Don’t censor the winemaker’s blog!
Most of the chatter about wine blogging has been from the point of view of the amateur wine blogger: how can he or she monetize the blog? Who’s writing the best blog? Who’s on what panels, who’s got the latest book deal, who’s got the most visits, who’s the new kid on the street, who’s the coming star?
All good questions, but we sometimes forget that there’s another source of blogs out there: winemakers. Their blogs may not be as widely read as the amateur wine blogs, but an argument can be made that they’re more educational. Because, after all, what do most wine bloggers know about wine, except (a) they drank something last night and (b) they’re going to tell you about it. But winemakers live and breathe wine. They have great stories to tell.
I’ve urged winemakers for years to blog. Usually their reply is “I don’t have the time” or “What would I say?” Both of those concerns are baseless. Blogging takes very little time — you can put up a post in 10 minutes. As for what to say, if you’re a winemaker, all you have to do is describe what you did yesterday or this morning. “Woke up before dawn to the sound of the frost alarm going off.” “Had a little earthquake that popped a few bungs in the cellar.” There’s always something interesting going on in a winemaker’s life.
Now, the wine world welcomes a new winemaker’s blog. It’s called “Making Dom Perignon” and it’s the personal blog of Dom’s chef de cave, Richard Geoffroy.
The blog was just born, in late January; so far, Geoffroy has written 3 posts. It’s unusual for a highly-placed winemaker to write a blog, especially in Europe, so Geoffroy is to be congratulated for taking this step.
The blog shows promise. Geoffroy obviously is smart and a good writer. I would offer a few suggestions to make the blog better. For one, the posts are not particularly long, and there is an atmosphere of marketing around them, as though Dom Perignon’s P.R. people went through Geoffroy’s originals with a red marker, deleting here, adding there. Then, if you click on the “read more” section to learn more about Geoffroy, you come to an “About the comments” section written by someone called “The moderator” who, it would seem, is someone other than Geoffroy. Who is “The moderator”? Why is Geoffroy letting someone else into his blog? The moderator writes: “Please be assured that Richard Geoffroy will read [all submitted comments], even though it will obviously not be possible for him to react to all of them.” Why not? I don’t react to all comments on my blog, but it’s certainly possible for me to do so. As soon as you tell readers upfront that it’s not possible to reply to all comments, you’re telling them, in effect, “I don’t really care all that much what you say, so don’t bother to write in.” And believe me, under such circumstances, they won’t. Besides, when I read the blog (this morning), there was exactly one comment up. Is that too many for Geoffroy to reply to?
Still, it’s a good thing that Geoffroy is writing his blog. I hope he gets into more detail about Dom Perignon and sparkling wine in general. Tell us, Richard, more about your job, your travels, the great meals you have, the people you meet, the places you go. We want to hear all the behind-the-scenes stuff. Your blog can be a real hit, if you don’t allow the marketing and P.R. people to censor you. They’ll try to, you know. That’s what marketing and P.R. people do: control messages. (It’s not a bad thing, it just is.) A blog, on the other hand, is pure spontaneity. It’s a peek into the blogger’s id, without the restraining filter of the superego. The best blogs feel pure and untrammeled, not like they’re the product of a carefully-calculated message.