Wednesday Birthday week 2020 giveaway: $100 Wine.com gift card

Win a $100 wine.com gift card

And the winner is: Cass, who selected 887; the winning number was 906 (screen shot below).  Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway — four Schott Zweisel wine glasses, just like the ones the Wine Curmudgeon uses. That will be the fourth of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 13th anniversary, we’re giving away a $100 Wine.com gift card, good for anything on the site of the world’s largest Internet wine retailer. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog. This is the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift card.

Tuesday Birthday Week 2020 giveaway: Wine Not women’s slippers

slippersWin a pair of Wine Not women’s slippers — because, Wine Not?

And the winner is: Doug, who selected 442; the winning number was 437 (screen shot below).  Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway is a $100 Wine.com gift card from one of the blog’s long-time supporters. That will be the third of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 13th anniversary, we’re giving away a pair of Wine Not women’s slippers — because, wine not? (Sorry.) This is the second of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the other prizes.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the slippers.

Winebits 672: Birthday week 2020, or international tensions clobber the blog

internatinal tensionsBirthday week 2020 wine news: Foreign visitors? What foreign visitors? Plus, Linux surges and Firefox doesn’t

Not in this country: China, which was the big visitor news last year, wasn’t this year. Chinese blog traffic dropped 83 percent. Beijing, last year’s top city, fell to 16th with an 85 percent decline. Meanwhile, 19 of the top 20 cities were in the U.S., led by New York. And I don’t know that that has ever been the case. But that’s what happens when we throw up trade barriers and bluster at the rest of the world.

Poor, poor pitiful Firefox: Those of us old enough to remember the second browser war, when Firefox was going to save us from evil Microsoft, will find this hard to believe. Less than six percent of blog visits came via some from of Firefox. Apple’s Safari, thanks to a surge in iPhone visitors, edged out Chrome, 44 to 42 percent.

Not so pitiful Linux: The pandemic, according to a variety of statistics, was supposed to be giving a boost to my beloved Linux operating system. I didn’t believe the reports, having seen Linux use on the blog stay around one percent — if not lower — over the years. So imagine my surprise when the number turned out to be 2.8 percent this year — four times what it was last year. Having said that, obsolete Windows systems (Windows XP, 8.0/8.1, and Vista) totaled five percent. So I guess the world still isn’t ready for the year of the Linux desktop.

Wine Curmudgeon most popular posts 2020

popular posts 2020

“Churro, we need to find a way to boost blog traffic. Your being cute didn’t do much.”

The Wine Curmudgeon’s most popular posts 2020: Not necessarily about cheap wine, and a lot fewer visitors

What does one make of a blog about cheap wine when a majority of the most popular posts weren’t about cheap wine — or  were even wine reviews?

That’s where we find ourselves as the blog celebrates its 13th annual Birthday Week. Only four of the top 10 posts from November 2019 to November 2020 were sort of about cheap wine. And one was about as far removed from cheap wine as possible — a six-year-old post about the $300 Coravin wine opener at No. 10.

Ordinarily, I’d blame all this foolishness on our overlords at Google, whose search engine algorithm has more to do with sending visitors to the blog than anything I write. But the past 12 months also saw a precipitous decline in traffic, about one-third from last year’s 600,000 or so visitors. That no doubt also contributed to the bizarre top post results — fewer visitors exaggerates the importance of the posts that do get traffic.

So what caused the drop? The pandemic, almost certainly, combined with the U.S. presidential election. There were other things on people’s minds that didn’t involve finding a $10 wine that doesn’t taste like alcoholic grape juice. Even sites like Linkedin, which should be immune, may have had some traffic declines.

Which I understand. The problem comes if traffic doesn’t recover if and when we get back to normal toward the end of next year. What’s the point of a wine blog where no one wants to read about wine?

The top 10 posts of 2020:

1. The four-year-old “Barefoot wine: Why it’s so popular.” This was the top post in 2019, as well, and was No. 7 in 2018. But it didn’t make the top 10 in 2016 or 2017, which makes no sense given how the Internet is supposed to work.

2. The Kim Crawford wine ad critique, which moved up from fifth in 2019. There are 38  comments, most very harsh about the ad; that’s not only a lot of comments for the blog, but that so many people agreed with me is also unusual.

3. The 10-year-old Barefoot wines (again) post was third for the second year in a row. How does a post that old get so much traffic? Ask our overlords at Google.

4. The residual sugar post was fourth, after being second for two consecutive years. This is something I am quite proud of, that wine drinkers can come here and get practical information to help them make intelligent decisions.

5. The Louisiana shrimp boil wine and food pairings post l call it my contribution to making the pandemic a little less difficult It’s also the first wine and food pairings post to make the top 10.

