Thursday, June 14, 2012

Identity Crisis: Wine Bloggers

Identity Crisis: according to psychologist Erik Erikson, is the failure to achieve ego identity during adolescence.

An anniversary is coming my way for this wine blog. I started Through the Walla Walla Grape Vine during the last week in June of 2005. At the time of its conception, all I wanted was my own colorful piece of the world wide web - a forum for my collection of thoughts regarding food and wine, and especially those of my hometown. I even wanted a little spot to practice some HTML code. Honestly? I didn't plan on anybody reading this blog other than myself.

Through the years of owning my own piece of the internet, under the title of a "wine blogger," I have been classified as a poodle, ("Wine blogging is the attention-seeking barking of a lonely poodle.") ironically on a wine blog written by a sommelier who gives tours at a winery. 

I suppose I should feel insulted, but I'm not. However, if I were a poodle I would probably lift a hind leg on the accuser and take a big doggie-dump at his front door while hoping my owner forgot to bring the "Poop-E-Pick-Ups."  My juvenile visual is that of my owner ringing the door bell and running ...

My wine blogging peers and I have been referred to as "wine blobbers" by the original wine blobber of the world, Robert Parker (he's just jealous as originally he had to use a jar of ink, a quill and parchment  to write his wine notes instead of a keyboard). And let's not forget the soon-to-be dictionary description  of a wine blogger by Anthony Dias Blue of the Tasting Panel magazine: "bitter, carping gadflies who, as they stare into their computer screens and contemplate their dreary day jobs, let their resentment and sense of personal failure take shape as vicious attacks on the established critical media."

Oh boo-hoo! It is true, ya know. I was staring into my computer screen contemplating my dreary day job as a legal assistant who was bringing home a fine pay check, benies, twice-yearly bonuses, paid holidays, birthday cakes, lunch hours and weekends off. Now I stare into my computer screen contemplating my fun wine job that is bringing home no pay check, a few free glasses of wine; while dreaming about my former pay check, et al from my former dreary day job.  

I have also been lumped as a moocher looking for free samples of alcohol to fill the shelves of my wine cellar. What wine cellar? You mean those four card board boxes  in my laundry room closet? Oh yes,  I forgot about my fancy yard sale eight-bottle wine cooler I bought for $25. If I could afford a wine cellar I wouldn't need free samples now, would I? Besides, the majority of the wines I blog about I have either purchased or spent money on gas  to take a trek to the winery to taste the actual wine.

Recently there seems to be a rumble that I am not a wine blogger, but a wine writer. There's a campaign to remove the term "blogger."  Yeah, I get it.  Web log (shortened to blog) is a web-based format that consists of entries arranged in a reverse chronological order and often updated frequently with new information. Blogging is adding new material or updating the blog. A blogger is a person who keeps and updates the blog.

So the new thought behind all of this is I should be a wine writer who is updating her web log format. At the same time, the old guard of wine writers, I mean the established critical media,  tell me I am not a wine writer because I haven't walked in their shoes and earned my credentials. No, but for eight years on my feet, and in my own shoes, I have earned some credentials talking to people about wine, all along while dumping their spittle.  

The truth of the matter, blogger vs writer, I only refer to myself as a wine writer when I receive a check from the food and wine lifestyle publishers. Then they can call me a poodle, blobber and a carping gadfly for all I care - just give me the money. 
Now the recent news is that what I enjoy is dead. (Oh great, now they tell me after I just finished several drafts.)

That's right, British wine writer and author, Jamie Goode recently announced last weekend on Facebook and Twitter that “Blogging is dead!”  Of course, he would never post such a startling sentence on his own ... ummm ... wine blog.

Hell, I didn't even get life insurance on my blog, let alone a health care directive giving me permission to resuscitate, and now you tell me that what I enjoy doing in my free time is dead? But my wine blog is only eight-years old, or do we count the age of blogs like we do in dog years - - or  more like in poodle years?

My blog didn't even reach adolescence and it certainly didn't even get a chance to fail at achieving an ego identity. But it appears from all of the chatter around me that we, my peers and I, are having an identity crisis. 

It is my sincere hope that we can get this figured out on who we want to be, dead or alive, by the time of the Wine Bloggers Conference in August at Portland, Oregon. That's right. I said, "Wine Bloggers Conference." I did not say, Wine Writers Conference, Dead Poodle Conference or even Carping Gadfly Conference ... 

Now I have to wonder - - for those who have vehemently insisted  we were no longer "wine bloggers," but wine writers and when it comes time for the Wine Blog Awards, will they want to collect a Wine Blog Award if they are indeed given one? Will they be too embarrassed to accept such an award or perhaps even send Sacheen Littlefeather to accept the award on their behalf?

Eight years ago, I thought I was signing up to be merely a wine blogger - a hobbyist. I didn't know I was also signing up to be a poodle, blobber, carping gadfly, moocher, wine writer, and not-a-wine-writer.

In the mean time, while all of you are trying to figure out what my identity is suppose to be, dead or alive, I will continue to keep on bloggin' ...


Jo Diaz said...

V-e-r-t funny!

Allan Wright said...

Keep on blogging, Catie! You and your 349 friends attending the Wine Bloggers Conference next month.

Catie said...

You got it Allan! In my heart I will always be a blogger first.

Alana said...

I love it Catie, fabulously funny. You win my award for funniest post by a poodle blobber. I think I'll hand out badges at the conference, want one?

winepredator said...

You go, girl --er woman!! Keep on wine'n and writing --er blogging!

Wining Ways said...

I have always considered us writers. Eric Asimov said it last year at the Wine BLOGGERS Conference and I wondered why he needed to make that iteration. Since then I have heard all the slurs and criticisms. Words strung along in sentences good, bad, or indifferent is writing. It's all a matter of where you draw your audience as to what you call it. Blogging is not dead and in fact I find more and more interest from the industry everyday. Why else would so many winemakers send us their press releases and samples if not to get the word out. We are influencers in our own interconnected circles. The WBC is a sell out every year now for a reason. Go forth and write!

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