Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership

Who are you? The Wine Rambler 2012 Web Stats and Reflections on Wine Blog Readership

Do you know who you are? We do! Should you ever have an identity crisis please do come back to this post for some reasurance regarding your identity. Now, before you get all excited and ask where you can join our new cult group I should probably qualify that: we do not know who you personally might be, but we know a little something about you collectively. And that is because we Wine Ramblers, like many others who run websites, do occasionally analyse visitor statistics.

If today you came here to find inspiration about German (or other) wine I must disappoint you, but if you are curious about who else came to us for ramblings in 2012 please do read on.

2012 was a good year, at least if you like to boost your ego with increasing numbers: compared to 2011 the number of unqiue visitors went up by 20.35%. This has been a general trend since we started the Wine Rambler, although there are specific reasons for 2012 as well. The average visitor looks at 1.6 pages during their stay - which shows that we are mostly seen as a blog and less as a database source - and that takes them 01:11 min, at least according to Google Analytics, the software we use.

2012 visitors by country
2012 visitors by country

It is interesting to see where these visitors come from geographically. When we started most of our readers came from Germany, which is not surprising with our main subject area, with the UK a close second. Very soon though the UK readership overtook the Germans, I think partly through the fact that we have developed a good UK network over the past few years, partly through Twitter. For a while the US readership was #3 but over time they overtook the Germans and this year we have had more American readers than Germans and British combined. We will come to the reason for that soon.

2012 visitors by city
2012 visitors by city

Interestingly, we can also break down the visitors by city. London is in the lead with 6.8%, followed by another English speaking metropolis - New York City 2.8%. Munich being number 3 cannot be a surprise as that is the city where our German network is strongest, but I was surprised to see that the small city of Zeist beat Berlin in the ranking. Would the Wine Rambler fans in Zeist please stand up?

How do you find us? Most visitors come to us through search engines, around 71%. 13% click on links on other pages and 16% seem to have us bookmarked or do type in the URL directly.

traffic sources
traffic sources

The percentage of referring sites and direct traffic has gone down over the past couple of years, despite an actual increase in the numbers - it is just that the number of those of you who come to us through search engines has increased even more. Looking at the most popular search terms and also at the most visited pages can tell us why this is. First the Top 20 of search terms used to find the Wine Rambler in 2012:

  1. liebfraumilch
  2. wine rambler
  3. kung fu girl wine
  4. liebfraumilch rheinhessen
  5. piesporter
  6. black tower rivaner
  7. http://www.winerambler.net/
  8. weingut salwey
  9. winerambler
  10. willi schaefer
  11. wine with pheasant
  12. j.b. becker
  13. bodegas aalto
  14. black tower wine
  15. liebfraumilch qualitätswein
  16. rivaner wine
  17. knipser kabinett trocken 2011
  18. the wine rambler
  19. chablis vs chardonnay
  20. chablis wine taste

Looking at this list can tell us a few things. First of all a surprisingly large number of visitors do know that we exist but either cannot remember the URL or are too lazy to type it in and instead rely on Google to find us. Then there are a some generic topics that are generally popular: Chablis for instance and wine and food matching; also, a few wineries that attract international attention, for instance Salwey.
Pretty much every other search term however relates to an area of German wine we would much rather people would not know about, the cheap, mass-produced German wine brands and types that have done so much to damage Germany's international reputation: Liebfraumilch, Black Tower, Rivaner (another name for the Müller-Thurgau grape) and Piesporter. Like it or not but the majority of people who search for German wine on the internet, at least as far as our sample of a few tens of thousands shows, are interested in wines that wine snobs and geeks would consider no go areas. This is also reflected in the most popular individual pages (excluding the front and wine overview pages) on the Wine Rambler:

