Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Wine writer vs. wine blogger

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 11:01 am in Uncategorized.

I’ve been given to musing lately on the differences between wine bloggers and wine writers. I’ve got one foot in the print world and the other in the blogosphere, after all, so I feel like I’m straddling two cultures. Guess it’s not unlike my childhood growing up as an Iranian-American.

Many wine writers write about the lifestyle of wine. They tend to assign numerical values to wines and more often than not gear their content to a holiday, season or PR push. Wine bloggers – the ones who take the time to do their research, anyway – are independent, go against the grain, and shake things up. They write about the way wine makes them feel because they have the luxury of throwing life into their writing. A blog post can include the presidential election, choosing the right preschool or why making wine is like a first date.

Wine bloggers fuel – or launch, really – wine movements. Despite the technological advances that fuel their media, they function in a pre-press-release world. Perhaps the great equalizers will be the big issues – climate change, global palatization, sustainability. Those need all of our attention and help.

I have great respect for wine writers like Jancis Robinson, Natalie Maclean and Jay Mcinerney. I think Maclean and Alice Feiring do a particularly good job of straddling writing and blogging . And I’d give one of my kidneys for any of their jobs. Still, I aspire to engage in the ways that Alder Yarrow, Tom Wark and Gary Vaynerchuk do. They don’t make a fuss. It is what it is in the glass. Oh, Gary and Alder also have insanely sweet consulting gigs, but anyway, I digress.

I struggle because I like the credibility that comes with a wine writer business card. I get paid an annual salary to do this. But I love the potential and infinite possibilities of introducing myself as a wine blogger. Sometimes, I wish my print colleagues understood my job better. When they see me lugging cases of unsolicited wine samples, they crack jokes instead of lending a hand.

I am very much a wine blogger in the sense that I pay out of pocket to properly store the wines sent to me for review. But I am a wine writer in the sense that I complain about it. Either way, I figure if this double wine life goes anything like my childhood and cross-cultural upbringing, I should turn out just fine.

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  • Natalie MacLean

    Hi Jessica,

    Great post and I’ll share kidneys (or livers) with you anytime :) You make some interesting points here. The more I write about wine, the more I find that issues such as climate change, the meaning of organic/biodynamic and so on, engage me more than the lifestyle puff, even though the latter may be necessary to put bread (and wine) on the table.

    Bloggers certainly are stirring the pot and I’m a huge believer in the power of the Internet, having had a site now for more than 10 years. I love that nanosecond connection with readers that you just don’t get in print. It keeps my grounded and slakes my intellectual thirst.

    Nat Decants Wine Newsletter

  • Jessica Yadegaran

    Agreed. I like the balance myself too. And you are one of the leaders of writing about how wine makes you feel. Mentioned that in my review of your book on Vinography. There’s a line there that I always think of, it’s a winemaker in Burgundy, I believe, leaning his head back on an imaginary pillow after taking a sip of the good stuff. Or maybe it was your head? Anyway, the image stays with me.

  • Alder Yarrow

    Thanks for the props Jessica! Blogging is better than writing because you can use four letter words. Writing is better than blogging because you can buy food when you get paid.

  • http://ibabuzz/corkheads Jessica

    True dat buddy. Wise. wise.

  • Kate Jones

    Hi Jessica,
    I enjoyed meeting you at the conference (I was with Nancy Brown). It’s fascinating to find out that so many wine writers are also wine bloggers. I didn’t realize the extent of this until the conference. I find your musings on the two roles very informative, and look forward to spending more time on various blogs. I must admit that this is the first time I have ever left a comment on a blog site.

  • http://ibabuzz/corkheads Jessica

    Thanks for the note Kate.

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  • http://none Wine Investigator

    Nice post Jessica

  • http://ibabuzz/corkheads Jessica