Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Wall Street Journal lays off wine columnists

By Jessica Yadegaran
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 at 5:39 pm in Uncategorized.

The news slapped me awake this morning, almost like a cork popping in my face. The Wall Street Journal laid off wine columnists John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, easily two of my favorite American wine writers. In their final column on Christmas Day, they announced their departure from the Wall Street Journal.

I read about it on Vinography, which also has a really good discussion on the demise of professional wine journalism.

Our newspaper(s) has not been immune to these sorts of layoffs and budget cuts. But I have to say, I am proud of the way they’ve handled it. We seem to have a system that works.

As most of you know, I started writing about wine five years ago. I was allowed to take on wine on the condition that I still fulfill my obligations as a general assignment features writer, punting on food, nightlife, art, psychology, health, or whatever else came up.

At first, I was disappointed because I was passionate about wine and wanted to cover it and only it. But I have to say, writing on these other beats has brought context to my wine writing (as much as we’d like to imagine a bottle of our favorite wine on a pedestal, it is not above us but all around us; part of culture and geography and science). The balance has kept a sense of enthusiasm in my voice and kept out the jargon and snobbery often associated with wine and wine writing.

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  • http://beer-runner.blogspot.com Derrick

    “But I have to say, writing on these other beats has brought context to my wine writing (as much as we’d like to imagine a bottle of our favorite wine on a pedestal, it is not above us but all around us; part of culture and geography and science). The balance has kept a sense of enthusiasm in my voice and kept out the jargon and snobbery often associated with wine and wine writing.”

    I can imagine, because I find some writers who specialize, be it in in sports, wine, beer, business, or whatever, often seem so narrowly focussed, you never get the big picture of what they are writing about, and their writing comes across as rather one-dimensional, and often misses either the human aspect, or lacks any universal appeal.

  • jyadegaran

    Yeah, I totally agree.

  • Billy La Rocque

    I have missed John and Dorothy’s weekend column. They were fun to read and gave very good reviews on both inexpensive and expensive wines.