The Best Wine Blogger Steps Back
It’s interesting and notable. Steve Heimoff is first and foremost a wine writer. His long stints writing for The Wine Spectator, then writing from the position of Senior Editor at the Wine Enthusiast, and through is two books on wine make this clear.
And yet, he is also the best wine blogger wine blogging has yet seen.
Steve announced his retirement on Monday. He announced he is not only leaving his most recent position as a communicator at Jackson Family Wines where he worked as a communicator, but that his blog will remain, but not focus all that much on wine.
So let me reiterate, the best wine blogger in the land has essentially retired from wine blogging. At this point the correct response is to shake you head and mutter, “F*ck!!!
At its core, wine blogging is a matter of independently providing commentary on wine through the written word without influence from or allegiance to any overlords that pay you to do the blogging. It’s also a fact that the best wine blogs publish posts consistently and regularly. It’s also true that the best wine blogs are written from a place of authority and integrity. Steve’s blog did all these things.
Eight years ago, in his first post, Steve wrote the following:
“I hope this blog will be relevant. There are always issues floating around in the world of wine. I plan on chiming in.This blog will mostly be on the subject of California wine, since that’s what I cover in my day job at Wine Enthusiast Magazine. But I’ll feel free to weigh in on wines from the rest of the world. I’ll try to provide analysis of issues to my best ability. I’ll share my experiences in the wine world. I’ll ask you, the reader, what your opinions are…”
He has stayed absolutely true to that first word and he has done so on nearly a daily basis. It’s a pretty monumental achievement.
In his retirement announcement, Steve noted that he “will continue this blog. But there will be changes. Big ones. Going forward, I’ll write about anything that interests me. It won’t necessarily be about wine.”
My hope is that Steve can’t tear himself away from writing about wine and the wine industry. His blog was always best when he looked closely at how the industry worked, how wine blogging worked, how the wine media worked, and how wine marketing worked. His blogging was almost never aimed at consumers, but rather at the wine industry and those who surrounded it. You know he was doing something very right because Steve often came in for some serious vitriol from folks in the industry and, ironically, from wine bloggers themselves who when he appeared on the wine blogging scene went out of their way to announce he couldn’t be a wine blogger. Not only has Steve proved them wrong, but he has proven to be the best wine blogger since wine blogging produced its first wine bloggers.
Steve is one of those guys who I have been reading and learning from during my entire 25+ years in the wine industry. I count him as a friend, but not the kind of close friend you have over for dinner regularly. I count him as a blogging colleague, but not the kind you observe is just a run of the mill wine blogger. I will continue to read SteveHeimoff.com, hopefully one a daily basis. And I might finally get the dude over for dinner.
But I’m really just here to note that the best wine blogger has essentially retired from wine blogging. And that’s bad new for everyone.
Steve’s foray into wine blogging gave the proceedings an air of legitimacy and, as you noted, he backed up his cred. by raising the wine blogging standard for all — parts personal, authoritative and wise.
The thing you have to admire with Steve is not that he’s a knowledgeable and good writer, but that he’s steadfast in his opinions. Amongst other bloggers who were namby-pamby, populist and, perhaps, ill-informed, Steve had the stones to call his shot, if you will.
Best wishes to him in retirement. He has had a great influence on many young and old.
Tom, thank you so much for your post. I found it very touching. I’m really at a loss for words (for once) so will simply say, See you later.
I live your wine blogs