Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Looking Back and Looking Forward, 2022 Edition

January 5, 2022 2 comments

Ahh, the self-reflection time.

The bad, the good, the ugly.

New Year resolutions.

Yada Yada Yada.

Okay, I know. Not the most enlightening post if I ever even write anything in that category. But hey, it is my blog. I write for myself, first and foremost. So as I get to set the rules here, I like to take a look back at the year which passed and get a little pleasure of re-living some of the best moments of otherwise not the brightest year.

New Experiences:

More often than not, I like to call myself a “collector of experiences” – I love those non-material things which you can add to your personal “been there, tried that” collection. While in absolute numbers these “achievements” sound dismal, under circumstances they are perfectly sufficient in my book.

Visiting new wine region

I visited Oregon on a number of occasions, and wrote about Oregon wines in this blog many times  – but it was only 2021 when I set foot in the vineyard in Oregon, thanks to the Wine Media Conference 2021 held in Eugene, Oregon. Not only I visited a number of wineries in Oregon, but I also saw veraison for the first time, and tasted lots and lots of delicious wines, as reflected [dis]appropriately in the list of Top Wines of 2021 (more about it below).

Wine from the new state in the US

When I say that I’m collecting experiences, I mean exactly that – I keep track of how many wines from how many states I tasted, and in how many states I visited wineries. While Oregon was added to the list of states I visited the wineries at, I also tasted the wine from Michigan for the first time, and it was an excellent Cabernet Franc from Bel Lago. I keep my progress noted in this table in case you are interested.

Wine from the new country

Same as the wines of 50 United States, I also keep track of wines from different countries that I had an opportunity to taste. This year I added one of the oldest winemaking countries in the world to the list, after tasting the wines from Armenia. The wines were outstanding and Keush sparkling even made it into the Top Wines list. Same as with the 50 states, here is the table where I mark my progress.

More rare grapes

Ever since I had been bitten by The Wine Century Club bug, I had been hunting down rare grapes. This year I made possibly the slowest progress ever, but this journey is not getting any easier at this point. I only added 6 new grapes to the count (Cabernet Pfeffer, Voskehat, Khatouni, Areni, Yapincak, Ciass Negher), which now stands at the grand total of 561.

Top Wines 2021:

Same as every year, this was a fun project to go through the list (big word here – there is no such thing) of all the wines I tasted in 2021, and select 26 to be split into Second (generous) Dozen and the Top Dozen. Considering that visit to Oregon to be the biggest highlight of the year, it is not surprising that the top list is heavily skewed towards Oregon wines – still, it offers quite a bit of diversity as it is. My list of 26 is an easy one to analyze compared to all of the Top 100 lists I processed this year, so here is my distribution of the wines in the top list: Oregon – 8, California – 7, Spain – 5, Italy – 2, Argentina – 1, Armenia – 1, Pennsylvania – 1, Texas – 1. As you can see, France makes a notable absence, but the list clearly reflects my wine drinking habits – and I stand by all of my choices.

The year of Organic Grapes:

Made with Organic Grapes was one of the hot subjects in the blog (check the posts for yourself). In 2021, I tasted and wrote about multiple organic wines from multiple producers from Argentina, Chile, Italy, New Zealand, Spain – and I’m sure I will write about a lot more organic wines this year.

Catching up:

Much to my chagrin, I was really late with many of the posts, writing about events and tastings some of which were more than 2 years old. I really made an effort in December to clear up the backlog, turning it into one of the most prolific blogging months ever with 21 posts – in my almost 12 years of blogging there were very few months with 21 posts, and even fewer with 22. Catching up is not fun, but remembering about things you didn’t deliver is even less fun. There is more catching up to do, so I definitely hope I will be able to continue the streak.

What’s in the store for 2022:

My New Year resolution is not to have any New Year resolutions, so I can’t tell you really what’s ahead. Last year, I was keen on continuing the Wine Quiz and Wednesday Meritage series of posts, only to run out of steam somewhere in the middle of the year. So the plan for 2022 is to use a more opportunistic approach – there is no shortage of wine subjects worth writing about. I also need to up my wine game by paying more attention to French, Australian, and South African wines – I want to fill that gap for the 2022 Top Wines rendition.

* * *

Here we are, my friends. A quick revisit of 2021, and mostly hope for the good year 2022 with good surprises. I know that hope is not a strategy, but if I learned anything from my years of blogging, it would be proverbial “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. So how was your 2021? Any plans for 2022? Cheers!


2020 – A Year in Blogging

January 17, 2021 Leave a comment

Talk-a-Vino2020 was a unique year – don’t think anyone would try to dispute that. Let me acknowledge this by doing something I have never done before – a look back at what happened here on the Talk-a-Vino pages during the past year.

