My Twitter feed lit up last night with good wishes from various parts of the planet …
I clicked through to the link in one tweet and discovered that this site had just been ranked #2 in the Top 100 Wine Sites in the world.
On the list: Jancis Robinson, editor of the Oxford Companion to Wine; Dr. Jamie Goode, author of The Science of Wine; James Suckling, former editor of The Wine Spectator magazine; Steve Heimoff, former editor of The Wine Enthusiast magazine, Alice Feiring, columnist for the New York Times; and Tim Atkin, columnist for the UK’s Observer newspaper.
There are lots of top lists of wine web sites out there, but what makes this one different from the rest is the statistical breadth and depth in the algorithms used to calculate the rankings in this report, including many of the most respected measurement tools in the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world, according to Excel Wines, the study’s authors:
“This study took advantage of some of the best tools for measuring website success and social media activity, including SEMRush, Majestic SEO, Twitonomy, Alexa, Facebook insights, and Moz. The algorithm gives fair weight to both on-site and off-site factors.
“On-site includes traffic, rankings, and measured trust factors. Off-site includes social media statistics, including followings and interaction, and inbound links to the site. Each statistic is weighted in order to not give too much significance to any individual statistic that might skew the results.”
A toast to the two other Canadian wine sites making the list, led by Krista Lamb and Bethany Harper, respectively. And of course, hats off to number one, the U.S. site Winefolly, a master of infographics on social media, making many wine topics more accessible pictorially. These have just been gathered together in a book that has made the New York Times‘ bestseller list.
Interesting side note that the top three sites overall, and the top three in Canada are all run by women. That syncs up with several other industry studies that report that women buy 80% of all wine as the household purchasers of most goods, as well as the social and dinner planners (and yes, we drink 61% of it ;) Overall, women are also more active on social media.
No one can publish thousands of wine reviews and blog posts alone. I am indebted to my A-Team of Wine Writers and Sommeliers who work on the site daily, attend wine tastings across the country and connect with thousands of wine lovers around the world on social media.
The study’s authors posed these questions to the winners:
What made you decide to start writing about wine?
I’m a double geek. My perfect pairing is wine and technology (or wine with more wine).
After slogging through an MBA, I worked at AT&T (long-distance wars), Procter & Gamble (pie-crust skirmishes) and Silicon Graphics Inc. (special-effects battles). SGI’s super computers were used by filmmakers to create the computer generated imagery (CGI) in Star Wars, Jurassic Park, The Mask, Toy Story and other blockbusters.
I often worked from SGI’s campus in Mountain View, California (now Google’s headquarters), as the company’s Internet Evangelist. I was also part of trade show panel discussions with the early founders of Wine.com and Amazon.com. On weekends, I’d drive a hundred miles up the coast to the vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma, where I discovered a passion for wine.
What is your favorite part about writing and being in the wine niche?
I love storytelling. Both of my books–Red, White and Drunk All Over and Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines — are character sketches of obsessive personalities. The wine world seems to harbour the world’s largest group of fascinating misfits.
Do you have any advice for people hoping to start a wine web site of their own?
Take wine seriously, learn and taste all you can, but never take yourself seriously. You must entertain before you can hope to educate.
I never forget small-town Scottish roots in Nova Scotia. I credit the long line of hard drinkers from whom I descend for my ability to drink like a fish—and for the motivation to write about it, in a transparent attempt to make it look respectable.
You can see the complete list of The Top 100 Wine Sites here.