Under the Influence?? The 25 Most Influential Wine Bloggers going to Walla Walla #WBC10

23 06 2010

Around Extanz, we follow the wine blogging community with enthusiasm; both as amateur connoisseurs and with an interest in how wineries themselves are utilizing blogging and social media to build their brands. These blogs are alight with chatter about the upcoming Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, Washington this weekend and we expect wineries to be paying attention to the blogging advice and social media guidance that comes out of this weekend’s many sessions and panels. Are you going to the Wine Bloggers Conference? Think you know who the most influential bloggers in attendance are? Our results may surprise you.

In Walla Walla, experts will be discussing how to increase the quality, visibility and influence of your wine blog, whether you’re someone with strong opinions on wine quality or you’re a winery looking to increase your brand awareness and customer base. There are a couple of basics for wineries to keep in mind that we imagine (or hope) you’ll hear over and over this weekend that will make your blog worth reading, a blog that people return to week after week, and a blog that other influencers take note of.

  1. Write for your audience. This may seem simple, but have you really looked at who your target audience is and considered what they would find useful, informative & entertaining?
  2. Focus outward. Simply writing about you or your business or your product does not good content make.
  3. Network and link it up. Get your blog out there, in front of the influencers and people to whom it would be interesting. This is where the use of social media can come in very handy.

So how do the conference experts that will be giving you insider knowledge to accomplish the above must-dos rank in the social media sphere? Let’s find out …

At Extanz we study influence, so we studied how the bloggers present in Walla Walla this year rank among each other in terms of influence (measured by in-links). We removed blogs that qualified as online magazines with multiple writers (Palate Press, Wine Business, Washington State Beer and Wine, and Mutineer Magazine) from the list so as to only rank independent bloggers. We also looked at their presence on Facebook and Twitter – not to gauge influence, but to get an idea of what social media tools influencers are finding useful. As we saw in the cycling community, Twitter is the social network of choice for wine bloggers as well.

Are the big names at the conference the top influencers of the wine blog community? Here are the Top 25 bloggers (of the 180 in attendance):

Blog Facebook ‘Likes’ (fans)/Friends Twitter Followers Twitter Following
1 1WineDude 1055 friends 4,139 2,893
2 Good Grape: A Wine Blog Manifesto 521 friends 2,697 2,943
3 Through The Walla Walla Grape Vine 125 members 1,533 1,386
4 Drink Nectar 2450 fans 2,673 2,665
5 Dirty South Wine 344 fans 3,841 3,455
6 Luscious Lushes 248 fans 3,200 3,405
7 Another Wine Blog 441 fans 1,615 1,538
8 Steve Heimoff | Wine Blog 1040 fans 663 160
9 Wine Peeps: A Wine Blog 2129 fans 1,989 1,698
10 Suburban Wino 323 fans 1,387 1,356
11 Cellarmistress’ Cellar Talk ? 1,929 1,598
12 Wine Tonite! 369 fans 2,667 2,298
13 Washington Wine Report 344 fans 1,373 1,219
14 Wine Biz Radio 1203 fans 6,088 2,051
15 BrixChicks ? 968 847
16 Vinotology Wine Blog 334 friends 1,711 1,543
17 PaulG’s Blog – Unfined & Unfiltered ? 468 282
18 RJ’s Wine Blog 351 friends 2,412 1,695
19 The Passionate Foodie 1071 friends 2,108 2,180
20 The Wine Whore 3409 friends 12,051 13,086
21 Notes From The Cellar 250 fans 806 245
22 Beyond the Bottle l Oregon Washington Wine Blog ? 535 376
23 Bricks of Wine 513 friends 1,792 936
24 The Wine Case ? 2,054 1,549
25 Seattle Wine Gal 4966 friends 7,302 6,622

Here are some questions for you:

  • What do you think of the results?
  • Which wine blogger(s) would you like to have been present at Walla Walla?
  • Regardless of ranking, who are you most looking forward to meeting or learning from this weekend?

