Thursday, November 22, 2012

When Andrew Jefford Talks...

One thing of which there seems to be no shortage is wine bloggers.   There are even conferences for wine bloggers:  one in North America (next year in Penticton) and one in Europe.   I’m not sure why so many of us who appreciate wine feel the passion to write about it.  Perhaps it's the wine that primes the creative pump.  As the ancient Greek poet Cratinius said, "No verse can give pleasure for long, nor last, that is written by water drinkers."

With so many wine writers out there, it’s easy to find writing to admire.  One of my favourites is Andrew Jefford, who writes a blog weekly, published on Mondays, for the Decanter website.  It’s a must read for my Monday mornings.  (And so it must be for many others, as Andrew won the Online Wine Writer of the Year Award at the 2012 International Wine Writer’s Awards.)  It certainly helps that I find myself nodding in agreement with his opinions…and shaking my head with envy at how clearly he expresses them.

Andrew recently gave the keynote address at the European wine bloggers’ conference (aka Digital Wine Communications Conference).  You can read it here and if you’re a fellow wine blogger, consider it compulsory.

My takeaways from Andrew’s keynote address:
  • Traditional short-form wine writing is dead.  It’s all digital now.
  • Making money from wine writing alone is difficult and getting more so.  (Any blogger can tell you that.)
  • You must tell a story well.  That’s the challenge.  Fortunately, there’s no shortage of source material.
  • Be distinctive.  Keep faith with whatever it was that ignited your passion to write about wine in the first place.
  • If there’s one thing lacking in wine writing, it’s irreverence and humour.   And since bloggers don’t answer to a publisher, that’s where we come in.  (I agree.  But just as most actors think that comedy is the most challenging, I think that humour writing is the most challenging form to do well.  It’s why I think that David Sedaris is a genius.)
But this is said much more eloquently by Andrew himself.   Reading it is time well spent.

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