The Wine Curmudgeon’s most popular posts in 2016
Trying to parse the blog’s most popular posts from the past 12 months made my head hurt. On the one hand, there was still too much Google-imposed foolishness among the top 10 posts, including the best read entry, the six-year-old Barefoot wine post. On the other hand, there were posts in the top 10 that should have been there, something I haven’t seen for a couple of years.
Meanwhile, traffic was up substantially, even from last year’s improved rate. The blog will get some one-half million visitors this year, and there’s even a chance I’ll make a little money. If you had told me that would happen two years ago when I was seriously considering ending the blog, I’d have laughed.
Hence my difficulty in trying to figure out what happened from November 2015 to today. I like patterns, and there weren’t any. The Barefoot post is only there because of the way the Google algorithm works; it had more visitors than either of the last two, more current, Barefoot wine reviews. Which makes no sense in non-Google terms. Why would anyone want older, less relevant information?
But a couple of posts that made the list surprised me – the residual sugar explanation, which was eighth but wasn’t in the top 10 last year, and my take on the future of the wine business that ran during 2015’s Birthday Week. It was third, an almost unheard of position for a post that isn’t review-related and isn’t old enough to get a boost from the algorithm.
So maybe what I’m trying to do with the blog is working after all, despite the hurdles and disappointments of the past couple of years. Maybe, given the state of the wine business – consolidation, too much overpriced wine, and a lack of solid information for people who want to drink wine and not worship it – the blog found its second wind. I do know that this year’s design tweaks made a huge difference, and thanks again to Kermit Woodall for the work he did with that.
The most popular posts from 2016, plus a couple of other notes, are after the jump:
The top 10 posts of 2016:
1. Barefoot wines (again): Value or just cheap? Maybe I should just accept that this will remain the most popular post forever, and stop trying to figure it out.
2. The 2015 $10 Hall of Fame. Third last year, second this year – and 12 spots ahead of the 2016 Hall of Fame. Good old Google.
3. The end of the wine business as we know it. This was the biggest surprise, and that people read it and talked about it made me think I’m not the only one worried about a wine world where big producers, big retailers, and big distributors control almost all of what we drink.
4. The 2013 Barefoot wine review. Meh. At least it dropped from second in 2014 and 2015.
5. The results of the five day, $3 wine challenge. Seventh last year, and the success of a three-year-old post means I need to do an updated version. That it did this well in the age of premiumization should tell the wine business something – if it cared to listen.
6. Two wines from Aldi, and the differences in cheap wine. Eighth last year, and it’s even more interesting because Aldi doesn’t seem carry those wines anymore.
7. The 2014 Barefoot wine review, which was sixth last year.
8. The residual sugar post. This is the kind of thing I wish I could do more of, but my graphics ability is severely limited, and Wine Folly probably does it better than I could even if I was graphically oriented.
9. The sweet red wine review post, which is four years old and which I should update but don’t have the energy to do. That’s a lot of sweet wine. It hasn’t been in the top 10 for a couple of years, and was surprised to see it there this year. Perhaps because it’s a post you probably won’t find anywhere else?
10. Blue Apron wine: Disappointing and depressing. This kind of post – an honest assessment of wines few others will write about – is the blog’s reason for being. That it did this well, given I wrote it in February, made me very happy.
• No Cupcake review made the top 10, which has happened only once since I started writing them in 2011. Cupcake sales have declined in the past couple of years, which may have something to do with it.
• Rose, despite its newfound popularity, is still out of sight and out of mind on the blog. The highest rose review was 191, which is the worst showing ever.
• The $10 wine category, another of the blog’s reasons for being and that dropped out of the top 10 last year, recovered this year to finish 18th – better, but not great. Damn you Google.