With thanks to Chris g Collison, yashima, and Rob Winton for the images.


SEE the follow up blog: https://extanz.com/2010/07/13/sparkling-feedback-on-wbc10-blog-influence-rank-the-sequel


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28 responses

23 06 2010

2 things, One you’re using a photo from the European Wine Bloggers conference, which is interesting as you only list American Wine Bloggers attending the NAWBC. Both of the conferences(EWBC and NAWBC) are based on region on people, IE: NAWBC is a conference for wine bloggers that takes place in the USA, and the same goes for the European WBC – Both are named for the region not the participants.

If you can take a look at all the wine bloggers coming to the NABWC, and you might be surprised by the other blogs that show up with big numbers in Twitter and Facebook! 🙂

Finally I would have to say in today’s media, numbers of followers mean less when it comes to influence. Those that influence often are influencing the “content creators” and have very few followers. Thus this type of metric is only rewarding the blogs who have a loud voice on twitter, FB etal…

Will you be in Walla Walla?

23 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

Hi Ryan – You caught me on the photo (although it is acknowledged that it’s the EWBC) – I had a hard time pulling a NAWBC pic and since the conferences are cousins, I think it works. You’re right, there are definitely some great things going on on the social media networks of the bloggers heading to the NABWC.

To make sure we’re clear, our rankings are solely based on the strength of the blogs (measured by in-links between the blogs in the community), not followers or fans. We simply included these numbers as an illustration of how the influential bloggers are using various social networks. We agree – content is kind (or queen)!

We’re on the waiting list for Walla Walla – registered a bit late, but still hoping to make it! What are your preferred wine conferences?

23 06 2010
Craig Justice

Guess we should change our name to “The Wine Gigilo” to make it to the top 25. Who wants to read about a guy who can’t even tie a slip knot try to plant a vineyard and grow grapes (especially with his clothes on, how boring is that?) ? Who gives a hoot about a dog who thinks he’s better than Lassie? Is that conference this weekend? (Well, I’ve got to spray the vineyard this weekend then head to Denver for an education conference — you know, my daytime job. Should remember to bring a bottle of Petit-Verdot to our Colorado adoring fans — all 7 of them.) Cheers!

24 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

Thanks for stopping by Craig! Wine Gigilo might just work! 🙂 Sounds like pretty interesting read to me. It was interesting to observe the lower influence of winery bloggers attending the conference and peaked my interest in their overall influence (outside this NAWBC) and their influence within the winery blogging community – – the next blog topic perhaps??

Let’s do a Petit-Verdot bottle exchange in the airport on Tuesday :). Say hi to Bluey!

23 06 2010
Steve Paulo

Wow. Honored, though it probably isn’t deserved.

24 06 2010

Ryan – man, you even sound angry in comments! 😉

Katie – I’m flattered but clearly your algorithm is out of rhythm if you’ve got me list at the #1 slot.

Steve – Totally undeserved. Just kidding… you’re a big guy and I’m afraid of you… please don’t hit me!


24 06 2010


24 06 2010
Yann Ropars

Hi Joe, congrat and thank you for the feedback. Computing this is quite intensive and it looks like this shows that’ve done a fantastic job in the last 6-12 months. I would love if you could share some of your thoughts on your practice with us and others. The community points to you we only study it. Look forward to your tips.

24 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

Hi Joe – As Yann mentioned, our algorithm measures linking/referrals within the community which creates an interesting ranking of influence that may surprise people because it reveals who the community is really linking up to and following versus who the community is perceived to be following. Congrats! Enjoy the conference! What panel do you expect to be particularly enlightening?

24 06 2010
Vineyard Vlog » Blog Archive » Zeitgesist & T.G.B. – 4 days to #WBC10

[…] and inspiration for our panel attendees?   Well,  I have seen a few posts and this post (about who is “big” or more influential at WBC10 and what does that mean to you as an attendee) got my wheels spinning with no firm conclusion.  I […]

24 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

It’s a great question – what does influence mean to attendees?? Does someone who has name recognition or someone who the community follows and links have different perspectives on growing the influence of your blog? Anyone have any thoughts on this?

