One year ago we decided that we wanted to start a blog about life in Napa Valley wine country and our experiences visiting the restaurants and wineries here. Almost immediately we felt that Napa Valley was too narrow a focus as our travels took us to other California wine region and wineries in other states. Before the blog was 6 months old, we found ourselves in Europe writing about our adventures with food and wine across four countries. A year later, we can say that our blog is still focused on sharing our food and wine experiences, but we no longer feel compelled to limit ourselves to any particular region.
When we started we had no plan for, well, anything – frequency of posts, mix of content (food vs. wine vs. travel), length of blog. To the question “how do I become a writer” there is an old joke response: “You write.” That’s how we started this blog: we wrote. Our first post was about a visit to a wine pick-up party where they served a whole roasted pig to accompany the wines being poured. That first blog can be accessed here: A Bovine and Wine Saturday at HdV. As soon as we published the article as better title came to mind “A Wine and Swine Saturday,” but we were too lazy to change it. Faithful readers will know that as often as possible we title our blog posts with some sort of play on words that we hope qualifies as “clever.” More often that not, though, the titles are more corny than clever.
After the first post we managed to write another 57 over the following year – almost 5 a month. This might sound disciplined but the truth is our blog posts have had peaks and valleys rather than coming out in a steady stream. Each of our first three months we managed 3 posts. In August, we were very active visiting restaurants and wineries and we managed to publish 6 posts. Then came October, our most prolific month, where we published 12 separate posts about our California, Oregon and Europe trips. The past few months the “day job” and other personal projects have brought our monthly volumes back down a bit. Our goal as we head into Year 2 of our blogging adventure is to be a little bit more consistent – at least a blog post a week.
Looking back on the past year there are some facts and figures that blew us away:
- We went from 0 followers to just over 8,000 at current count. Writing a blog should be a labor of love because there is no guarantee, when you push “publish,” that anyone will see it, read it, or care about it. The first follower was a delightful surprise as have been the ones that came after.
- Our blog has been read in 95 countries according to our analytics reporting. Our first follow, in fact, came from Australia from some fellow wine bloggers that we consider to be among the best in the world. As a thanks we will provide a link to their blog: The Wine Wankers. Of course we could not have expected or even dreamed of such a wide reach. We have friends, family and colleagues in probably 20% of these countries; the others we have been able to reach using social media, in our case primarily Twitter. We would like to give a shout-out to all of our international followers and a special recognition for the one visitor in each of the following countries that has read our blog: Tanzania, Mauritius, Fiji, Djibouti and Antigua & Barbuda. Hey, tell a friend about us, maybe we can get multiple readers in your country.
- A large majority of our views come from the United States, not surprisingly given where we live, the language in which we we write, and how we distribute our blog. Our second-largest viewership comes from the United Kingdom, followed by Croatia, Canada, Spain, Australia, France, Italy, Germany and India. As we look down the list we realize how popular wine has become across the globe; even in countries where it may violate local laws and/or customs to purchase or consume wine we have followers.
- Wine is being produced almost everywhere. As we have pushed our blog across our WordPress platform, Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, we have met wine makers in so many places. It was a definite learning for us, for example, that all 50 of the United States produce wine. In addition, our eyes have been opened to the excellent wines being made in parts of the world where grape growing is not a traditional form of agriculture.
As we buckle down to Year 2 we promise to sacrifice ourselves for our readers by visiting as many fine restaurants and wineries as we can and tasting wines from all over the glob. Keep sending us your comments and questions and hitting that “like” button when you appreciate what we have done. We hope to avoid a sophomore slump and will do our best to come up with witty/silly/clever/corny headlines and interesting content.
John & Irene Ingersoll
May 6, 2017