It’s that time of year again. Nominations are open for the Wine Blog Awards, or, as I call them, the POODLES. If you lean in and listen closely, shhhhh, there’s one now, you can hear the bloggers surreptitiously nominating themselves. The categories include Best Overall Wine Blog, Best Writing on a Wine Blog, Best New Wine Blog, Best Industry Blog—or, as they’re collectively known in Track and Field, the Low Hurdles.
No one knows how many wine blogs there are. But all you have to do is see one, and you just know there will be thousands more. Like cockroaches. Or butt pimples. The wine blogosphere is a lot like a karaoke contest. Most of the people doing it don’t really have much of a voice. And they all tend to pretty much sing the same damned songs over and over.
Unlike most awards, the POODLES judges remain anonymous. Oh, but you know they’re qualified. How do you know? Each judge received at least 96 points from the organizers. There, that’s proof positive. Why are the judges’ names kept secret? Simple. Much easier to nominate their friends that way. Or win awards themselves. Wait, that seems way too cynical. No, the judges are anonymous in order to protect those judges from lobbying or pressure from nominees. And that’s understandable. We all know Poodles are so damned articulate and persuasive—look at how much wine they sell. And, besides, judges are usually kept anonymous in every great democracy. Say, North Korea. One can really only trust the decisions of anonymous judges. Ask Justice Clarence Thomas.
There is about it all the feeling of the elementary school playground. “Pick Me, Pick Me!,” mixed with the sincerity of Sally Fields, “You like me, you really like me.” A lot of bloggers, in a wondrous blaze of shamelessness, will ask their readers to nominate them. I wonder if this happens for the Nobels. “Yes, it’s time once again for the Nobel Prize in Literature. I’ve worked hard all year, written a brilliant, self-published novel, and, well, Phillip Roth is never going to win, so why not nominate me?” Now in its sixth year, the Wine Blog Awards have become something I only barely recognize—a joke. Or maybe a Wark in Progress. It boils down to awards for typing. And typing often.
I was going to start my own POODLE awards. I know that an award from the HoseMaster would be far more meaningful than one from some imaginary and self-appointed Wine Blog Awards website. (Hey, this post is about vanity, I’m entitled to my Cher.) I was going to start my own wine blog awards because the current categories for a POODLE are useless, and don’t reflect the reality of the wine blogosphere.
May I suggest a few categories that might be far more appropriate? Oh, you know I will. And I’m actively seeking nominations.
BEST NATURAL WINE BLOG
No, this isn’t for a blog about natural wines. The winner of this category is a blog that doesn’t add anything at all to the wine world. It is a blog as nature intended. Natural blogs do not contain anything from outside the blog that artificially enhance it, such as pirated photos, lame ads for the California Wine Club, or anything cultured, like yeast or literary references. A blog is either an unnatural wine blog or a natural wine blog, but natural blogs are clearly superior. There are countless natural wine blogs that add nothing to the conversation, and this is an award to recognize their facileness. (Many have their own FacileBook page.)
BEST BLOG I’D PAY TO READ
There was a time when one of the most common topics on wine blogs was how to “monetize” your blog. That topic has vanished. Primarily because wine blogs are like the junk people take to “Antiques Roadshow” and the expert says, “What you have here is an item that should be strapped to a suicide bomber.” So, this award asks, is there a wine blog you would actually pay to read? I think we all know the answer.
As an aside, I personally love the blogs, like W. Blinky Gray’s, that ask for a donation through Paypal. There’s a guy outside my local Safeway with a sign written on cardboard that says, “Any Spare Change Apreciated.” I give him money because I think he’s more interesting to read.
FEWEST COMMENTS ON A WINE BLOG
It seems all wine bloggers try desperately to have zero comments on their posts, at least judging by how interesting those posts are. This award celebrates the wine blog that manages month after month to have the fewest comments, with none being the perfect score. This promises to be a hotly contested category.
BEST TROLLING WINE BLOGGER
We all know this clown, the one who haunts the “successful” blogs posting comments relentlessly in order to troll for hits on his/her own useless, ego-driven blog. I think it’s time we honor those tireless and shameless advocates for themselves. Devoid of original thoughts themselves, they want to sidle up next to those who have something to say and nod their virtual heads in agreement while pretending they’re part of the same intellectual team.
Ultimately, it is they who epitomize the finest in Poodledom.
And for my previously published explanation of most of the categories for a Wine Blog Award, follow this LINK.