When, where and why did you begin blogging?
Upon moving to Madrid in January of 2005, Gabriella put her Master’s degree to work by teaching English to bankers and marketing executives, while Ryan surfed the net looking for any “help wanted” ads in the Spanish wine industry. What we didn’t know at the time, is that you basically need to be blood related to someone here to get or job, or at least have had half a dozen lunches to prove your that you’re an upstanding citizen. And with neither of us knowing the language or the customs at the time, Ryan chose to chronicle his experiences learning about the wine and food culture through his blog, Catavino. Over time, what started as a personal journal slowly attracted the attention and support of wine lovers around the world to become one of the few English language wine blogs dedicated solely to Spanish and Portuguese wine.
In a few short sentences, summarize your intention with your wine blog.
A dynamic and educational resource covering Spanish and Portuguese wine, food and culture, with a sprinkling of conversation regarding the merits and downfalls of blogging. Our goal is to share some of the key subjects that are often overlooked by mainstream media, including unknown regions, indigenous grape varietals, local cuisines, etc. in an interactive and dynamic way.
How would you describe your readers?
By in large, our readership is primarily based in the US (70% or more), attracting everyone from wine lovers to uber wine geeks. However, in the past six months, we’ve seen a dramatic increase of Spanish readers! This is truly exciting for us because it means that we are slowly gaining the trust and confidence of a culture we both love and want to write about. Beyond these two countries, we are also beginning to see the UK and Portugal as regular visitors to our site!
Is blogging a professional endeavor for you or more of a personal outlet?
Yes and no. As far as Catavino making us money through ads/sponsorships, in 3 years time, we’ve made approximately 500 US dollars. Yet without Catavino, we would not have respect or reputation to have successfully launched Catavino Marketing.
Catavino Marketing was founded on a simple idea of showing wineries how to use the internet in order to expose their brand more effectively. The cache we have gained by creating and managing Catavino has thus led to more opportunities to work with Iberian wineries through Catavino Marketing.
Therefore, today, Catavino is a professional site, in that we spend a considerable amount of time and money to continuously create pertinent and well researched content.
What tools or resources have you found to be successful in marketing your blog?
Word of mouth and time. What we tell our clients is that there are very few, if any, overnight successes in blogging. Blogging is an activity in building trust, and though you can “spike the vote”, as it were, you will not gain longterm readers without consistent quality content. The more regular and consistent the content, the better.
As to the number one marketing tool? If you do want to be serious: LEAVE COMMENTS ON OTHER PEOPLE’S SITES! Nothing is more effective, besides making sure to personally respond to comments on your own site either by email or directly in the comment’s section.
Do you believe wine blogs have made any marked impact on the wine industry or wine culture?
No, although they will in time. There is an impact, but not a “marked” one, as we’re still trying to figure out what the impact is so far. We have a tool and voice that is still in its adolescent years. And like any teenager, many wine bloggers think they know everything there is to know about blogging and truly believe that their dreams will be realized in the near future. But the truth is that this tool will end up changing as it evolves, adapts and matures. Our sense is that we’re still 3 to 5 years away from having a solid voice and effect in the wine industry, and at until that point, this question might be as arbitrary to ask to a wine blogger as it would be to ask of Robert Parker.
Where do you see wine blogging in 10 years?
In 5 years we’ll be much more respected. In 10 years, many of us will just be an accepted part of the wine landscape.
What do you hope to gain from this conference?
Connections and debate. What is great about this conference is the ability to actually talk about wine blogging with bloggers we don’t/can’t engage with. Why? Language. We would love to read Italian, French, Greek or German wine blogs, but we have enough trouble keeping up with Spanish and Portuguese wine blogs alone. Therefore, this conference will be a wonderful way for us to finally hear other cultural perspectives on wine and wine blogging, in addition to simply expanding our community. For us, the more cultural diversity, the better!