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09.29.2004

The State of Wine Writing and What Wine Writers Think

In my weekly trolling of all things wine, I recently came across this interesting article from Wine Business Weekly. It presents the result of a yearly study of wine writing and writers in America.

The study is a good brush across the surface of wine writing today with several obvious gaps. The first is the simplistic dismissal of the Internet as simply a delivery mechanism for writing originating elsewhere. While it's no surprise that people in the industry aren't yet clued into blogs like this one, its surprising they do not mention several increasingly reliable sources of wine information that are solely web based -- ranging from newsletters like those produced by Natalie Maclean to Mark Squires' e-zine to the interviews by Arthur P. Johnson at Wine People to the message boards at West Coast Wine.

Additionally the survey correctly points out that the majority of the wine writing in the states today is syndicated daily and weekly columns as well as magazines dedicated overwhelmingly to ratings and education in that order. This is, of course, no surprise, but it would have been really nice to know what else is out there -- after we've told people the difference between Pinot Chardonnay and Chardonnay and given them ten wines under $20 to buy, what else are we writing about?

Not-so-amazingly (damn that patriarchy) 76% of wine writers are male, but perhaps more surprisingly 91% are over 40 years of age and a full 60% are over 50! If we ever needed a reason why wine is still considered a stuffy upper-class drink, look no further. I'm happy to represent the (hopefully growing) segment of wine writers under 40.

Lots more interesting tidbits in the full article.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud