It is time for the usual year in review post, and it has been another incredibly busy year for Texas Wine Lover! This coming March will mark the sixth year for the Texas Wine Lover website and blog, and along with the Texas wine industry, there seems to be no end in sight as there is always news to give, new wineries to visit, new wines to review, and more. Here are some of the highlights of the year for Texas Wine Lover (TWL):
- 234 posts were written in 2016 (at the moment). That comes out to an average of over 19 posts a month and over four posts a week! To accomplish that number, there were 12 TWL writers and more guest writers. In 2016, we added two new contributing writer with another possible writer coming soon.
- We entered a blog contest from Millesima to win a trip to Bordeaux, France, and we won! Six writers from four countries were chosen for the trip, and Jeremy Wilson enjoyed the week-long stay in Bordeaux. It was such a great trip that he ended up writing a six part series.
- However, that’s not it. We learned that Texas Wine Lover was listed in the “Best 100 Wine Blogs on the web.” Notice that is wine blogs, not just niche wine blogs like TWL, and the best wine blogs that people follow are in that list. People are discovering that Texas does indeed make wine. When we learned about the listing, the blog was listed 29 out of 100 blogs! Somehow, the next day we were listed number 30 and that’s where we still are today. The representative for the blog said it is a moving list, so to still be listed as number 30 out of 100 wine blogs for worldwide blogs is incredible!
- Part of the factors used for being listed in the Best 100 Wine Blogs on the web is our social media following. Our Facebook page followers are now at 6,714 Likes, 3,708 Twitter followers, 329 Pinterest followers, and thanks to Gloria for taking on the Instagram account earlier this year, we are already at 912 followers. Our email subscriber list has continually grown as more people are discovering Texas Wine Lover.
- We continued to add to the Texas winery map and perhaps unbeknownst to some Texas wineries, each one of them gets their own winery page found from either the winery map or a searchable winery list.
- But we do not only care about Texas wineries. We also have the only searchable Texas vineyard list! Even wineries admit that no one knows how many acres of Texas vineyards there are and we are trying to answer that question. We started over a year ago and we are continuing to gather that information. There is still more data to enter on the website and we are sure there are a lot of vineyards we do not know about yet. So, go to the vineyard search page to see how many Texas vineyard acres we currently know about, and if you own a vineyard or know about one that is not listed, let us know and we’ll get it added!
- We wrote more reviews about Texas wine and we are getting more and more offers to write about non-Texas wine, because not everybody drinks just Texas wine. Whether it is a wine sample or media event, Texas Wine Lover is usually there to cover it.
- We continued to help Texas Hill Country Wineries (THCW) by writing a monthly winemaker profile, but when we ran out of THCW winemakers wanting to participate, we moved out of the Hill Country, as we know there are many other winemakers in Texas. We featured a number of winemakers, and hope to continue that trend in 2017.
- Our TWL Podcast has continued and the listenership has grown. Even though our podcast is different from most podcasts that have a regularly scheduled podcast they do from their house, we go to the people themselves in order to record the podcast. That limits the number of podcasts we do, but it is great to meet people who say they love the podcast and are waiting for the next one!
- Consumers, wineries, and vineyards are always waiting for our Texas winery results from wine competitions as we continue to be the place to see all the Texas winery results. To help in that regard, I was a judge again at the Lone Star International Wine Competition and for the first time, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition. I have already committed to judging another international wine competition next year.
- 2016 marked the first full year of trying to monetize the website. Different ways were attempted to at least help pay for the costs to host the website with its additional fees. Many people do not realize what it costs to offer things like a faster website, a podcast, mailing list, etc. Thank you to the advertisers who have advertised on Texas Wine Lover and we hope you support all those businesses! And thank you to the people who have bought items from our TWL store!
- More items were added to the TWL store with the addition of our first eBook with a Visitor’s Guide to U.S. 290 in the Hill Country. Sales of the Texas Wine Lover lapel pin continue as people love to show off they are fans of Texas wine. New versions of the VinGardeValise wine suitcases have arrived and they are definitely the way to travel safely with wine.
- It has been an incredibly successful year, but we did try a couple things that did not work quite as well as we had hoped. As another way to make money to pay for the website, we offered our first online course, but the costs to host the course online and the time to create the course outweighed the number sold. We also had hopes of creating Texas Beer Lover to offer news and reviews for the Texas craft beer lovers. It was a great idea, but Texas wine is becoming so popular that it left little time for handling anything else.
I am sure I left something out because it has been a long year. Oh yeah, in May, we were able to get most of the Texas Wine Lover team together in Johnson City and enjoy a great dinner at Bryans on 290. It was a fun time being together for dinner and seeing how Texas Wine Lover has grown.
Wow, I did not think I was going to write all that! However, that shows how busy a year it has been for Texas Wine Lover and how we continually tried, and will continue to try, to help the Texas wine industry. We hope you had a great 2016 and will have an even better 2017. Cheers!