Jefford: The wine writer is dead

16th November, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Award winning wine writer Andrew Jefford has hailed the wine writer to be “dead”.

Andrew Jefford

During an address at the European Wine Bloggers Conference in Izmir, Turkey, last week, Jefford said: “The fact that this conference exists is proof that the old wine writing world has disappeared.

“The creature we used to call ‘a wine writer’ has died.”

Jefford revealed in his speech that print articles represent under 40% of his income, a percentage that is falling every year, describing it as “the least remunerative of the things I do.”

He suggested the word “communicator” as a better descriptor of today’s wine professionals.

“There are no more livings to be made exclusively in the old way. The wine world probably doesn’t need more writers,” he admitted, though said there was still a need for “multi-tasking communicators”.

He also warned against those seeking to become “generalist” wine writers.

“Can anyone hope to be a generalist any more in a wine world which, like the universe, is expanding rapidly in every direction?,” he asked.

With the rise of the internet, Jefford believes the “old gatekeepers”: newspapers, magazines and publishing houses, are becoming less important as an arena for wine writing.

“Those who can generate income without recourse to the old gatekeepers will be creating the most durable and profitable model for wine writing in the future,” he said.

Finally, he made a plea for more humour and irreverence in today’s wine writing.

“There is an urgent vacancy for humorous, witty, caustic writing about wine powered by gonzo irreverence.

“The vast majority of wine drinkers take it for granted that wine is inseparable from hilarity. Almost all of us take it too seriously, too earnestly, too reverently,” he said, urging wine bloggers to “let rip”.

7 Responses to “Jefford: The wine writer is dead”

  1. “There is an urgent vacancy for humorous, witty, caustic writing about wine powered by gonzo irreverence.”

    But…that’s us!

  2. Joshua says:

    I am grateful that an “old guard” writer sees that the world is changing and is welcoming change!

  3. Very true. Let’s see what happens…

  4. Adrian Laird Craig says:

    There’s barely been any decent winewriting since Saintsbury anyway. It’s not fermented squashed grape raised in wood that’s interesting. It’s the people,from prententious to humble that matter.

  5. I’m not a wine writter, though I do sometimes write about wine. As a keen CONSUMER I love getting the opportunity to find out about new wines when the information is presented in as lively a way as the rest of the media I read. And, my sources of information are fellow bloggers, some specialists in wine, some travel writers and some food writers. Mostly because there is usually context to their writing, rather than a simple bottle review. Sometimes because I know them in person, sometimes because I can engage with them on twitter. Communication is key for me.

  6. Michael T says:

    ‘With the rise of the internet’ <<< This was 15 years ago. It's probably about time the wine industry dragged itself into the 21st Century.

  7. I would go further and say that the wine expert is on his or her way out. The internet has made wine transparent with http://www.wine-searcher, http://www.cellartracker.com and it is the new informed consumer who is beginning to make his own informed decisions. http://wp.me/pa6F2-fS

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