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Blog rankings: Who’s on first?


The San Francisco Examiner is reporting on the “Top 7 Wine Bloggers,” as determined by an outfit called Wine Opinions, which describes itself as “a provider of consumer research to wine producers…”.

Here’s the list:

1. Eric Asimov, N.Y. Times, The Pour  23%
2. Eric Orange, Local Wine Events  21%
3. Steve Tanzer, International  Wine Cellar   15%
4. Jancis Robinson (tie), Jancis Robinson  13%
5. Alder Yarrow (tie), Vinography  13%
6. Tyler Colman, Dr. Vino  12%
7. Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Library TV  9%

The numbers following each name represent the percent of respondents who said they visited the blog “frequently” as opposed to “occasionally.” The respondents were members of the wine trade, not ordinary consumers, which probably explains Gary V.’s last-place rank.

It’s not strange that the trade should rank these particular seven bloggers on top. Two of them, Jancis Robinson and Steve Tanzer, were critical and literary superstars independent of their role as bloggers, so they have simply carried their fame into a new medium. Three others — Eric Asimov, Alder Yarrow and Tyler Colman — have been ranked at or near the top for years, so it’s a case of “fame begets fame.” (And Asimov might never have made it had he not had the clout of The New York Times behind him.) I’ll have to admit I was unfamiliar with, but I’ve now bookmarked it as a useful site.

I do find it strange that Tom Wark’s “Fermentation” blog is not on the list, as it almost always is on everybody else’s list of most popular blogs. For example,, a website that is a leading source of information about blog rankings, recently came out (Sept. 15) with their lastest update of the top 100 wine blogs and “Fermentation” was number one!

The problem with rankings like these is that they’re very non-transparent, and while the rankers seem innocent of any guile, you never really know how they determine their numbers.

And in the Department of Shameless Self-Promotion, — this very blog — is now Number 11 in the country, according to AlaWine:

Rank Wine Blog Rating
1              Fermentation     100
2              Vinography        93
3              Dr. Vino              93
4              The Pour             89
5              Catavino              89
6              Wine Peeps         87
7              The Wine Connoisseur 83
8              Dirty South Wine  81
9              Do Bianchi             81
10            My Wine Education    80
11             Steve Heimoff’s Blog    78

Pretty cool! And before someone can say that I wouldn’t be in the position of having a top blog if I didn’t already have a name from my Wine Enthusiast reporting, I totally agree. But I will add that, while my name might have gotten me some curiosity when I started my blog, it’s been hard work and good writing that persuade people to read it everyday.

Tom Wark blogged a few days ago about the new AlaWine list and said, “The real interesting question is which blogs you’ve never heard of will have moved in to the top ten a year from now?” Well, I hope one you have heard of — mine — will be right up there. Maybe even on first.

And fresh in this morning:

See this latest survey of top American wine blogs, where is #5 with a bullet! (And congratulations to 1WineDude for being #1!)


  1. Hi Steve, I have a question. San Francisco Examiner reported on the “Top 7 Wine Bloggers”, but how can we call bloggers writers like Jancis Robinson or Steve Tanzer? They are not wine bloggers. Or, am I wrong?

  2. And to put us all in our places, do any wine blogs appear in the Technorati top 100 list?

  3. Yeah, but is it a 95?

  4. It’s always fun to look at lists like this, isn’t it?

    Another resource I’ve found interesting is PostRank. Their list is updated automatically on a daily basis based on a number of criteria aimed at measuring how influential wine blogs are. I just added to PostRank’s wine topic and you landed in the Top 10:

    I was curious how PostRank determined their ratings so I did an interview with them. Have a look if you’re interested:


  5. Robert, thanks. Interesting stuff.

  6. Fabio, Jancis does have a blog (subscription only). I’m not sure about Tanzer.

  7. “I’ll have to admit I was unfamiliar with,…”

    You cut me real deep there Steve.
    10 years I have been running
    Arguably one of the most visited wine websites on the net.

    “…but I’ve now bookmarked it as a useful site.”.

    Thank you.


  8. Eric, well as Rumsfeld said, there are known unknowns and unknown unknowns! Yours was the latter. Glad to make the acquaintance of your site.

  9. The Ad Age Power 150 is a good example of a ranking that takes multiple variables into account, including PostRank.

    The challenge with Gillespies ranking (based on participating in the source survey) is it was predetermined blogs with write-in’s, and most of the blogs aren’t actually blogs.

