From Wine Blogger To Wine Writer

By all accounts of the participants I’ve talked to or read, Antonia Allegra’s "Symposium for Professional Wine Writers" is a great success.

The 3rd Annual SPWW happens February 20-23, 2007 again at Meadowood in Napa Valley. And for those of you who writer or read wine blogs, something very cool has occurred: Alder Yarrow of is one of the featured speakers.

Let me put this in context for you. Alder will appear as a featured speaker alongside the likes of Eric
(wine writer for the New York Times), Michael Bauer (Food Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle), Dan Berger (Editor at Large of Appellation America and one of America’s most importantAlder_1
wine writers), Anthony Dias Blue (One of the most prolific wine writers in America in the past 20 years), Elin McCoy (Longtime wine writer and the unofficial biographer of Robert Parker), Karen MacNeil (A great writer and one of the foremost wine educators in America), and Jerry Shriver (Wine writer for USA Today, America’s largest circulation daily newspaper).

I guess what I’m getting at is that the pre-eminent wine blogger has been elevated to a position alongside some of America’s pre-eminent wine writers. I like the implications!

For two or three years there has been a feeling of "novelty" surrounding wine bloggers. Clearly the newness of the medium and the largely unknown quantity of the bloggers themselves has led to this view of the genre. Add to that the hype that has surrounded blogging in general during this period and the novel character of wine blogging makes sense.

But I think we are moving out of the Novelty Stage and Adler’s inclusion as a speaker at the PWWS is one very good indication. But there’s more too. The medium itself has been embraced by a number of print journalists whose beat is wine (Asimov, Boone of the Press Democrat, Bonne of MSNBC, Fisher of Dayton Daily News, Feiring of Time). Also, we see wineries beginning to reach out to wine bloggers with samples, invitations to events and simply adding them to the media lists that are use by a number of folks to distribute press releases.

How wine blogging has emerged to this point is undoubtedly a result of the readers of blogs. You guys tend to spread the word of something good, something found, or something new in a way decidedly more evangelistically than the typical consumer of wine writing. Wine bloggers too are an amazingly congenial bunch that have gone out of their way to promote their peers and helped raise one another’s profile.

What’s left to do? We need a breakout wine blog. A "must read" not merely for those who readily look to the Internet for insight, but also for those who consume wine reviews on a regular basis including retailers, restaurateurs and wineries. When this blog emerges, it will left others around it. But that’s for the future.

For now, readers of Vinography and other wine bloggers can take certain amount of pride in seeing Alder featured at the SPWW. He is the right person for job. The added benefit, from the perspective of the world of wine bloggers, is that hes co-speakers and all those other writers at the Symposium will take note of the level to which wine bloggers can rise.


6 Responses

  1. Alder - September 29, 2006

    Thanks for the kind and thoughtful words! I’m thrilled to be taking part in this event for all the reasons you mention. And I will certainly be blogging about what happens.

  2. Alder - September 29, 2006

    P.S. I’m not the first wine blogger to appear at this conference. Derrick Schneider of Obsession With Food did a presentation on blogs last year.

  3. Tim - October 2, 2006

    Why isn’t Vinography that “breakout” wine blog right now? What other criteria are you looking for here Tom? I consider Alder the “Robert Parker of wine bloggers” and would think most others in the wine blog world would agree. I do concur that him speaking at PWWS is a very good thing for the genre… congrats, Alder!

  4. tom - October 2, 2006

    Hey Tim…
    When I say “break out” I’m thinking of a blog that is a must read for those involved in wine and for wine geeks a la Spectator, Parker, Wine & Spirits, Connoissuers Guide, or Tanzer. I’m thinking of the kind of blogger that helps sell wines because their reviews show up on case cards and shelf talkers an bottle neckers.
    I think Alder could get there, but I think he’d have to alter the way he approaches reviews of wine. Right now they are tremendous undertakings that are just gorgeous. With some self promotion, writing about 50 to 100 reviews per week, using the 100 point scale, and making sure the wineries knew of reviews of their wines at Vinography Alder could make a run at it.

  5. Lenn - October 2, 2006

    Obviously this is great news…first Derrick invaded the event and now Alder as well.
    In some ways, I’d hate to see this “breakout” blog as you describe it. I don’t know many wine bloggers who think that way (and I think I’ve read most of em)…and I’d hate to see someone like Alder change his formula.
    That leads me to believe that one of the old, dried up publications would be the first to create this “super blog”…and who wants to read more drivel from them? 😉

  6. johnybestftom - November 12, 2008

    It is not out-of-date information? Because I have other data on this theme.

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