Winehiker’s Top 100

Just for ducks, I felt like compiling a list of countries from which I receive attention from readers. Whether they click over to Winehiker Witiculture from a wine or hiking blog, from social networks such as,, or mybloglog, a news aggregator/reader such as Bloglines, or whether my readers are finding me via Google search, it’s interesting to note just where the hits just keep on coming from.

The chart below is arranged by percentage, or “country share,” e.g., most hits per country to least. It changes nominally each day based on new user activity.

Country Share

Someday I hope to break this chart down into those users who love wine vs. those users who love hiking. But that might set me back a few simoleans, since I’ll need all sorts of whizbang gimcrackery (i.e., metrics software) to dissect that kind of data.

Heck, maybe I don’t have to go to all that trouble! I’ll instead make an educated guess. And then I’ll just assume that all my readers simply love winehiking.




It’s Wine Blog Election Day! Make your vote count.

Many event planners in the wine industry favor Eric V. Orange’s Local Wine Events website to announce and list their wine-related events.

And well they should. After all, with 83,274 wine tasting and food listings since July 2000 (and counting), Eric’s site has been the go-to place for people who wish to find good wine- and food-related events around the nation. With articles, events, a classified section, and hundreds of events listed by locale, it’s easy to find a wine country dinner, a tasting, a barrel sampling, and more near where you are.

You don't have to wait until a Tuesday in November. On LocalWineEvents, you can vote for your favorite wine blog every day!I’ve even posted winehiking events here, too, and I plan to post a whole lot more in the coming year.

Now, Mr. Orange (who calls himself “EVO”) has introduced a list of wine blogs on his site. What’s more, he’s allowed his readership to vote on their favorite blog (or blogger), which readers can do once every day if they’ve a mind to.

I hope you’ve a mind to! As I write this post, Winehiker Witiculture is listed as Number 19 on a list of 24 blogs. If you enjoy reading Winehiker Witiculture as much as I enjoy writing it, here’s a way in which you can show your appreciation and help me gain some welcome visibility.

You can vote anonymously. You’ll also send a message to readers of Local Wine Events that winehiking events are worth taking note of.

I sure appreciate your support, and I thank you a thousand barriques in advance!


Go ahead: rate my blog (please!)

Good morning, class!  I have an easy assignment for you today. And if you drop your pencils and do it right now, there won’t be any homework tonight!

Just follow the simple directions below.

Ready?  Begin!

  1. Click this link.
  2. In the new web page that you see, under Review/Rate, add your first name in the Author field.
  3. Write any comments you’d like people to read in the Comments field.
  4. Select 10 for a numerical rating.  (Well, OK: select any number that you feel is appropriate as it regards my blog’s value to you.)
  5. Enter the 6-character Security code that you see in the box.
  6. Click Rate This Blog!

Wasn’t that easy, class?  Yes?  Good!

And now, it’s time for recess!


A global photography community worth a snapshot…

…if not a thousand words.

Dragonfly and grapes.

Dragonfly and grapes.

I discovered a resource for photographers in which they can each submit and journalize their own photography, critique others’ work, discuss photography issues in a forum, and organize it all in themes and categories.  It’s called, and its database of photographs is often exquisitely beautiful and captivating, as you can see by the fine capture of this wine-country dragonfly.

Created by Alan Silverman in October 2002, TrekEarth’s scope is to:

Learn more about the world through photography. TrekEarth fosters this by allowing photographers to display their work grouped by regions in a supportive and orderly environment. Since TrekEarth is globally oriented, it is completely multilingual-capable, allowing for the widest audience possible. Ultimately, TrekEarth depends on the civility, honesty and participation of its members.

I like the easy photo-browsing capability and the resolution of the many shots submitted from numerous far-flung locales around the world. If you enjoy photography, here’s a place where you can learn more about composition, light, contrast, lenses, and all of the other essentials that a photographer’s forum should offer. Enjoy!


Page strength of

I regularly read an ezine from Larry Chase, who operates a site called Web Digest For Marketers. In his current issue, Mr. Chase lists a number of Search Engine Optimization tools, one of which is a web page analysis tool from

According to Larry, this tool:

“…was designed to give marketers a quick, one-stop, bird’s eye view of just how “strong” a given page on your website really is. The analysis is based upon a number of interesting factors, including the number of human-created mentions your website has ( tags, Alexa Rank, mentions at Wikipedia, etc.), how old your website is, the quality of your site’s inbound links and a variety of search engine-based results (the number of pages indexed, internal link percent, PageRank, etc.).”

I thought I’d punch up and see the results of the tool’s analysis of my website’s home page.

In effect, the result was: The current page strength of from

The’s results page goes on to state:

“Although not a considerable presence, your site/page is making inroads online. Visitor traffic and search engine visibility is within your grasp.”

I think that’s pretty good, considering my site is only 8 months old. But I’m going to keep working it. As I continue to gain more subscribers to this blog and links from other related sites, I’ll revisit this analysis and report the findings.

If you have a website, you might also want to check out how much pull you’ve got out there on the Great Bucksaw that is the Internet.


