Broadsides and Blogs; Reflections from the Finger Lakes

“All bloggers want to make money from their blogs.” That’s the accusation a trade person made during lunch at the Wine Bloggers Conference in the Finger Lakes region this past week-end.

“I don’t,” I told him. But his expression assured me that he didn’t believe that to be true.

During the conference a bit of a rift developed between some of the trade people and the bloggers. As W. Blake Gray points out on his blog, The Gray Report, we bloggers were there for the community. We were there to connect IRL with our virtual friends and peers. We were there to learn from each other. We were there to taste wine together and blog together about shared experiences.

That aspect which was central to the spirit and purpose of the conference seemed to elude some of the trade people; the ones who were there to work, to make connections not for community but for business.

Jeff Kralik, TheDrunkenCyclist“The only people who think they will make money from blogging are people who are new to blogging,” responded Jeff Kralik of TheDrunkenCyclist when I asked him if he was in it for the money. He’s right. Blogging never was and never will be a solid business plan.

“I blog because I love to write and I love wine.” Nancy Brazil of PullThatCork sums it up succinctly. It is as clear a reason as any I’ve heard why we do what we pics spring summer 2015 102

On July 19th in 1848 the first women’s rights convention was held here in the Finger Lakes region, in Seneca Falls. The movement began with broadsides, paper printed on one side for a specific purpose. Some broadsides were for advertising, some broadsides were ballads and poetry, some broadsides had a political message. The purpose of the broadsides of the suffragest movement was to begin a conversation. The purpose of the Seneca Falls Convention was to continue that conversation in person. It is not a far stretch to consider blogs as the broadsides of our time. Like broadsides, blogs are a medium of communication that is free from constraint. With a blog, “you have the freedom to do whatever you want,” commented Jason Subblefield of CorkEnvy during a panel discussion. There are, as yet, no rules to blogging and no format to follow. We are free to create whatever we want to create.

The reason we came together in Corning, NY was not to make business connections. The reason we were there was for the opportunity to be fully immersed in a wine region that many of us had not, yet explored; to talk to the local wine makers while  standing in their vineyards, tasting their wines.  We were there to learn about the wine, the geology, the geography and the community of the Finger Lakes region. We love wine, we love to write, and we love being part of the wine bloggers’ community. We were there to continue a very public and ongoing conversation about wine, to share some meals together and to say to each other in person, in a spirit of camaraderie, ‘Cheers to you fellow bloggers!’


Photo taken by Maria Frangieh @mariafrangieh In the trade and in the spirit


13 comments on “Broadsides and Blogs; Reflections from the Finger Lakes

  1. renobarb says:

    Writing is all about connection, especially in the blogging community. I’m surprised,that the commenter thought any of you were in it for the money. I guess he doesn’t realize that the majority of writers and bloggers know that they can never give up their day jobs.
    The opportunity to meet your fellow wine bloggers is a cause for celebration. It is a tribal gathering of like-minded people in the same way Burning Man is for artists. I’m glad you were able to meet your comrades IRL.

  2. There are very few people that I know of that make decent money off of wine blogging. In fact, I can only think of about six. And when I say “decent” I mean enough money to make it a full-time gig. You know what they all have in common? They work their tails off–they are out hustling all the stinking time. All to make $30-40K a year.


    Why is it so hard? Well, let’s consider someone who is the best wine blogger in the world. There is not such a person, but imagine there is. As a winery/PR type, you could hire this über-blogger to write something about your wine. Great. Big following, might get some traction. Cost? I dunno, maybe $500-1000. I really have no idea.


    You could send sample to a dozen or so bloggers who are good at what they do (although perhaps not quite as good as über-blogger) and passionate.

    And free.

    What would you do?

    I would go with option B–they are likely going to come off as more sincere, you are going to get 12 completely different perspectives, and they are all free.

    The reason no one makes money wine blogging is simple–we are all willing to do it for free….

  3. I had the same chat with an un-named trade person, over here in the UK it’s almost a dirty word to call yourself a wine blogger, lots of people turn their nose up at you…sod them!

    We all love what we do, and we know there’s no money in it. At best it’s a way to learn about the world of wine to maybe do an actual job in wine at some point in the future. Well, maybe! 🙂

  4. I admire those with a specific blog subject in mind and especially enjoy wine blogs. My goal is simple to enjoy and learn. Cheers to another blogger!

  5. Larry Levan says:

    If I was interested by making money I think I would only focus on a strong Instagram account with thousands of followers. How would I success? By making super cute photos of expensive bottles x little cute cats (cute baby cat sleeping on Romanée conti bottle for ex). With this interesting combination I would attract (a lot of) young instagram users font of cats and trade marketers from wines companies looking for new “social media” wine opportunities. $$$. And then I would become a wine star launching my YouTube channel interviewing cats experiencing wines (the “new” thing to do to be famous). $$$. And I hope a wine entrepreneur will propose me to create a wine for cats. $$$.
    IF I was interesting by making money.

  6. Love it ❤ it was great meeting you thank you for the great time!
    Keep writing

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