24 06 2010
Rick bakas

Hi. My name is Rick.
Allow me to introduce myself.

I’m a wine blogger attending WBC.
I have a wine blog all about the perfect wine food pairing.

See you all there!

24 06 2010

I am curious as to what was your cut off for number of authors on a blog. We were excluded but other blogs with more than one author were included like Wine Peeps and BrixChix. For the unfortunate souls that stumble across our blog, they have a 75% chance of being subjected to one of my ramblings but we do pride ourselves on letting our different palates highlight different Washington beers and wine.
Just curious, I find the different rankings and metrics fascinating.

24 06 2010

PS my list of want-to-drink and want-to-meet are too long to type out here! 🙂

24 06 2010
Thomson Vineyards

UPGRADE: Craig Justice. There’s a labor shortage in Napa at the moment due to immigration chaos and the politicos. Maybe you bloggers should come try your hand at the labor that goes into the ONLY ingredient listed on the back label. For more on that http://wp.me/pJhAS-cY

24 06 2010
Katie Van Sant

Hi there – I think Craig gets to rank among you – he has a beautiful vineyard outside San Diego that he built from the ground up on his own (winemakersjournal.blogspot.com).

Some food for thought: if the wine bloggers are praising a wine, are they not inherently praising the labor and care that went into the making of the wine? What do you think? Or is it important to blog about the entire process?

25 06 2010
Thomson Vineyards

Hi Katie – I’m not sure what Craig “gets to rank among you” means, but we’ve built our ranch from the ground up since 1938 in Napa and are still there. We planted some of the first Pinot and Chardonnay in Carneros before names like, well I’ll leave them out of this.

If the US wine industry wants to compete in the global wine industry I highly suggest the influencers READ: critics, bloggers, media, industry leadership start talking about the ENTIRE process. Consumers want to connect with the entire process and the wineries who start yanking their marketing departments out of their offices and into the vineyard may just be able to turn that into measurable ROI in terms of volume sold, customers served and the repeats who keep coming back for more and more, who eventually turn into evangelicals and tell all 9,000 friends in their social network about the farmer who grew the grapes and talked to them about the difference between Dijon clone based Chardonnay and fighting off birds with his shotgun to save the Pinot.

**Full disclosure, we fight off birds at Thomson Vineyards, but only humanely!**

IMHO some bloggers are beginning to examine pieces of the the process, but on the whole they are real busy examining what it smells like, taste likes, and the kind of barrel the rockstar winemaker chose to use and his work with the good wood campaign. Oh yeah, and the oysters they’re eating while gallivanting around to wine events across the west coast. It’s food and liquid (wine) focused not agriculture, heritage, craft, science and skill focused. I argue that it can get a bit more diverse than what it currently is. That’s all.

Cheers from Carneros!

28 06 2010
Yann Ropars

Carneros, I really like your input here. Yes, I believe too that consumers want to know about the entire process and it’s the tasks of the wineries to educate them along with the industry. Like for other industries, presented with a choice, educated consumer will move the industry toward the right thing. There are many stories that would never seem to interesting which needs to be told other than around the tasting room. Stories travel better than brochures, they have a long tail (the internet one)….

25 06 2010
Craig Justice

Hey Carneros, we’re fighting off the Blue Jays and other grape predators with Humming Birds, whose dive bombing is as effective as shotguns! Last year, I felt like the “Vogelfinder” (you know, the “bird catcher” Papegeno) from the Opera the Magic Flute, checking the nets each morning for live birds (with Bluey the Aussie), catching, and releasing. Katie, I am unworthy, I am unworthy, I am unworthy. Gosh, so much to write about these days, the morning fog, the spraying, the vines that I just killed by overdosing them with organic JMS Stylet Oil, but so little time, so little time, so little time.

