WBC 2010 on Wine Writing: What’s next?

What is the Future of Wine Writing? asks Steve Heimoff, Tom Wark and Ken Payton in the next panel at the 2010 Wine Bloggers conference in Walla Walla Washington. These three will make a few statements and then open it up to the floor for conversation, debate, and discussion.

Tom Wark of Fermentation doesn’t think there’s any value in making a distinction between wine writers and bloggers. He suggests that the conference is misnamed: instead of Wine Bloggers Conference, it should be the Wine Writers Conference.

What goes around comes around, says Steve Heimoff. There will always be new wine drinkers so there will always be a need for wine 101 and writing that teaches people about wine.

But how will wine writers in the future make a living? Not likely to make much from wine blogging, but what you do with it or where you take it. More likely for bloggers to get picked up by wine companies to work for them or to do other kinds of writing that pays the bills. Some folks, like Hardy Wallace, have used their blogs to move into other areas of the wine industry, for example, wine making.

Ken Payton of Reign of Terroir makes the point that wine writing isn’t just one genre but that there are multiple genres: from people who write reviews to those who focus on environmental issues to those who avoid reviews to those who are educators. Some people are generalists and some are specialists.

Ken Payton suggests we think of our readers as people who are not customers or consumers but fellow travelers.

So who’s the audience? Consumers? Fellow travelers? Professionals? He thinks that as wine consumption increases, there will be more interest in wine, and reading about wine, more readers and ample opportunities to explore more topics online and educate consumers.  Avoid the ghetto of simple minded wine writing, encourages Ken. Continue reading