The signs that we have a thriving wine community in the Twin Cities are everywhere.
Among them: a quartet of stellar wine bloggers, all of whom are conscientious, inquisitive, insightful and broad-minded.
Most of all, they are passionate, with their love of fermented grape juice pervading their posts and showing the rest of us interesting ways to buy, understand and experience this wondrous beverage.
For a look at how they go about the business of helping readers understand the world of wine, turn to page T2.
Day job: Program director in pacemaker product development at Medtronic.
Target audience: "People with an interest in expanding their wine horizons beyond the familiar cabernet and chardonnay and an interest in wine at the dinner table. People who like to cook, and who shop at the farmers market at least occasionally. Recently, I added a 'Wine 101' page for people who are new to wine and are interested but don't want to spend a fortune. Just the facts, less flowery wine descriptions."
Blog's evolution: "In the beginning, it was just my own experiments in food and wine. Over time, the blog has become a connection to a group of like-minded people locally, around the U.S. and beyond. The constant has been the interest in the intersection of good food and good wine."
Finding fodder: "Finding new wine and food combinations is the easy part. I love cooking, learning about new wines and photographing the results. The hard part is writing. As an engineer by training, writing doesn't come naturally or easily."
Prototypical post: tinyurl.com/jbjz7jq, pairing hunter's chicken and Beaujolais.
Day job: "This is it. I own a wine consulting firm, Amusée, which I started while living on the West Coast in Wine Country. Amusée turned 13 on Feb 1."
Target audience: "It's quite broad, between the ages of 22 and 70. I feel I keep my style and level of approachability open to anyone who is looking to start their adventure in wine all the way through to the individual who is well-versed and -traveled in the subject."
Blog's evolution: "It started out as a way to recap the classes and events I was doing, along with throwing in the occasional recipe or wine-pairing tip. It has morphed into a variety of topics, including beer. I have been inviting guest bloggers to share travel tips, recipes and industry insights all the way through to lifestyle tips on how to enjoy wine, what/how to buy wine globally, what restaurants to visit globally for the best food/wine lists and entertaining tips for those who love to enjoy wine from home."
Finding fodder: "Oh, my gosh, the world of wine is explosive at this point. The topics are endless. Plus, so many more folks are drinking wine and have so many more questions than they ever did."
Prototypical post: tinyurl.com/zq7kw6a, local experts making predictions for 2017.
Day job: Senior director of marketing for Northern Tool + Equipment.
Target audience: "My audience for the most part is the average wine consumer, who spends under $20 (usually well under) on a bottle of wine. A lot of my readers don't have the time or inclination to research wines on their own; they are just looking for some help in making sure the money they plunk down on a bottle doesn't go to waste. That said, I also have quite a few wine connoisseurs and collectors who frequent the site because everybody loves finding a great inexpensive wine."
Blog's evolution: "It's funny, when I started the site, it was really just more for my own record-keeping. Being analytical by nature, I devised my rating scale, which includes the price so that I could compare wines at different price points (the more expensive a wine, the better it has to taste to get a high rating). It turns out that this struck a chord with others, and the site has grown dramatically. Last year, it had well over 1 million visits."
Finding fodder: "It's actually quite easy. Wine is one of those things that the more you know, the more you realize you don't know. I've been doing the site for six years, and in a lot of ways I still feel like I'm just starting."
Prototypical post: tinyurl.com/hk9mq8h, which sets the table for his hundreds of posts
Day job: Product manager for a boutique technology company that develops mobile solutions for the title industry.
Target audience: "Anyone interested in local tourism and Minnesota wine. Its foundation is my own passion for exploring Minnesota — and my favorite way to do that is clad in hiking boots with a glass of wine in my hand. I aspire to publish information that appeals to the general wine-drinking public, particularly those who may yet be skeptics about Minnesota wine (and slowly convert them to being local wine aficionados)."
Blog's evolution: "My initial concept was to simply post local wine news, and do it anonymously. I swiftly realized that this didn't coincide with my mission of inspiring exploration of wine. Posts that gained the most exposure are experiential, and thus it has unfolded into more of a wine lifestyle blog, with many pieces based on my own exploits."
Finding fodder: "I solicit for content from others as much as writing myself. This is intentional. I don't believe that a mission of inspiring exploration can be achieved from a single perspective. As for the difficulty of finding things to write about, I have more than a few laundry lists of ideas. Inspiration isn't the challenge. The hard part is trusting my gut on what's a good story. I'm not a writer by trade by any means, and this is new territory I'm elated to be exploring."
Prototypical post: tinyurl.com/zujlc7c, a concise overview of Minnesota grapes and wine tourism.
Bill Ward writes atdecant-this.com. Follow him on Twitter: @billward4.