    Alawine, while helpful, is based primarily on linking, but Technorati is notoriously bad as a benchmark and linking is only one component — RSS subscribers and traffic being notable for their absence.

  10. You guys illustrate how much Americans love a horse race.

    When rankings include lucid information regarding the nature and credibility of content maybe then they will be meaningful.

    And I’ve known about Eric Orange’s efforts since the year 2000. He’s come a long and successful way, credibly.

  11. Steve Tanzer has no blog.

    A blog (Robinson) that is available by subscription only is column.

    The Wine Blogger Awards are probably more accurate than the polls cited, but it is always behind the curve and is a bit of a popularity contest for the bloggers themselves.

    I am with Tom P. on this. This is all about horse races and using them to self-promote a rating service that may or may not be worth the price paid for it.

    But it makes fun reading. Pretty soon someone will publish a poll of the polls the way it gets done for presidential elections and, of course, horse races where it is called “consensus”.

    Until then, I have my own poll it starts with the pros like Heimoff, Asimov, Coleman and Wark and then extends to the enthusiastic amateurs in the process of becoming professional like Yarrow, WineDude and Good Grape Jeff, and finally reaches the folks who are not trying to make a buck on blogging but have really unique voices I enjoy include The Hosemaster, Reign of Terroir and Samantha Sans Dosage.

    I also have favorite posters like Leslie Morton, Tom P. and JDinNapa whose writings are thoughtful and insightful and add to my learning and understanding.

    And I wish WineSkewer were published more often, but I suspect Tish it very busy with Palate Press these days.

  12. Just remember – the higher the monkey climbs, the more we can see of his butt!


  13. Dude, as usual you weigh in with trenchant wisdom!

  14. Charlie, I think you mean Morton Leslie, whoever he is. A play on two brands of salt? We know it’s not his real name. But as you say he is a treasure.

  15. What’s a “wine blogger?” Some people write about wine, some people review wine, some people write about the industry. Some people write, some people have video. And we don’t even know who got asked (please, at least whether or not they are in “the biz”).

    Sorry, a ranking like this is just link bait, which many people have happily taken. Somebody at The Examiner is smart about using social media to promote readership.

    So, let’s agree on what we’re trying to rank before we rank it.

    Otherwise, the results is just, well, rank.

  16. Puff Daddy, ahem Mr. Charlie Olken Sir, you humble me once again, honored to be in such good company and that you read my silly bullshit….really. I’ve never thought to look at those polls mostly because I’m not sure my blog is even really a wine blog, maybe more Buzzy Lifestyle blog or something, (shrugging) whatever I don’t need a ranking to tell me that I have some wicked cool readers; you, The HoseMaster of Wine, John Kelly, Thomas P, Benito…bunch of really cool, fiercely smart cats. Much like wine, blogs are so subjective, just can’t see how a number or value can be placed on them. If I touch you, awesome if I skeeve you out sorry about that and if you find my style irrelevant there are 999 others out there for you to choose from…se just like wine.

  17. Correct, Charlie. Been busy with, but I do plan to get back in the Skewer saddle very soon. Which raises another interesting doorway of blogometric intrigue. According to yet another Web tracking site, which takes into account not just views but also “action” (for lack of a technical term), PP is already up at #6, just behing the estimable Steve Heimoff.

    I offer this not so much as a self-plug as a group shrug. I do not undersand the metrics, but it does appear that the Web is turning out to be more easily analyzed statistically than “ciriculation,” which in the Age of Print was, at many titles, much more a matter of chest-thumping declaration than actual eyeballs and influence.

  18. Nicely done Steve! Short and sweet. 🙂

  19. Dear Ms. Charles–

    Just because Steve got to ride Rachel Alexander does not make him a jockey. And he ain’t that sweet either. Nice guy, but a bit tetchy at times.

  20. I didn’t realize local wine events had his own blog. Where is it?

  21. Robert: I’m not sure I’d call it a proper blog, though.

  22. yeah, I agree with you Steve. I’m wondering why the Wine Opinions report calls it a blog when it’s not.

    Good job on making the #11 slot on AlaWine.

  23. Forgot to than Charlie for the mention – so, thanks!

  24. What a great Wine BLOG Love Fest!!! Warms the heart doesn’t it? SH, even I am familiar and read EVO’s You should get out more.

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