challenge to all wine bloggers. In the comments, in emails, and on Twitter, some wine bloggers stepped forward to accept the challenge. Others remained silent, so it is unknown whether they also took on this challenge or simply chose to ignore it.
So, during the past year, have those who accepted my challenge lived up to it, or did they fail? And what about the silent majority?
Let me preface this with a few comments, echoing the words I wrote last year. I repeat that "There is not a single wine blog out there that cannot be improved." If you look back over the past year and find that your blog has not really changed, then you are doing something wrong. You are mired in stagnation, a swamp of the mundane and boring. Blogs should be dynamic, ever changing, ever improving. Hopefully you have been learning about wine over the past year, and your blog should reflect your greater knowledge, and maybe even wisdom. You should be honing your writing skills, getting better all the time. You should be constantly hunting for new topics to cover, rather than rehashing the same tired old issues time and time again.
As I peruse over numerous wine blogs, I an saddened to see some excellent ones which no longer exist, or are on hiatus. I also see far too many which dismay me. My thoughts from last year remain relevant and bear repeating. "Face the truth, the majority of wine blogs are not worth reading. They offer little, if anything, of unique value so there is nothing to differentiate them from the mass of other wine blogs out there. Others are just damn boring, like watching infomercials about toilet bowl cleaners all day. Some repulse through their mercenary motivation, their obvious desire to write simply to gain free wine. Others amaze you with their ignorance of the very subjects they write about."
These are harsh words which might offend some but they are nothing that numerous others have not said during the past year. If you are truly honest and objective in your heart, you will know my words are true. There is no need to specifically out any individual blogger as I don't want to get mired in personal battles which will only cloud the greater issues that need to be addressed. There is also no need to provide a gladiatorial arena of accusations and personal attacks for the enjoyment of others, further clouding the general points I am trying to make.
Since last January, I have implored bloggers to improve themselves and their writing. I am not asking them to become professionals, merely to accept the personal challenge to better themselves and their blogs. That is a worthy goal and I fail to understand why someone would not want to rise to that challenge. Previously, I have asked wine bloggers to take risks, and not be a fucking wallflower. I also suggested they follow the advice of Jancis Robinson and embrace the acronym AHOO (accuracy, humility, opinionated and original). Posts such as these seemed to be well received but was anyone really listening? Did anyone actually take action based on these suggestions?
I took on my own challenge, and believe I succeeded in changing and improving my blog over the past year. I think I took more risks, tried to write more original, unique posts, as well as continued to learn more about wine. I have tried to cover more uncommon and unusual wines, rather than the same old California Cabernet and Chardonnays. I have written far fewer lone tasting notes, instead finding ways to integrate such reviews into more informative and entertaining posts. I am prouder of my blog this past year than previous ones. But, I fully understand that there is still plenty of room for improvement and I will take on the challenge once again this year.
So, all those who accepted my challenge last year, did you succeed? Or if not, why not?
My challenge does not end now that 2011 is over, but rather is something that I am issuing once again for 2012. I am throwing the gauntlet back down and daring all wine bloggers to step up and accept my challenge. Change and improvement should never end. I know some bloggers will ignore me once again, and that is fine as they do so at their peril. Do you really want to be left behind, when your peers are improving their blogs? Do you really want to do the same exact thing you did last year? Don't you want to better yourself?
So will you accept my challenge and truly try to improve your wine blog? Or will you take the easy path, remaining stagnant and stale?
I know that I am not alone in my feelings, and I am glad to see others taking up the mantle, asking fellow wine bloggers to step up to the plate and improve. Check out The Wine Blogger Dilemma by Evil Bottle, whose words may be harsh, but his passion is undeniable. Sometimes, someone has to tell the Emperor that he is not wearing any clothes.