A Wine Media Conference Takes On The Business of Wine
Wine writers of all sorts really ought to focus more on the business of wine, as W. Blake Gray, Felicity Carter, Elin McCoy and Cyril Penn are all about to explain at an upcoming virtual event of significance.
As Alder Yarrow reminds, the Wine Media Conference is nearly upon us. The Wine Media Conference is the new name for the Wine Bloggers Conference, which began its run in 2008, making this years virtual version the 13th deep dive into wine writing and independent wine publishing.
Running Thursday, Friday and Saturday (August 20-22), the Wine Media Conference is bent on providing useful tools to writers who focus on wine and how they can improve their game. This has always been the primary intent of the Conference, even in its formative years when the focus was on the work of the emerging contingent of wine bloggers.
Yet despite all the important information delivered over the years on how writers should work with wineries, how to increase a blogger’s social media profile, how to include videos into wine writing, and sessions on ethics and writing, it has always been dismaying that more emphasis was not placed on showing bloggers and other wine writers why they should write about the business of wine and how to best do it.
So much about the “business of wine” focuses on how consumers access wine products. This fact alone ought to motivate writers to spend more time writing about and investigating the business of wine, rather than the soil composition of certain swaths of the Russian River Valley.
Gray, a veteran writer who has long focused on the business of wine, will, on Thursday, August 20 at 1pm Pacific, be giving those participating in the Wine Media Conference a glimpse into what it takes to be a journalist in the wine writing business. Meanwhile, Carter, McCoy and Penn will focus specifically on the business of wine at a session set for Saturday, August 22 at 9am pacific.
I suspect there are a few reasons why many writers don’t focus on the business of wine. For one, it’s pretty complicated with all its three-tier systems, separate state-by-state legal and regulatory systems for alcohol sales, the complex and regular court cases that change the business landscape of wine, and more.
Moreover, the investigations and articles on the various facets of the business of wine don’t usually attract a particularly large audience. More people are concerned about drinking wine than measuring the business of wine. On this blog, I’ve focused almost exclusively on various elements of the wine business for about 16 years now. My readership consists almost exclusively of members of the wine trade or wine trade adjacent. That’s a pretty small group. And while this blog has attracted the attention of a large part of that group over the years, had I instead chose to write about the correct food pairing for Merlots, the history of Lodi Zinfandel, the best wines to serve with turkey and gravy, the composition of the soils in the hills surrounding the Willamette Valley or the experience of visiting a mountain winery in Napa Valley, I’m sure my audience would be triple to quadruple its current size.
This isn’t a complaint. It’s an explanation of why more good wine writers don’t provide explanations of the business of wine.
Finally, I suspect that many wine writers simply haven’t taken the time to understand how the wine business operates and the rules and laws that govern the industry. And nothing shows through more clearly in an article than the writer’s lack of proficiency on the subject. No one wants to highlight that fact.
All three days of the upcoming Wine Media Virtual Summit are free. Free! If you have an interest in upping your wine business writing game, this is an opportunity. It’s also an opportunity to explore a number of other issues including writers’ social media promotion, the impact of COVID-19 on wineries, the state and experiences of the black wine media, SEO strategies, photography and more.