It is interesting that in terms of the number of posts, 2020 was about the same as the prior 3 years – I averaged about 70 posts throughout the whole year or about 6 posts per month on average. Might be a decent amount, but in my most active years, such as 2014, for example, I had about 200 posts in the year, which would average close to 17 per month. Yes, the numbers are a stubborn thing.

Leaving stats aside, a couple of things happened for this blog for the first time. This blog made it to the two of the Top 100 wine blog lists – Top 101 wine writers of 2020 at Corked Wines, and Top 100 wine blogs at Feedspot. Unique and quite happy developments, I have to say – it is nice to be recognized even in the 11th year of blogging.

Many things were “much less” during 2020 – for example, I attended only 3 wine tasting events in person – Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux, Georgian Wine tasting, and Tre Bicchieri. Since the beginning of March, there were, obviously, no trade tastings of any kind. The samples still kept coming, albeit in much smaller amounts compared to the previous years. Delicious discoveries were still made such as wines of Casarena and Mythic from Argentina, amazingly drinkable California Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, superb Oregon finds from Alit and Utopia Vineyard.

Then, of course, there were zooms. “To Zoom” became a new verb, meaning to “see each other in the videoconference”. In the old days, “to Skype” was the thing, but 2020 was the year of Zoom. Zooms with wine lovers stuck in their houses, zooms with winemakers equally desperate for the conversation, zooms with friends. A very unique year. There will be more zooms in 2021, at least in the first half of the year, whether we want it or not.

I decided to bring back some of the old series, trying to instill some timing and order into my blogging – I’m talking about continuing Wine Quiz and Wednesday’s Meritage series. Wine Quiz was exactly as the name says, posts with a set of wine-related questions. when the series was active, those were weekly posts on Saturdays. I now realized that I can’t run those on the weekly basis, however, once every two weeks or so should be possible, so the series is back. I used to have a good number of responders for all the quizzes, which is not the case now, but hey, I still have fun writing those posts, so the series will continue.

Wednesday’s Meritage posts were born without any connection with #WineWednesday – the idea was simply to compile interesting wine news and articles and offer it in a concise format to my readers, keeping them informed of interesting happenings in the wine world. Again, by design, those were supposed to be weekly posts – now they are “best effort” – once I accumulate enough of the good newsworthy content, the post is coming out – but the series is back.

I still managed to produce traditional posts such as April 1st Wine News and Updates, a summary of my best wine experience of 2020, and even snuck one of the most memorable tastings ever before the quarantine was besieged upon us – the OTBN 2020.

That about sums up the year 2020 here at Talk-a-Vino. There were lots of great wines back in 2020 which didn’t make it – yet! – to the blog posts – I will do my best to rectify that, as good wines are always worth a conversation.

That’s all I have for you, my friends. How was your 2020? Cheers!

Looking Back and Looking Forward

January 8, 2016 14 comments

VineyardsI’m sure you guessed from the title and the timing of this post that I want to talk about past year 2015 and freshly minted 2016. Yep, I’m predictable like that, you are correct.
So how was 2015 for 2015 for Talk-a-Vino in my own eyes? Great, but challenging. Very challenging. 2016 will be equally difficult, with great potential to be even more challenging, a lot more.
Sure, I will explain. Nothing happened with my love of wine or passion for blogging – both are as strong as ever. What I had (and will have) a problem with is time – my main line of work (the one which pays the bills, you know) is incomparably busier than two years back, and finding quiet time for the labor of love is now not easy at all. No, I’m not complaining, just explaining the change in cadence of the posts coming out.
Talking about 2015, there were few new things which I started doing. During the year, I was offered a few opportunities to meet with the winemakers, and was unable to find time – this is how the concept of virtual interviews came to life. I realized that even when I can’t sit down with the person in the same room, I can still ask questions – and get great answers. I also offered to profile wine apps for any of the app producers who would be interested, and so far had 3 posts in that series – by the way, the offer still stands if anyone is interested.
From the things which I didn’t like so much, but they still happened in 2015, was stopping the series of the Saturday wine quizzes. I had lots of fun creating those, but reached the point when it became very difficult to create challenging, but fun questions, so I had to stop the series, at least for the time being.
What should you expect in 2016? I definitely will continue the virtual interviews – as a matter of fact, one of them is coming out very shortly. I also have good number of posts which I really should’ve written last year, but did not. There were wine dinners, there were tastings, there were winery visits which never made it into the posts. However, the subjects are still worth taking about, so you should expect to see some of those “posts from the past”. I don’t know if I will make a series out of those posts (as an engineer, I like to organize things, may be even more than necessary), add short intro to those posts, or simply put them out without any regards to the “past” – no matter, they will still appear on Talk-a-Vino pages.
2016 is on, so let’s raise the glass to all the fun things which are ahead of us. Cheers!

