A few years ago I attend a bloggers conference in Walla Walla Washington. One of the seminars was lead by Lettie Teague, James Conway, and I forget who the third person was.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, the most asked question was: how do I monetize my website? I looked around the room and at my table mates and most everyone was in their late 20s and early 30s.
So I decided to ask the people around me who have been to Burgundy no hands came up. I then asked who has been to Spain, again no hands came. I decided to make it easy and I asked who has toured through Walla Walla, I think one or two hands came up.
So I said something to the effect of, how the %^$$ am I supposed to trust any of you when essentially none of you have traveled to the place you are writing about?
I went on to say, you think that by sitting on your ass and people sending you samples, of mostly mediocre wine (the good ones have no trouble selling) people will believe you?
Yes, you may give a generous score of 92 points on a wine to build your hits etc, but when people taste it and find out it's nowhere near that score you will lose credibility.
I pointed out that Allen Meadows from Burghound, who for decades has loved Burgundy, purchases the wine on his own dime and share the wines with friends. He eventually retired and his friends suggested he start a publication. I know his story as 8 years ago I brought Alan to Vancouver for a series of dinners and tastings.
Today Allen Meadows is an internationally recognized authority on Burgundy. He speaks around the world, and Burghound, his printed and online magazine, has thousands of subscribers. He and his friend, Douglas Bazely, have just published their book describing every Burgundy; vintages from 1973, more than 30 years of overnight successes. Please note at the time of the Bloggers conference Allen and Douglas had not published their book.
I then break it down in simple terms, every single major league sports player had to earn and learn their skills until they were good enough to play in the big leagues. It seems that today, no wants to pay their dues anymore.
Finally, I described Genchi Genbutsu to them, a Japanese term from Toyota’s management system. Essentially it means go and see for yourself, or put on the work boots and head to the factory floor. If you really want to learn about wine, go buy a plane ticket. I will continue to travel.