Wine Reviews With Only 17 Words!
Boy, have I ever gained respect over the past few days for those folks who write reviews of wines in wine magaznes and newsletters.
I’ve been working on a rush job for a wine catalog. Much of the writing entails describing wines. The thing is, every wine needing a description comes with a maximum word count that I can use. In many cases that word count is no more than 17 words!!
This is a very difficult task. It would be made easier had I chosen to simply offer descriptions of the wines such as: "deep purple hues, blackberry and cassis aromas, notes of cedar. Firm structure leading to long supple finish"(17 words).
However, I’ve made an effort to include context into the descriptions, meaning I’ve wanted to give the readers a sense of where the producer or the wine stand, rank or mean in the context of their category, region or history. AND, I’ve tried to offer some descriptive elements for the wine.
In 17 words in many cases.
If you take a look at Jim Laube’s (Wine Spectator), Steve Heimoff’s (Wine Enthusiast) or Joshua Greene’s (Wine & Spirits Magazine) reviews you find that they average something around 30 – 35 words per review. Wine & Spirits seem to be just a tad longer than that. And in all these cases highly ranked wines are written up with more words and lower rated wines with fewer words. But look at the number of reviews these guys write.
I can’t imagine this is their favorite part of the job. I could be wrong about that, since it clearly is a challenge. And, perhaps I’m taken with the difficulty of the job of describing a wine in just 17 words because I don’t take into account that these folks do it all the time and likely are quite good at working in a small economy word environment. Either way, I’m impressed with how they do it.
Try it sometime. Try to write a meaningful review or description of a wine you really liked with 17 to 30 words. Try to convey your appreciation for and the character of the wine.