoy in my blogroll on the right sidebar–and many more new bloggers who participate in the comments on this site (click their names for links to their sites). Consider signing up for the feeds of these blogs to keep up with their latest musings. And if you’re stopping by here for the first time, you can also give my own site feed a nibble! (and NEW! sign up to receive posts once a day via email)!
A couple of other items abobut the story. First, I got to have a debate with myself (that’s either the best kind or a sign of schizophrenia) about the pros and cons of blogging. I list six reasons why you should start a blog followed promptly by my rebuttal of six reasons you should not start a blog. Sadly, there’s no online link to the story so I guess this will be saved for your own perusal off line.
Second, the editors decided to include an illustration of me rather than a straight-up photo. I’m not sure why I was singled out for that, um, distinction. Here’s the photo that I originally submitted compared to their illustration, compared to a “Simpsonize Me” version of the same picture (per Josh’s suggestion). Enjoy them all!
With Father’s Day closing in this Sunday, inquiring minds might want to know: what do wine geek dads want as gifts? I polled three wine bloggers who are celebrating their first Father’s Day.
Josh of Pinotblogger: “One thing I’d like to receive for father’s day would be a couple more Riedel wine glasses. I break far more than my fair share. ” [Hmm, maybe Josh should try the impact resistant glasses? -Dr. V]
Lenn of Lenndevours: “My dream present would be: Sherwood House Vineyards a 36-acre vineyard in Mattituck. Cost: a cool $4.1 million. The realistic one: An afternoon in wine country with my wife and son…along with a lunch from Village Cheese Shop and local wines.”
Ah, sounds nice especially since I’ll be in Bordeaux this Sunday away from Mrs. Vino and our son. But if they still wanted to get me some wine related paraphernalia…I’d love a corkscrew that the TSA wouldn’t take away from me when I forget it in my carry-on. But in the event that is not available, I’d settle for the Chateau Laguiole with a handle of red stamina wood (about $129). But I wouldn’t want to sacrifice THAT one to the TSA!
Congratulations to Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library in Springfield, NJ and tv.winelibrary.com on the ‘net! Known for his popular video podcasts, Gary had a great nine-minute segment on NPR’s Weekend Edition. Host Scott Simon visits the 40,000 square-foot store (wow–that’s enormous!) and tastes wine with Gary. Scott does a great job talking about blackcurrant, cough drops, and even soil-after-rain!
One thing that Gary mentions is that he has six magnums of Leoville Las Cases 1975 (his birth year) in his cellar waiting for the Jets to win the Superbowl. When they do–”please, God, please let that happen,” he says–he won’t just open one and drink it. He’ll open all six and pour them on his head! Good stuff. But also an expensive shower with each magnum fetching $350 today (and IF/when the Jets ever win, who knows what they’ll be worth).
I’ve got a few bottles of port from 2003, the year our son was born, to open with him on his 21st birthday. But otherwise not much with a “drink me” (or “shower me”) date on it. Which wines do you have stashed away for future occasions?
Have you ever wondered why there are so few Americans in Argentina’s wine country while the French and Chileans seem to know their way around Mendoza? When I was there, I did. So I explored the issue in an article that appeared in the January issue of Wine Business Monthly, now available online.
Have you ever thought about how wineries use the internet to market wine? Or why sports fans are asking for “mas vino” instead of a nice cold one? Or whether Costco will make the three-tier system crumble? Then fire up your iTunes and listen to the most recent installment of “Unfiltered,” a podcast hosted by Tim Elliot of Winecast. I joined four others to taste wine and chew the fat. Oh no wait, since we were in four different time zones and connected via Skype, there was no imbibing (at least collectively), just talking.
The blogosphere’s newest wine blogger may be named Ray, but he’s no Rachael! Ray Isle is Senior Wine Editor at Food & Wine magazine. He promises some juicy food and wine tips on his blog:
Much of it will be alerting people to great new wines that I taste in our handy-dandy wine tasting room (around the corner from the test kitchens, a key thing as far as I’m concerned). I taste what seems to me an extraordinary amount of wine each month, only a fraction of which makes it into the magazine (largely because of space considerations)…There will also be commentary on wine and food subjects across the board, info on new restaurants that have particularly good (or bad) wine programs, spirited debate (I hope) on wine issues that people are passionate about, etc…
Mmm, tasty wine picks direct from the tasting room…Sounds good to me! And oh, he also says that he will have no Paris Hilton comments so you’ll have to stick around here for the mindless wine trivia.
Check out Ray’s blog, Tasting Room, on foodandwine.com.
There’s a new wine blogger in town and his name is Eric. By day, he writes about wine–for The New York Times! Yes, this new blogger is none other than wine columnist Eric Asimov and his blog is called The Pour. Wine blogging has hit the mainstream.
He promises a tasting note-free blog, writing mostly about the broader issues of wine –I’m all in favor of that. He also promises more personal details:
Along the way, you may meet some of the people I enjoy drinking with – my family, of course, and friends like the Grand Crew, my martial arts food and wine group, which gathers regularly to eat, drink, cook and talk (more about them soon enough).
So check out the blog. I think it will be a great medium for him and there’s even space for comments. “Pour” Eric though since now he will have even more demands on his spare time. But will he be blogging in his pajamas like the rest of us?