The Secret To Wine Writing Success Revealed

sweetAs he often does, wine scribe Joe Roberts wrote something relevant the other day. He explained that for those considering how they might make a name for themselves, for their writing and for their wine knowledge through publishing, this person should strongly consider SPECIALIZING.

By this, Joe simply means it’s much easier to get the attention of potential readers if your authority and wine writing revolves around a specific subject within the wine niche, rather than trying to publish information that broadly falls under the larger subject heading of “Wine”. In other words, the writer looking to gain an audience for his wine thoughts and ideas is more likely to achieve a larger audience by writing regularly and authoritatively on “Zinfandel”, than just on “wine”.

I’ve heard this advice before. I’ve been in seminars where this advice is given. I’ve given this advice myself. But what you rarely hear is advice on exactly what niche wine subject is ripe for owning by a smart, new writer dreaming of success as an author or blogger. What you don’t hear is someone pointing out a subject area that has largely been ignored, but that is also ripe for extensive examination and exploration because it’s a fairly large niche. Identifying that kind of subject matter would be a gift to the wine loving writer that wants to make their mark.

This is what I’m going to do right now.


As far as I can tell, there is no wine blog, no online website, no wine competition and no book published in the past 25 years that focuses entirely on the world of SWEET WINES. Now, you may say, “Tom, there is a fine reason for that….no one cares about sweet wines, so no one will read about them.” You may be right. However, you aren’t.

Nearly every wine region in the world produces sweet wines. Many regions have their own special type of sweet wine in which they specialize. Sweet wines are made from numerous types of varieties. Sweet wines can be and are served and drunk with savory and sweet dishes. The ways by which sweet wines are produced vary tremendously. Some of the most famous wines in the world are sweet. Many sweet wines age and improve for years on end. Nearly every set menu ever created that pairs wine with food includes a sweet wine. Every wine list includes a Sweet Wine section.

As for myself, If I were inclined to write about wine for the benefit of drinkers, wine lovers and consumers, I would immediately dive into the world of sweet wines. I would review every sweet wine in the world. I would do vertical tastings of older sweet wines. I would write about special sweet wines from specific regions. I would examine the way sweet wines impact the palate. I would look at specific food and sweet wine pairings. I don’t think I would ever run out of material. Plus, I love sweet wine.

So, for those inclined to follow Joe Robert’s excellent advice, here is your gift from me: A wine related subject area of great importance that is yet, remarkably, untapped and ready to be exploited. And here’s the thing. If someone starts just such a publishing venture dedicated to sweet wine, you’ll have me as your first reader and I’ll be the first person to publicize the new Sweet Wine Website right here at Fermentation.

9 Responses

  1. Richard Auffrey - June 12, 2013

    There is a Boston based woman, Judy Mattera, who runs a company, Sweet Solutions, dedicated to desserts and sweet wines. Sweet wines are her concentration and she has written magazines articles, taught classes, provided dessert wine reviews, and more.

  2. doug wilder - June 12, 2013


    What about Roy Hersh’s “For The Love Of Port”? Doesn’t it specialize in sweet wines? Somewhere I wrote a list of advice to new wine bloggers. One of the keys I have long recommended is that new writers develop a ‘niche’ specialty and then work at being recognized as a dependable resource. I chose to write about the regions I do since nobody else was covering them under one roof, exclusively and even with a head start, I have encountered obstacles and challenges along with the success.

    The one issue with sweet wines that would probably dissuade me from tasting and writing about nothing else is that I find them difficult to spit! That was never more apparent than when tasting an exceptional Washington State Ice Wine recently. I pushed the spit bucket to the other end of the desk!

  3. Tom Wark - June 12, 2013

    Doug, that would be a problem where reviewing sweet wine is concerned. But, we’d just have contain ourselves. Yes, Port would be a part of the Sweet Wine Category, no doubt. But only a part. The more I think about it the more I am amazed that no one has taken up this task.


  4. Dwight Furrow - June 12, 2013

    I can think of at least two obstacles. It can get expensive writing about Sauterne, Tokaji, and Vintage Ports. But, worse, just think of the calories consumed while assessing appropriate pairings.

  5. Tom Wark - June 12, 2013

    Sadly, calories would be the last thing that deterred me from reviewing sweet wines. And if I were to take up the challenge of reviewing sweet wines, I’d work my ass off to do a great job and thereby influence producers and importers of sweet wines to get me samples to review. But you are right. Not sure I could immediately go out and start buying up vintages of d’Yquem.

  6. Lee Newby - June 12, 2013

    I think there are many region specific websites, but wine style is a completely different game and as you pointed out the sweet wines of the world are under reported and I think under valued, port is one of the cheapest investments one can make in the fine wine world.

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  8. 1WineDude - June 13, 2013

    Thanks, Tom!

    There are *so* many areas like this that are ripe for the taking. I don’t think you see too many specific suggestions because a) there are so many and b) the best approach is for someone to find out what personally makes them go ga-ga and get passionate, and to focus on that niche.

    I mentioned Hungarian wines – not just sweet, but all of them – as an example. Gary V. mentioned Pinot Grigio (which seems an odd choice to some, but consider how many people drink it as their only white wine… that’s a serious umber of people I’d bet).

    I should point out that I wasn’t talking about building volumes of readership, but about building authority in the wine world and online. I think the approach means a smaller audience overall, but a more passionate one. And in general terms, if I decided to start a wine blog ***or print publication*** tomorrow, that post I wrote would be exactly how I’d go about it.


  9. Metal Bird Cages - June 14, 2013

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