Today, seven years ago on March 20th, is when the very first blog post on Texas Wine Lover was published. I would never have imagined how that first post at the time started this journey to where we are today.
I could reiterate how the hobby I started way back then has turned into a business and more, but it would probably be easier for you to read my post last year on the 6th anniversary. A lot of that post is still relevant about Gloria, the appreciation Texas Wine Lover (TWL) often receives from those in the Texas wine industry, and what we offer on the website.
That post is also still true on the hours I spend on TWL. When I talk to people in the Texas wine industry, they are surprised that this isn’t my full-time job. I wish it was! No, this is a job requiring full-time hours, but only getting part-time hours toward it. That’s one reason my list of things I need to do on the website is growing. I think I may need to start finding resources to pay for the various tasks.
Also, people are astonished when I confirm that we indeed have over ten writers who write for Texas Wine Lover. To me, it just makes sense. If you strive to be the premier website for Texas wine news and information, you need to be able to cover this entire huge state of Texas. So, we have fantastic writers in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Fredericksburg, and the High Plains. We even have guest writers in other areas of the state, and of course, the core team including Jeremy Wilson who consistently writes every week.
In the seven years of writing, the Texas Wine Lover team has written over 1,400 blog posts which averages to about four posts a week. It’s funny that I often hear when researching how to improve the website, other bloggers talk about writer’s block and trying to find something to write about. It’s just the opposite with TWL, as we have too many things to write about and often have to spread them out over weeks before they can get written and published. Or for quick items, we add them to our Facebook page, and you can only find them there. So hopefully you’re following us on Facebook too, either the page or our Facebook group where a lot of discussion takes place.
We did the first monthly winemaker profile back in February 2014 for the Texas Hill Country Wineries so they could include them in their monthly newsletter. After doing most of the winemakers in the association (still some more to come!), we branched out to other winemakers in the state of Texas.
Speaking of wine, we consistently do wine reviews. We now have multiple people who write reviews, but interestingly enough, it is difficult getting Texas wine to review. I get quite a few offers for samples of non-Texas wine, and we have written about non-Texas wine because the majority of people do not drink just Texas wine. After all, we need to drink others to show just how great Texas wine is! It would be nice to get more Texas wine to review though.
Occasionally we do a Battle of Texas Wines in a little competition, and last year we had a successful Battle of the Texas Mourvèdre. We were trying to decide if there were any other varieties that multiple wineries were making after we had done Orange Muscat, Roussanne, and Tempranillo, and then someone suggested Sangiovese. So coming up in May is the Battle of the Texas Sangiovese. We already have received quite a few bottles that I’m filling up my wine coolers with and expect more to come too. The Battle is going to be an exciting one.
Things have gotten a little better as far as Texas Wine Lover, LLC. I gave my tax information to my accountant last week, and at least I didn’t lose as much money as I did last year. It’s not that TWL received much more income than the previous year, but the expenses were down, which of course helps. It goes back to all our writers. For example, if I don’t have to travel to a new winery that just opened to write about it, and one of our writers lives closer, that is one less expense that I have. Of course, I’ll eventually try to make it to that winery, but it may not be as quickly as I would like.
With all my free time (joking), I have been able to add more items to the website’s shop with products for which hopefully readers are interested. There are plans to keep adding more which should help the income side of things. And a HUGE thank you to all the advertisers on the website who have supported us since we started offering ads, and also for the new advertisers who came on board in the past year. Please take some time to look through the ads on the site, because I’m sure you will find something of interest, and help support our advertisers at the same time. (We do have space for more advertisers!)
The website still has the most up-to-date Texas winery map out there, which I even use whenever I visit an area of Texas to see if there are any wineries in the area I want to visit. The one thing that some people may not realize is every winery we have on the site has its own winery page where you can find information about the winery, including all the blog posts we have done involving that winery. We also have a page for every vineyard in the state of Texas along with any posts on that vineyard. Again, in my free time, I’m still trying to add more and more vineyards to the site so we might possibly have an idea how many acres of grapes Texas grows.
Another honor was received in the past year with TWL being listed as one of the Top 50 Texas Blogs and Websites on the Web. I guess that’s pretty good when you consider the other major Texas websites listed there. And we’re still holding at 30th in the Best 100 Wine Blogs on the Web. That one I’m really proud of considering all the international wine blogs out there.
Thank you to everybody who has supported us through the years, and cheers for another fabulous year!