One year ago I put up the first post on this site. While it went largely unnoticed, it was the focus I needed to get to work studying for my WSET Diploma Unit 3 exam. Over the weeks that followed, I put together a study plan and practised writing tasting notes in the style that would be required on the exam itself. While I would have been much better off if I had done that 52 weeks before the exam instead of six, it was a step up from the path I had been following.
I came out of the exam not certain if I had passed. I felt comfortable with the tasting, but the theory questions were very hit or miss. While I was very happy with some of the questions, I felt pretty awful about others. But even before I knew if I had passed or not, I decided to keep writing, and was surprised to find that there were a few people reading.
I set about to put a bit of structure into my writing. I started keeping track of grapes in a quest to taste 100 varietal wines. I decided each post should address the grapes, region and producer of the wine in question, and have largely stuck to that. I even set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account for the site, which saw an incremental increase in readership.
When I found I that I had passed my WSET Diploma, I wrote up a series of posts with tips for other students based on my experience. I also decided to ask permission from Jancis Robinson and the WSET to make available a set of links to the Oxford Companion to Wine mirroring Diploma course materials, which allowed me to study without having to flip back and forth between two printed books. While it turned out to be slightly more work than I had anticipated, I’ve been very pleased with the result and I like to think it’s been useful to other students.
So a year on, I’ve written 240 posts. That includes 169 wine reviews covering 18 different countries. I’ve tasted 94 different grapes, 73 of them as varietals. My most popular review when originally posted was the Marchand & Burch French Collection Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009 where I ranted a bit about biodynamic practices. For reasons that I can’t explain, my most read overall has been Villa Jolanda Prosecco – people search for the wine every day and end up here.
And while the notes I write here are still largely so I can keep track of what I’ve been drinking, the number of visitors has been ticking over slowly. I’ve had 35,000 visitors from 160 countries, which I’m sure is less than most sites get in a day, but if each one of them gave me a penny I’d be able to buy a decent bottle of Champagne.
That’s a year, come and gone. I’ve enjoyed the time and effort that’s gone into this site, so I have every intention of keeping at it. I don’t have any firm plans for the next year, except of course to finish the quest for a century of varietal wines. Once that is done, I’m sure I’ll think of something else to do next. Thank you for reading.