  1. /blog/liebfraumilch-piesporter-blue-nun-german-supermarket-wine-blindtasting-self-experimentation
  2. /wine/kung-fu-girl-riesling-2009
  3. /wine/liebfraumilch-rheinhessen-qualitaetswein
  4. /about-wine-rambler
  5. /blog/matching-food-wine-oven-roast-pheasant-pinot-noir
  6. /wine/black-tower-rivaner-2008
  7. /blog/beyond-liebfraumilch-exploring-diversity-german-wine-germany-unplugged-2012-tasting
  8. /blog/wine-myth-sweet-wine-makes-you-fat-or-why-fruity-german-riesling-good-diet
  9. /wine/black-tower-pinot-grigio-2008
  10. /blog/taste-chablis
  11. /blog/gulps-glory-our-top-five-german-wines-2011
  12. /blog/whats-wrong-commercial-wine-photography-photographic-guest-ramble-andreas-durst
  13. /blog/why-i-will-never-buy-dell-computer-again
  14. /blog/searching-soul-riesling-reflections-mosel-magic-wines-st-urbans-hof
  15. /blog/pain-drink-review-le-froglet-wine-glass-marks-spencer

Again, wine and food related pages feature, as does the post I wrote a while ago on wine and calories. As expected from the search terms we also find Chablis and some general interest in the Wine Rambler. It is very interesting to look at the other posts though. Even though we publish about three wine reviews to every one article it is the more general articles that are the most popular; this will not be a surprise as the number of people interested in one particular German wine will of course be much smaller than those who are looking for recipes and wine matches for pheasant or a review of a product from a large supermarket chain.

However, a few individual wines stand out and they hold the key to answering the two questions I have raised: why is our American readership increasing and why do more visitors come to our site through search engines? If you look at the top wine review posts and even some of the most popular blog posts you will notice that "Liebfraumilch" features prominently. The same goes for the "Black Tower" brand and also a Riesling with the dramatic name "Kung Fu Girl". These are all very popular brands, partly in the UK but especially in the USA.
Basically, by writing about these popular wines we seem to have attracted a new type of reader to the Wine Rambler, the mostly US but also UK based, infamous "average" wine drinker. They are looking for information on Liebfraumilch, Black Tower or Kung Fu Girl Riesling, read the particular page on our site and then disappear again, many of them never to return as they have found what they were looking for (or perhaps rather not, my reviews of these wines don't tend to be very encouraging).

You are of course not likely to read this, but a warm welcome to you, average wine consumer. I hope we will in the future be able to tempt you to look beyond Liebfraumlich!

And to close with an amusing fact: our 2011 review of an outstanding grower Champagne is the page that visitors stayed on longest: 29:46 minutes on average. Let's hope that is a sign of them feeling to urge to buy and open a bottle of fizz while reading the review and not a sign that our sparkling writing is likely to put our readers to sleep!

Submitted by Colin Monday, 28/01/2013

I confess that I came across your blog via a search for Liebfraumilch, after wondering one day why it has its somewhat unique reputation. (And you saved me the trouble of tasting it myself.) But I stayed, and have been an RSS subscriber for nearly a year now, so don't despair too much about your most viewed pages!

Submitted by Julian Monday, 28/01/2013

In reply to by Colin

That's lovely, Colin, many thanks for your encouragement. Torsten does all the stats, cogs and wheels on the Rambler, so it's really he that should comment here. Myself having been absent from the blog these few weeks, though, I'm really glad to hear from people who don't come for the quick fix, as it were, but enjoy what we're trying to do here over the longer term.

Submitted by torsten Monday, 28/01/2013

In reply to by Colin

Thank you for taking the time to comment, Colin. It is really good to meet some of the readers we can track in our stats but don't know much else about. I am happy to hear that you found something that interests you here. Also, just for the record, Liebfraumilch used to be an outstanding vineyard - until the law was changed so that pretty much every wine could be labelled as such. I still plan to taste an original Liebfraumilch and maybe then we will find a wine that reflects the unique reputation - in a good way!

Also, I don't despise about the statistics. Yes, quite a few of those who randomly find us through search engines move on after, but others come back. When we started this we did not expect that was essential was (or is) a dialogue between two friends separated by hundreds of miles and a few borders would attract hundreds of readers every day. Cheers to all of you!