Spring 2006 issue of “Wine Hiking” published

If you subscribe to Wine Hiking, the official newsletter of California Wine Hikes, you received your Spring 2006 issue in your Inbox over the past weekend. Published in HTML and Plain Text formats, Wine Hiking announces news about California Wine Hikes and lists a number of exciting tours that we’re offering in 2006.

If you are subscribed to Wine Hiking but didn’t receive your Spring 2006 issue, it may have gone to your bulk mail folder. To avoid that happening in the future, you’ll want to add “” to your email account’s address book so that you receive it in your Inbox next time.

In the meantime, you can view the Spring 2006 issue here. We hope you enjoy reading Wine Hiking and will book your next escape to the California wine country with us soon!


Buyer Beware: Online Website Marketing Tools

If you have a website that you intend to market on the Internet via search engines (such as Google) and directories (such as Yahoo!), I have a little advice for you.

If you prefer to submit your site the hard way, you can try to find the hundreds of site-submittal pages yourself, or you can hire someone to “hand submit” for you. If you choose the former, you’ll spend needless hours researching, then keying in different data into countless gateway scripts. If you choose the latter, like I originally did with, you may be repeatedly charged for a subscription that is not mentioned anywhere on their “Buy Now” page.

In the case of, after I saw the subsequent charge and complained, they refused to reverse the charges, claiming (of course) that I agreed to a monthly subscription. I returned to the site I bought their service from and found no mention whatsover about any subscription, nor any mention about repeated monthly charges. I feel that sort of business tactic is inherently, if not incredibly, dishonest. Unfortunately it is all too common on the World Wide Web.

So, I suggest you make it easy on your time and your pocketbook. But most of all (emphasis strongly implied), do not do business with, ever. Period.

Now for the good news. I’ve come to learn about a very cost-effective site that helped me. With, I was able to submit my website, California Wine Hikes, to a number of search engines and directories without a lot of work, and with very little cost. For a one-time fee of $10, I not only could submit to all the major engines and directories, but I can also track the status of my submittals, optimize for the search engines’ spiders, and much more. There is also a lot of great content on the site to learn from. Using this nearly-free and valuable service, I’ve been able to elevate my page ranking in Google from 1 to 5 almost instantly.

If interests you, I suggest you check it out.


Too many cookies in the jar

Dagnabbit! I shoulda grabbed a snafubar.

Dagnabbit! I shoulda grabbed a snafubar.

Folks, in case you’re wondering why you haven’t seen a blog post from me lately, it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve had a problem logging in to my WordPress account, and hadn’t been able to resolve it until tonight. Apparently it came down to a cookie in my temporary Internet cache that had crumbled! So, having now deleted all cookies, I find I’m able to once again log in.

I’ll be posting more winehiker witiculture soon, so stay tuned, and thanks for hanging in there!


There’s a future in Wine Hiking

The quintessential California Wine Hikes moment.

The quintessential California Wine Hikes moment.


I’ve recently invited a number of the people in my life, both present and past, to take note of my new endeavor, and to subscribe to the forthcoming premier issue of my newsletter, Wine Hiking. I am not only delighted with the responses I’ve been receiving, but also tickled to read so many of your encouraging words. It’s been especially nice to hear from folks I haven’t seen or talked to since high school! I sure hope we find a way to enjoy some time again together. You know, I believe I’ve got a way to do that with California Wine Hikes.

If Winehiker Witiculture is a chronicle of things experienced, Wine Hiking is a promise of what’s to come. Those of you who read this blog are welcome to taste what’s fermenting in the wine-hiking barrel by signing up for our premier issue. If you like what you read here, chances are you’ll enjoy reading Wine Hiking. Simply go to the California Wine Hikes website, enter your first name and email address, and zip-zip-zip, you’ll be all queued up and ready. Wine Hiking should arrive in your inbox by February 1st.


The man deserves a good word

In my first post, you may have read about Kevin McNeese, the web developer who built my website. Now that it is live, I thought I’d share what Kevin has to say about our site on his portfolio page.

We are pleased to announce that our new site for is now live. The company, based in Sunnyvale, CA, offers guided hikes, wine tastings, fine dining and accommodations in the California wine country with a series of rotating scheduled events. The new website, our 73rd design and our most complex database we’ve built to date, allows the company to completely control the content of the site as well as add and feature tours. The site will continue to grow in development in 2006. Database solutions provided by QualityClix.

Here’s what I had to say about Kevin:

“I chose to work with KMWeb Designs because I was immediately impressed with the design and functionality represented in the company’s portfolio as well as the spectrum of services it offered. Principal designer Kevin McNeese’s cogent up-front questions and very reasonable fees were also compelling. I wanted to build a site that would set new standards for usability and e-commerce in the active travel market, and therefore outshine my competitors. Having been involved in corporate website usability issues, I was just dangerous enough to present a challenge for Kevin, but he was ready for me. His tenacity, quick grasp of the big picture, fine understanding of the details, ability to create a strong presentation, keen willingness to learn, and calm “bedside manner” have combined to deliver a unique and engaging new website to the world. KMWeb Designs’ work represents my path to a rewarding future. It’s a real pleasure knowing that. Bravo!”