The past weekend, shortly after my favorite college football team suffered another beatdown by its main rival, I started poking around a bit on the inter webs. It was difficult. Between avoiding all mentions of the game, the current state of American politics, and Elon Musk, it really was a chore to be distracted (sorry, the World Cup just doesn’t do it for me, and neither does Taylor Swift, for that matter).
In the end, I decided to check out some other wine blogs which should be a daily occurrence for me, but sadly it is not (I will touch on why a bit more below). On one such site, I came across this:
That certainly piqued my curiosity. A few years ago, there were many such “rankings” of wine blogs/websites (and other content areas, I assume) and they all seemed to share the following: they were usually rather shoddily done, the metrics used to determine the rankings were never provided, and the website would usually solicit the “winners” for some sort of subscription or paid advertisement.
Other than a few of the obvious contenders that resided at or near the top, there was not much consistency across the various rankings; I would be in the top 50 of one, and nowhere to be found in the top 200 of another.
So, other than the novelty of any given ranking, I stopped paying much attention to them. For whatever reason, however, I happened across the above on the day after the rankings came out and I decided to give it a quick perusal.
The list was compiled by Feedspot, about which I know very little other than I know they had compiled such a list at least once before and I believe they tried to hit me up for some money (I think I was somewhere in the 50s on that list? I really have no idea).
I decided to start at the bottom of this list (one of my problems with this list? It is called “The Top 200 Wine Blogs” but there are 215) and started scrolling up. To my surprise, there were several heavy hitters in the 100-215 range, some that I would consider among the best and most influential blogs and websites out there (although I am not sure how I would define “influential”).
As I dug a bit further, I discovered that many of these “stalwarts” had either not published in some time or had moved their site behind a pay-to-view firewall. Sigh. I immediately felt a rather profound sadness knowing that some of the people I had really admired had moved on or moved out of the wine-o-sphere.
As I reached #100 and still not seeing this humble blog, I contemplated moving on and finding that video that my sons have been telling me was sooooo hilarious.
But I kept scrolling up.
I found a few more friends in the 50-100 range, but they seemed to be still active with their writing (it then dawned on me that at least one of the criteria was posting frequency, but, of course, there was no way to tell how important it was), which brightened my spirits considerably, knowing that there are still at least a few that I admire still publishing.
But still no me on the list.
As I got to #25, I had come to the realization that I would not find thedrunkencyclist.com listed among this person/group’s idea of the top 200 (but really 215) wine blogs. And I understood that. Over the past 6-12 months, I am not particularly proud of what I have put forth in this space. If I were to remove my tasting notes (and the posts about my sons), there really would not be much to consider.
The most maddening part about that last paragraph is that I do not like writing tasting notes at all. To me, nobody really cares if said Pinot Noir smells more like Bing cherry than black cherry, I mean really. There are some writers out there that take the whole tasting note well beyond what the vast majority of wine drinkers care about–they don’t care if it has aromas of quince or elderberry, they want to know if it’s good and how much it costs. And that is why I have not been reading much other wine writing these days, it is just painful.
But more about that in a future post.
For the sake of closure, I decided to keep scrolling up to see who made it in the top 25.
I knew most of the names and sites at this point and then, low and behold, there I was at #17. A bit shocked, a bit flattered, but also a bit pissed off. My blog has been close to a steaming pile of you know what lately. Sure, I have penned a witty line here and there, but for the most part, I have been struggling to publish anything other than a seemingly endless string of tasting notes.
At best, this list showed that I am in the top 200 because I post regularly. Apparently, this rating did not take into account the quality of those posts, because, well, come on. At worst? Even the casual observer would say that me at #17 is fraudulent. I have decent social media numbers (the only thing I dislike more than writing tasting notes is engaging on social media), post at least a couple times a week, and I have been around for over a decade now.
But what, if anything at all, do I contribute to the daily discourse or to the betterment of wine, writing, blogging, or the human existence?
But that is going to change, starting (hopefully) with this post. I know that the time for resolutions is another month away, but I vow to give you something more interesting, more thought-provoking, or even just a little funnier to read than I have these last far too many months.
To that end…
As I mentioned above, these ratings are ridiculous. Completely. Case in point: this Top 200 has at least one site on the list twice: Tiny Vineyards (never heard of it) is both #110 and also #9 (huh?!?). Would love to hear the methodology on how that came to be. #DoBetter