Submitted by S.M. Monday, 28/01/2013

No I didn't look up Liebfraumilch, no I didn't look up sweet Riesling or any of this other rubbish. I came across the Wine Rambler while reading Wine Searcher and it was a good find.

I think that although its beyond sad how most people come across this blog, but the end result is the most important; as if you get just a few people telling their friends, family members and acquaintances saying the following:

"There is a wonderful world of German wine beyond that plonk of Liebfraumilch, Black Tower and other rubbish. If you want to play it safe then drink Riesling in all of it's many hues and tastes. Then if you're truly brave try some great aged Spatburgunder Spatlese and have a real grand time".

Yes, German wine has a pretty bad rap, but let's not forget where other wine regions and countries were at 10, 20, 30 years ago and where they are at today. If others can re-invent and re-brand than so can we and we had better do it soon, before the South Africans and Portuguese leave us in the dust!

Submitted by torsten Monday, 28/01/2013

In reply to by S.M.

Thank you for sharing this, Solomon. As I mentioned in my comment above I am not really concerned that so many people search for Liebfraumilch or Black Tower. After all those who search for these wines are at least curious and willing to do a little research. Maybe one day they will feel more adventurous. So I guess I agree with you, every single person convinced to enjoy wine is a good thing!

Submitted by Julian Monday, 28/01/2013

Based on the special features of the Champagne posting that you mentioned, here's what I think took people so long:

1. Listen to Oasis song
2. Go to dictionary to puzzle out cool Latin motto
3. Listen to Oasis all over again
4. Look for place to scribble down or file to save cool Latin motto
5. Look for more Latin mottos / Oasis videos, leaving browser window open
6. Reflect on laddism and classical education as two equally doomed social phenomena

Submitted by Paul Hillsmith Tuesday, 29/01/2013

Hi guys. What a sad inditement of the British knowledge and understanding of German wine, despite all the massive efforts of the DWI in both Mainz and London, however having spent 2 weeks back in the UK over Xmas and shopping in the dreadful supermarkets with my wife, it is obvious that Liebfraumilch still rules; the merchandising in stores still places this and it's Black Tower cousins in key positions on the shelf, and it's only in Waitrose with their army of MW's who are giving quality German wine the space it deserves. I would also add that my wonderful army of German winemaker friends do nothing for the general public to understand what is inside a bottle of "Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Spatlese Trocken Erstes Gewachs"' and now with the recently revised rules by the VDP it is becoming even more goddam difficult to fathom, and I'm not the only 1 saying this as I just spent 1 month back in September at 4 VDP auctions and without naming names, many of the top winemakers are aghast at these changes. These masters of winemaking need to understand that marketing plays a very important role in the sale of wine, and in all honesty if I was an English customer I too would play safe by only purchasing wines that I had a faint idea of what's inside. I noticed that Erni Loosen now sticks a "DRY" sticker on his GG's, an admirable start that it no way detracts from the usual illegible (and often artistically beautiful) wine label, how about the others follow suit? Or what about a "traffic light" system on the reverse as some Riesling makers in Australia follow? As you might guess I am a passionate devotee of German wine and Riesling in particular, and having lived in Asia for 17 years and sharing my German wines with both foreigners and locals, once you get a Mosel Riesling in the mouth of a Vietnamese or Thai person to go with their very light and delicate cuisine, you will have a follower for life. What do we need to do guys to spread the word?

Submitted by torsten Wednesday, 30/01/2013

In reply to by Paul Hillsmith

Thank you for your comment, Paul. I think the situation in the UK is not as bad as it may sound - depending on which market you are considering. There are new importers and a few wine merchants who really champion German wine, the wine trade is really interested and more and more sommeliers but German wine on their menus. However, here we are talking about the premium market. In the supermarkets (who control around 80% of the market), well, you have seen it.

Sadly I don't right now have the time to discuss this in more detail, but take a look at the "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" section in a lengthy article on Riesling and food matching and a summary on a panel on German wine in the UK.