9 07 2010
Rick Bakas

OK, I’m just going to say it. I’m from Colorado and have met Yann in Boulder at BDNT and other tech events in person.
The Colorado community helped me grow from Wine and Food blogger in Boulder to my current role. According the Palate Press, my wine+food blog ranks in the top 10% of wine blogs in terms of traffic (of their ad network sites).

Not sure how I, along with various other influencers didn’t make this list. Seems inaccurate.

12 07 2010
Yann Ropars

Hi Rick, I very much respect your work and indeed met you several times during your Boulder life 🙂 (even took photos of your bacon presentation at Ignite which was hilarious http://www.flickr.com/photos/frenchista/3683097519/in/set-72157620886718422/). I think that you’re a perfect example of what social media has made possible in our world aka. ‘become who we are’ by allowing our different self to become a whole as we have opened all the facets of our lives.

Now onto the data. I can’t speak for the Palate Press data as I haven’t seen it and here are some thoughts. If it’s an ad network it’ll notice traffic by serving ads for people who actually participate in that network and therefore the data exclude those who don’t participate. An example is Steve Heimoff blog http://www.steveheimoff.com/, he has no ads on his blog and wouldn’t be recognized by the Palate Press data set (right?). I believe the industry would recognize him as very influential.

When we did this study with #wbc10, we actually used the list provided by WBC website. The blog pulled was the one submitted by the registrant blogger (You may have submitted St Exupery I believe per their list) so your personal blog wouldn’t not have appeared in our list. On another note, Personal vs Company digital footprint is also a very interesting topic and how manage those two together. This was at the heart of the debate when someone like Jeremiah Owyang left Forrester Research last year.

Influence is a very hot topic these days and depending on how you look at it people may differ. Our current philosophy here at Extanz is that we consider who is blogging in specific vertical or group and measure in-links. If someone refer to your blog on their own blog, it means they paid attention to what you said and therefore influenced them. It’s our way of looking at influence. For example, Twitter alone wouldn’t be a good measure of influence by itself in my opinion hence all the debate about Klout.

Let us know your thoughts and I hope this helped – I’d love to interview you on how you transitioned and manage the personal vs company brand topic. Would you be open to this?

13 07 2010
Yann Ropars

Hi Rick, see the sequel blog – look forward to your feedback. Thanks https://extanz.com/2010/07/13/sparkling-feedback-on-wbc10-blog-influence-rank-the-sequel/

10 07 2010
Craig Justice

Hey Rick, we LOVE Colorado wines (at least the two I’ve tasted). One was a Merlot. The other a Petit-Verdot. The amazing thing about the Colorado Petit-Verdot is that the fruit tasted 100% like the fruit from our San Diego grown Petit-Verdot (which is very, very, floral). I look forward to reading your blog and learning more about the exciting things happening in Colorado wine. Cheers!

12 07 2010

Chiming in again because I am STILL curious about the answer to my question about “qualified as online magazines”.
You know what they say about curiosity!

13 07 2010
Yann Ropars

Hi Bean, thanks for keeping to challenge our thoughts. It’s a gray area and hopefully this new blog will address your thoughts. Look forward to more conversations here: https://extanz.com/2010/07/13/sparkling-feedback-on-wbc10-blog-influence-rank-the-sequel/

29 09 2010
Wineries & Social Media Part 1: David moves faster than Goliath … again. « Extanz – PR 2.0 and Inbound Marketing

[…] networks became a powerful tool for reaching a brand’s community (we recently looked at the most influential wine bloggers attending the Wala Wala Conference). For this blog however, I set out to compare how large wineries […]

5 01 2011
William Allen - Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog

hmmm Simple Hedonisms didn’t make the list. Was less than a year old then, but still had larger FB and Twitter stats than half of above. (Today its at 2100 FB, 2700 Twitter, 5k blog readers)

how did you find/gather people?

6 01 2011
Yann Ropars

Hi William,
We’ll certainly update the list for this year. Number of links pointing from other bloggers is more important than the site age though (both could be correlated though). We worked from the published list by the event organizer on their website.
Thank you,

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