Folks, if you like wine blogs in general – and certain wine blogs in particular – you still have a little over a day to vote for the finalists of the American Wine Blog Awards, the main recognition offered to wine bloggers for their passionate efforts to present different points of view on their – and your – favorite drink.
I happen to think that, overall, the list of finalists is a pretty solid one, and representative of the best of the wineblogosphere - though by no means exhaustive. There have been discussions, of course, about the value of the AWBAs, and some contestation of their relevance. You’ll find a very good discussion, with some valid critiques, on Another Wine Blog, and even a parody written by… squirrels. That seems like a sign that the AWBA are actually relevant, and hitting home. If they were totally irrelevant, would people bother debating about them so much?
That being said, the AWBA have a great opportunity for growth and added credibility, in my opinion, with the decision that Tom Wark has taken to pass responsibility for them to the Open Wine Consortium. The OWC, which just recently celebrated its first anniversary, has been gaining momentum constantly, with the number of members having grown from zero (obviously) to over 3100, in the space of those busy 12 months.
Winemakers, writers, industry types, PR types and a number of wine-curious are now part of this loose community where you can talk – and argue – about everything from wine tourism to ethics, blog writing, restaurant wine lists or beers, to name but a few themes. This seems like a great group of people who could be asked first to nominate finalists for upcoming presentations of the AWBA, making them more representative of the online wine world as time goes by.
The AWBA can be a great way to increase visibility and credibility for the wine blogging world. Which doesn’t take anything away from the great work done by the hundreds of bloggers that go unnominated in the process. Validation should come, first and foremost, from the feeling of a job well done.