6. Ask the WC 1 — another pandemic-specific post, I think. It offers cheap cava suggestions, though why a seven-year-old post that was only partially about cheap cava is beyond me.

7. The 2020 $10 Hall of Fame. Long gone are the days when that year’s Hall of Fame was the most visited, and a couple of others would be in the 1op 10. Again, I have no idea why, and it’s more than a little sad.

8. Will the pandemic bring permanent changes to the three-tier system? This is self-explanatory — and  one of the few hopeful things to come out of this year.

9. A post about discount wine retailer Grocery Outlet. Which, hopefully, is coming soon to a town near you.

10. That damned Coravin post. I wonder if it’s because I actually discussed its value to wine drinkers, instead of fawning over it like most of the Winestream Media.

A few other thoughts:

• The $10 wine category was 34th for the second year in a year. Double sigh.

• The various five-day, $3 wine challenge posts dropped out of the top 10. The highest ranking one was 15th, and again, I have no idea what that means. One would think this would be a very popular pandemic-related post.

• My undercover, illegal interstate wine shipping post was 16th, which isn’t bad since it didn’t post until the end of July.

More about the blog’s top posts:
2019 top posts
2018 top posts
2017 top posts

Monday Birthday Week 2020 giveaway: Jessica Dupuy’s “The Wines of Southwest USA.”

Win an autographed copy of Jessica Dupuy’s “The Wines of Southwest USA”

And the winner is: Marty, who selected 601; the winning number was 625 (screen shot below).  Thanks to everyone who participated. Tomorrow’s giveaway is a pair of Wine Not women’s slippers. That will be the second of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.


Today, to celebrate the blog’s 13th anniversary, we’re giving away an autographed copy of Jessica Dupuy’s “The Wines of Southwest USA.” This is the first of five daily giveaways; check out this post to see the prizes for the rest of the week.

Complete contest rules are here. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of this post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of this post — no email entries or entries on other posts. Unless the number is in the comments section of this post, the entry won’t count.

If you get the blog via email or RSS, you need to go to this exact post on the website to enter (click the link to get there). At about 5 p.m. central today, I’ll go to random.org and generate the winning number. The person whose entry is closest to that number gets the gift card.

The WC video redux: Holiday wine tips

Plus, opening a sparkling wine bottle in just one take

Yes, this post ran about this time last year, but I wanted to put it up again for a couple of reasons. First, it’s timely — and a damn fine job, if I say so myself. Many thanks to host Michael Sansolo; his show is “Shopping with Michael” for the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

The other reason? Because this was the only video we did as part of the PLMA’s private label wine project. Our goal was to convince U.S. supermarkets to do for private label wine what European supermarkets do — high quality and low price.

But the pandemic edged our effort to the sidelines. And, more sadly, long-time PLMA president Brian Sharoff died at the end of the spring, and it was his vision that started the project. Brian gave me a chance to work on it, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity.

So, I’m posting this one more time for Brian. He is much missed, and not just because he always made fun of my hats.

Birthday Week 2020 starts Monday

birthday weekThe blog’s 13th annual Birthday Week starts Monday, with our usual assortment of terrific prizes

Birthday Week 2020, the 13th annual, begins on Monday with five days of prizes for the blog’s readers. The daily giveaways are the Wine Curmudgeon’s annual thank you to everyone who reads the blog and visits the site, since none of this would happen without you. And who wouldn’t enjoy a  prize or two in the middle of a pandemic and recession?

Contest rules are here. Those of you who get the blog via email or RSS will need to go to winecurmudgeon.com and click on that day’s prize post to enter.

Each day next week, a prize post will run in addition to the regular post. Pick a number between 1 and 1,000 and leave it in the comment section of the prize post. You can’t pick a number someone else has picked, and you need to leave your guess in the comments section of the post — no email entries or entries on other posts, like this one. Unless the number is in the comments section of the prize post, the entry won’t count.

This year’s prize schedule:

• Monday: An autographed copy of Jessica Dupuy’s “The Wines of Southwwest USA.

• Tuesday: Wine Not women’s slippers, which keeps your feet warm and is funny.

• Wednesday: A $100 gift card from Wine.com. Thanks to Wine.com, a long-time supporter of the blog and what we do here.

• Thursday: Four Schott Zweisel wine glasses, just like the ones the Wine Curmudgeon uses.

• Friday: Three autographed copies of the cheap wine book, just in time for the holidays.

Besides the prize giveaways, I’ll recap the past year on the blog — the top posts and the least liked on Monday, as well as my always insightful analysis about what it all means and the future of the wine business on Thursday. The blog’s Thanksgiving wine suggestions will post on Friday..

Picture courtesy of Comedy Card Company, using a Creative Commons license