Categories: Blogging, Life, wine Tags: , , ,

Wednesday’s Meritage – Wine Blog Awards, #MWWC16, Making Money With Your Blog and more

April 9, 2015 10 comments

It’s been a while since I posted “Wednesday Meritage”, the wine world news potpourri, which used to come out like a clockwork every Wednesday. Well, anyway, there are many things I want to share, so the Meritage it is.

Let me start with the Wine Blog Awards subject. Wine Blog Awards is an annual endeavor since 2007, where the best (supposedly) blogs are recognized as standing out in a number of different categories (best writing, best photography and so on). After a few years of poor execution (2013 and 2014 nominations were announced too late and judging lacked clarity), there is seemingly a desire to make things right. Nomination period is now open until April 22nd, and submission can be made for all of the 8 different categories. And yes, if you like this very blog, I would greatly appreciate your nomination, which can be made here.

Next up is Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, now in its 16th reincarnation. The theme of the #MWWC16 is “Finish“, as assigned by the winner of the previous round Jim of jvb uncorked fame. The submission deadline is April 20th, which is less than 2 weeks away – if you plan to finish, the time to start is now. Don’t forget to tag your entry with #MWWC16 and share it on twitter with the same tag.

Now, let’s talk about the money. For those of you who invests countless hours into this product of your obsession, also known as a “blog”, tell me – have you ever thought “that would be awfully nice to get paid, even a little bit, for all that labor of love”? I don’t know about you, but I definitely had those thoughts. Of course this is not why we blog, but still, monetization of the blog is an interesting subject. Thus I want to bring to your attention an excellent assembly of the stories of the 7 bloggers who make money with their blogs, and they all make very decent money, at least in my opinion. If anything, this is an interesting food for thought, and you can find the link here. Also, just in case you are not aware of it, one of the pages in my blog is designated as a collection of the useful tips regarding blogging, search engine optimization and more – you might find it useful and it is available here. It is also available from the top menu under the “Resources”.

Next, I want to bring to your attention a new collaboration project, masterminded by the Margot from the Gather and Graze (which is a blog you should follow in its own right). The project is called The Dinner Party Collective, or TDPC for the short, and it will be focused on creation of the easy to replicate, seasonal menus for both hemispheres. 12 bloggers are set to collaborate on creating of the menus which will be also fully paired with the suggested wine selections. You can find and follow TDPC here, as well as on Twitter (@tdpcollective) and Facebook.

If you like spicy (hot!!!) food, and live in a close proximity of New York, or plan to visit the city in a few weeks, this might be an event for you. 3rd Annual NYC Hot Sauce Expo will take place April 25/26 in Brooklyn Expo Center in Brooklyn, New York. I’m sure it will be super hot and super interesting, so I’m really contemplating a visit. Here is the link with more information.

I started today’s post with some SSP (yep, the Shameless Self Promotion), and I want to finish with the same. I want to make sure you know that Talk-a-Vino blog has a page on the Facebook, which is used to share different tidbits of information, typically not making it into the blog posts here – wine fun facts, events, special deals and more. If you are on Facebook, and you are not following Talk-a-Vino page, question is – why not? You can solve this problem right here. If you are already following Talk-a-Vino page – thank you very much – how about suggesting it to your friends as well?

And lastly, without any connection to the wine world, I just want to finish this post with the song – again, it has nothing to do with the wine world, but I happened to like it, so.. why not? It resonates with my mood, so there:

And we are done here. Cheers!



Before The Time Runs Out – To Replace The Google Reader, It Is. Or – How Do You Follow?

June 2, 2013 14 comments

Path to followIf there ever be a contest for the longest blog post title, I would have a good shot at winning, don’t you think? It also shows that I can’t make decisions – as to what title is better, as the least. But then I know from the business world that huge number (majority?) of e-mails are not read past the first line, so one really needs to put out all at once…

Anyway, let’s move closer to the subject. As you probably know, Google announced the End of Life for their Reader as of July 1st – and I don’t know about you, but Google Reader was one of my tools of choice to follow the blogs en masse. With Google reader, it was easy to see what is new with the blogs I follow, and easy to focus on reading posts from one blog at a time. Yes, you can subscribe to follow most of the blogs via e-mail – possible, but considering how we all are inundated with the e-mails, it is easy to expect that many posts will just slip through the cracks – lots of e-mails will accumulate for “I will read it later” section, until one gets overwhelmed with amount of unread e-mails and then hits “delete all” button.

Just to give you an idea of how my Google Reader screen looked like, here is a snapshot:

My Google reader Screen - see how everything is grouped by the blogs?

