20061120

200 up: California cost, Chinese interest, and the growing value of the wine blogosphere

This is my 200th post and I've decided to let someone else do the writing. Sort of.

Check out these stimulating posts from the last few days:

I have to say that sometimes I wonder whether wine bloggers get their due. These people are doing what they know and love, and offering it free of charge to enquiring minds. And enquiring minds are getting great answers from them, not just reading through rehashes of dinner parties or stumbling through obscure journal entries, which is all that some people think wine blogs are good for.

Wineblogs are so much more than that. And I'm saying this as a wineblog reader, rather than a wineblog writer. After receiving last month's WBW prize, which I won using wine bloggers' notes to determine the origin of 15 different wines, I realized first-hand the quality of wine blogging that's out there. Under the auspices of "Where's Wino?" organizer Basic Juice, WBW participants played a game of blind faith. The idea was to label the origin of wines based on nothing more than bloggers' tasting notes for them. It turned out that nothing more than their notes was more than enough.

Had bloggers' descriptions been inaccurate or imprecise, the results could've been distrastrous -- like a game of broken telephone gone awry. But the fact is wine bloggers demonstrated their worth. They offered reliable and trustworthy notes that helped me and first runner-up Brooklynguy surmise the origin of the vast majority of these wines. That kind of descriptive ability is a valuable service, and that's on top of the great reporting (like the above) that many of these blogs provide.

If you can rely on a blogger's tasting notes to hazard a guess on where a wine is coming from, surely you can rely on those same notes to figure out whether you're likely to enjoy that wine, or whether that wine is going to suit the elaborate dinner you're preparing. And if that isn't reason enough for wine lovers to cuddle up in the blogosphere, I don't know what is.

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