A Survey of Significance In the World of Wine Publishing
I’ve been arguing for some time now that we live in the Golden Age of Wine Writing. My case is made in this fashion: 1) Never before has the wine lover had access to so much wine information. 2) Never before has the wine lover had access to such a diversity of wine voices from which to choose. 3) Never before has the wine lover had access to such a diversity of wine related subject matter. 4) Never before has the wine lover had access to so many talented wine voices.
I’m happy to debate any of these points with anyone who wants to dispute them and I’m sure I’ll take that debate going way. But what I’ve not mentioned before and what I’m sure is equally true is that today’s most important and successful wine publishers are living in the Golden Age of Wine Writing Talent.
This was driven home to me when Jancis Robinson reached out to me to help her get the word out that she had hired Alder Yarrow of Vinography.com to be a new columnist and contributor to JancisRobinson.com, one of the most successful online wine publications in the world.
Started in 2000, JancisRobinson.com immediately gained a significant following for the access that it gave to Jancis herself, one of the most celebrated and accomplished wine writers of the 20th century. She followed up the launch of JancisRobinson.com with the launch of her Purple Pages in 2001, a subscription-based section of JancisRobinson.com that has become one of the only truly successful pay-to-read wine sites on the Internet.
Here’s the thing. It’s not significant that Alder Yarrow, one of the best wine bloggers, has a new writing gig. And its not significant that Jancis Robinson is augmenting her website with new writing talent to help cover the American wine scene. However, it is significant that Jancis Robinson reached into the wine blogosphere to tap Alder Yarrow to be that new columnist and it is an action that underscores my points that we are living in the Golden Age of Wine Writing and the Golden Age of Wine Writing Talent.
The advent of Low/No Cost publishing, particularly via the blogging platform, demonstrates that there exists around the world a bevy of writing talent that chooses to focus on wine. And what’s important to understand is that it is not the development of the blogging publishing platform that has given rise to this writing talent. This bevy of writing talent has always been with us. But prior to easy publishing, this pool of talent had practically no way of putting their prose and thoughts on wine in front of the wine-loving world. And, they had little or no way of letting those that publish wine-related information know of their existence.
Publishers like Jancis Robinson, M Shanken Communications, Wine & Spirits Magazine, Wine Business Publications, Conde Nast, Decanter, TimeWarner or any other major publication or publisher now have a significantly increased pool of writing talent to reach into—due to the blogosphere.
Jancis has known this for some time as in addition to being a prolific and busy writer, she has also been a keen observer of the wine media world. It is not insignificant that she appeared as the keynote speaker at this year’s North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia. Among the established wine writers around the world, Jancis had been one of the closest watchers of the development of the wine blogging community. Those of us who know Ms. Robinson aren’t so surprised that she reached into the blogosphere to choose a new contributor to her publishing venture. And those of us who have read Alder Yarrow at Vinography since its founding in 2004 aren’t surprised that Jancis reached out to him.
Yet, this move is significant because it is one more endorsement of the wine writing talent that exists across the wine blogosphere. This is not the first time that an established publisher has reached into the wine blogosphere to find wine writing talent to augment their offering to their readership. And it won’t be the last time, either. Who will be surprised that when Eric Asimov or Jon Bonne or Jim Laube or Steve Heimoff or Bill Daley or Peg Melnik or Cyril Penn retire, their parent publications choose someone from the wine blogging world to replace them?