‘Musician and graphic designer gone wine geek’, Madeline Puckette founded Wine Folly in 2011 with the goal of inspiring new drinkers through knowledge. Now a go-to for many wine enthusiasts, she tells us how she finds inspiration for her content and the secrets to successful blogging.
What originally inspired you to make a move into the world of wine?
Before wine, I studied art and music composition in Los Angeles, CA. Like many aspiring artists post-art school, I was in a constant state of developing my craft while trying to make a living. It wasn't until I lost my job as a graphic designer during the market crash of 2008 did I realize wine was a viable career choice.
I got a job washing glassware in a wine bar. As lowly as this may sound, it was awesome. I met so many amazing and talented people. I realized wine was a business I could devote myself to.
What did you learn about consumers in your previous roles as sommelier? Has it influenced your content on Wine Folly?
Most wine drinkers know bits and pieces about wine but lack the perspective to tie it all together. Because of this lack of perspective, we don't feel confident with our sense of taste. So, if there are two things that I consistently do for Wine Folly it's to help people become confident with their own sense of taste and their breadth of wine knowledge.
With such a vast topic as wine, how do you choose what to cover on Wine Folly?
I'm constantly asking people for their questions about wine! Additionally, as someone who has read a lot about wine, I continually try to question the status quo. Wine is a constantly changing topic and it won't evolve if we wine stewards do not do this sort of self-reflection.
How do you simplify complex topics for the consumer to easily digest without compromising on content?
I look at others who do the same for other industries. For example, I adore how Neil deGrasse Tyson simplifies astrophysics for beginners. Tyson acts as a gateway for people who want to know more; he makes astrophysics cool! My background in visual communication definitely helps.
So, if there are two things that I consistently do for Wine Folly it's to help people become confident with their own sense of taste and their breadth of wine knowledge.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own wine blog?
Well, I guess it depends on what kind of blog you want to start. If you are shooting for a full-stack informational site like Wine Folly, you'll probably want to work with some friends! That said, there is some amazing technology to help single individuals develop and run a blog to great success. Here are the pointers that have helped me:
1. Post consistently (about 2 times per week)
2. Create different themes until something sticks, then develop that into a consistent thing.
3. You will get flak from people, especially when you get noticed. Don't let this waver your core beliefs and values.
4. Create a monetization plan that is fair to your audience.
5. Quality is always better than quantity.
Follow Madeline @winefolly on Twitter & Instagram, or visit www.winefolly.com