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How To Measure Blog Value

If wine blogs should not be evaluated on the basis of sales they generate, how should a winery or other prospective advertiser determine which ones to support? The precise answer will vary a bit based on factors related to the winery or advertiser. What is their market position, price point, target demographic, etc. Of course, questions like that are pretty standard to the planning of any promotional program.

That is as it should be. Blogs are not so different from other types of media or promotional opportunities. The key differentiating points are that 1) anybody can publish a blog and 2) they tend to take a more personal approach to their subject matter than would a magazine or newspaper. That being the case, why not apply standard metrics for social media to blogs?

Additional Comments on Illinois Wine Law Issues

In our blog on this topic yesterday, we failed to mention one other major beneficiary of the new Illinois law which prevents consumers from buying wine directly from out of state retailers. That beneficiary is the state itself, the government and potentially its economy.

Old World Bias Still Strong and Still a Bias

Though wine has been made in the “New World” for more than 150 years and California wine won international awards a century ago, majority opinion long held that the wines of Europe were and always would be superior. There is no doubt that for a long time the average quality of wine from Europe exceeded that of U.S. wine. Europe had a couple thousand years head start on California and the rest of the New World in pairing the right varietal with the right region, mastering growing techniques and in establishing particular flavors and aromas as reference points for quality.

Illinois Wine Consumers Organize

When the constitutional amendment that enacted Prohibition was repealed, there was no single federal law put in place to regulate the production, distribution, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. In fact, each state was left to create its own laws to cover these issues. The result has been a hodgepodge of regulations that differ substantially from one state to the next.

Some states have dry laws that prohibit sales of alcohol on certain days, after certain hours, etc. Some require that certain alcoholic beverages be sold only in state run stores. In New York, liquor stores are prohibited from selling anything that they are not specifically allowed to sell. Since what they are allowed to sell is essentially limited to beverages, devices for opening or drinking beverages, and educational materials a store owner out there was recently charged with a violation because he sold a bag for carrying wine bottles. These chaotic regulations make it very difficult for stores and producers to avoid running afoul of the law. And in the end, the mess hurts consumers by bringing about higher prices and diminished selection.

Few laws do more to limit consumer choice than those which prevent direct shipment of wine to consumers in a given state from out-of-state retailers or producers. Some of these laws even prohibit retailers from buying wine directly from out of state producers or distributors. For fifteen years, Illinois was one of the relatively enlightened states. Its citizens could receive wine directly from providers in any other state itself allowing the importation of wine from Illinois.