In the past I have noted the decline of print as the medium of choice in the wine writing marketspace. We still have a number of wine magazines available to wine lovers but the pressure is on for these publications as the Internet and social media become more widely accepted across all generations of consumers. These digital media mean reduced readership and advertising revenues for traditional print, just as the newspaper sector is experiencing.
I wrote in my Newsletter about wine on the Internet a few years ago. In that note I highlighted Robin Garr, Natalie MacLean, Eric Asimov and Jamie Goode as being at the vanguard of quality, informed wine commentary. All four writers are still active and I follow them with some regularity.
Eric Asimov and Jamie Goode have changed their approach to the web in the meantime: both now are active bloggers. Blogging is a phenomenon that has blossomed since I wrote my article, meaning there are now more blogs than readers for those blogs. This is because most blogs are platforms for self-styled journalists who have a point of view they want to express – like this blog – and most people have no interest in that point of view – unlike this blog, I hope.
While many blogs are narrow and ill-informed there is a professional character to other blogs that makes them reliable and more current than any magazine will ever be. These are the blogs that often are written by former print media writers and which use RSS feeds to notify subscribers of updates. Other blogs are the work of knowledgeable subject-matter experts who never had a platform before the web and who have now established their credentials to wide audiences who follow them more closely than any other resource.
The world of wine is well-served by both types of author – former print – and never-printed – and I follow closely many of these sites. My favourites are the following:
This blog is written by Tyler Colman, an influential wine writer who is based in Chicago. He is authoritative on wine matters: he teaches wine courses at NYU and the University of Chicago; he contributes to the Oxford Companion to Wine; he writes for many national publications; he has written academic papers on the economics and sustainability practices in the wine industry, etc. Tyler studied political economy at Northwestern University and his PhD. dissertation examined the comparative political economy of the French and American wine industries. Tyler was one of two American wine writers to participate in the first Landmark Tutorial in Australia in June 2009. His site is an award winner, is very topical and well-written. Tyler is a writer worth following. http://www.drvino.com/
The Wine Economist
Another site written by an academic, Mike Veseth, a professor of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound. The Wine Economist describes itself as a cross between The Economist magazine and Wine Spectator. The content is always entertaining and the coverage is wide-ranging: book reviews, market trends, marketing, people, etc. http://wineeconomist.com/ This blog is distinctly more readable than the Economist magazine!
This is a site written and photographed by a Paris-based photographer: Bertrand Celce. This is a beautiful site to look at with a strong French bias in its content. Bertrand travels to wine country on weekends to taste and chat with winemakers, take some pictures and publish his comments and photos when he returns home. He is a good writer and he allows us to travel with him and learn about wines as he travels. He has an understated style that makes readers feel they there with him as he travels. http://www.wineterroirs.com/
Evelyne Resnick is a consultant in wine marketing and communications who has recently written a book (Wine Brands, of course) on marketing wine in the age of the Internet. She is based in Paris and teaches wine and food courses in France. There is a clear trend in blogging: Evelyne, too, is an academic who completed her PhD. at the Sorbonne in the mid 1980’s. Her articles are global in content and while they have a marketing bias, she is also an observer of social trends and how they affect wine markets. http://www.winebrandsblog.com/
Heimoff is a writer who has written several books on California wines and winemakers and who has enjoyed a twenty-year career in wine journalism, first with Wine Spectator and subsequently with Wine Enthusiast magazine. His blog covers everything in wine, not just California. The content is presented in a breezy style and is of interest to readers of all levels of wine knowledge. This site is entertaining and thought-provoking. http://www.steveheimoff.com/
These people don’t have the name recognition of many commentators but they represent a world of writers who have influence: they can write what they think without concern for advertiser sensitivities; they have loyal followers in the industry who listen and respond; they inform consumers and help them make better choices. Most importnatly, these are relaible writers: their blog content can be trusted. You can’t say that of every blogger…
Welcome to the world of Wine 2.0.
Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2011.