In the town of Lodi last week-end, 300 wine bloggers gathered for the 9th annual Wine Bloggers’ Conference. While most of the conversations centered on wine and writing, there were a few comments and presentations focused on the commercial side of blogging and some advice on how to ‘monetize authenticity.’
In less than a week Black Rock City will be once again re-purposed to host Burning Man, a ‘culture of possibility. A network of dreamers and doers.’ Beginning its third decade, the event has grown from a community of 30 to a city of over 67,000. There is some talk that the event is becoming overly commercialized. As the participants descend on Reno, we’ve noticed that more and more orders in the store are for cases of grand cru Champagne and first growth Bordeaux. It seems to have become to some extent, a rich man’s playground.
At this point in time, wine blogging is still a medium of self-expression that has no rules. Each blogger has a different perspective, a different take and different way of talking about wine. To develop rules in order to ‘monetize authenticity’ would suffocate the free self-expression that bloggers celebrate.
At the conference as I went from glass to glass and from blogger to blogger, I was greeted and welcomed at each table. A spirits lounge was set up by Justin Koury of the grapevineconsulting.com and wizards of whiskey. Each night there was a different ‘free-range’ experience; free spirits for free spirits. Wine bloggers may well be the burners of the wine world. Theirs is a culture of individual expression without judgment. Lets hope they continue to avoid commercialism and remain a free for all…for all. And like the burners, lets hope the bloggers, continue to live by the principles of ‘Radical Self-expression’ and ‘Radical Inclusion.’