My Google reader Screen – see how everything is grouped by the blogs?

So I started to ask around. I heard from my friend Patty of P’s 2013 Photo Project that she started to use Feedly, but has limited success. Then I asked my friend Kfir, who is The Guru of Social Media, and his advice was – well yes, try Feedly. So at last, I also decided to consult another friend who is close with billions of people (yep, Google search engine), and I found a web site called Replace Reader. This is what I saw there:

Replace Reader screen

Replace Reader screen

As you can see, Feedly has #1 spot. But before going to Feedly (I have to make my own mistakes, part of my DNA, I guess), I decided to try Bloglovin – easy installation, quick sync with Google Reader, and voila. But I didn’t like what I saw too much:

Bloglovin reader screen

Bloglovin reader screen

The reason I was not too happy with it? It resembles WordPress Reader, which only presents all the blog posts sequentially, sorted by day and time, and if you didn’t read the blogs for a few days (I know, you don’t believe this can happen to anyone – not to read blogs for a few days – OMG, the world is ending…) – but if you actually didn’t read blogs for a few days, good luck following up on what you read and what you didn’t read… This is my WordPress Reader screen, just to give you an idea:

wordpress reader

So it seemed that trying the Feedly is inevitable. Download, install (it actually installs a browser plug-in, so you have to restart the browser). Sync up with Google Reader. The first view is a mess – it is called “Title only view”, and it is just a collection of blog posts sorted by date – nowhere near to blog-sorted Google Reader:

Feedly Title Only View

Feedly Title Only View


But – Feedly actually offers a number of different views – Magazine view is better, as it allows me to see the blogs I follow in more structured way:

feedly magazine view

feedly magazine view

See that list of the blogs on the top right side? Now I can see with single glance what do I have to read where. But the best view in my opinion is the one which is provided as “Index”

feedly index view

feedly index view

So I think Feedly with the Index view is what I’m looking for – hopefully it will help me to stay on top of my “follow” game.

Now, the big question is – how do you follow? I’m really curious to know what do you do to follow the blogs you want to read?

Also hope you had a good glass of wine before the new week starts. Cheers!





March 29, 2013 24 comments


Sun-lit grapesLet me ask you a question (no, today is not Saturday and this is not a quiz post) – what do you think the numbers in the title represent?

Any ideas?

Okay, here it is.

3 years.

415 posts.

1863 comments, which translates into more than 900 dialogs.

Today is third anniversary of Talk-A-Vino blog.

This blog started on March 29, 2010 with this post. Started is somewhat of a big word, as the very next post came out almost 4 month later, on July 20th (interestingly enough, it was about Wine Century Club, same as my post from yesterday).

From there on, this blog went forward. Slowly. Sometimes, I was questioning the entire premise of this writing (believe me – I still do). Sometimes, the going was easy. And sometimes, getting a single word out was as easy as successful as convincing oneself that tooth pain is enjoyable. But – there was always something else to say. Something else to share. And the lucky day would bring a comment. An opportunity to talk and to engage, to have a dialog. I think ultimately, the dialog is what I value the most in the whole blogging paradigm. Yes, I can express myself, I’m talking about the subject I’m extremely passionate about – but I really strive for discussion, strive for dialog, strive for the feedback. Good, bad or ugly – doesn’t matter; having any feedback is much better than having none. This is why I included the number of comments as probably the only metric I care about. No, I’m not trying to lie to you – of course I look at the number of views and visitors. But – dialogs are what really matters, and it is the major reason for this blog to exist.

Okay, I think you got my point (can I please have a comment from each one of you, so I know my message went across? What, no comment? Well, please promise that you will leave one next time?).

Considering that any birthday is an opportunity to reflect, I wanted to give you my own retrospective and tell you what was planned, what worked, what didn’t work, what I liked and what I didn’t like. I dutifully scrolled through many posts, to no avail – I’m ashamed to admit, but I like a lot of them…  Here is an “oenophile” mini-series – Fears of the Oenophile, Five Essential Traits of the Oenophile, Five Traps of Oenophile. And then there are Wine and Time, Wine = Art and Taste Of Wine – Engineering Approach, as well as the “wineries” mini-series – BV, Ridge, Paumanok, Chateau Ste. Michelle, … Wine quizzes, Daily Glass, Bars and Restaurants, Travel – all with pictures (can I share one more number? 1309 pictures are attached to this blog…).

Many things didn’t work as planned. My Daily Glass is very far from even weekly. My Categories are all over the place – grapes, wines, experiences and regions are all just lumped together, without any system. I don’t update pages on time (Top Wine Ratings is 5 month behind, for instance)…

Well, it is what it is. It is a live blog. And does create dialog. Thus, I’m happy. Cheers!



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