I want to get a post up about my experiences of the Wine Future conference, but before I do that, I want to address something that has bothered me since the final session.
In that final session, Jancis Robinson said, in answer to a question about the future influence of blogs:
“… (there is a) huge generation of people … who are dying to communicate about wine and are very frustrated that dinosaurs like me, and my colleagues who write columns in the National Press, in Britain anyway, refuse to move out of our ‘slots’ and make room for them, so this is a natural place for a new wave of wine enthusiasm to communicate itself.” – Jancis Robinson, Wine Future 2009 (see mins 3:09 – 3:38 on the Vinus.tv video)
Someone else said pretty much the same thing to me at the EWBC.
I’d like to dispel that myth.
The vast majority of wine bloggers are not writing blogs because they are waiting, biding their time until they are “called” to take on the mantle of Wine Writer at the FT, Guardian, Sunday Times, etc.
There is a generation of wine lovers who are using the power of social media, through blogs, twitter, facebook, youtube, etc. to communicate their love of wine and their personal take on it. Some content is definitely better than others, and a very small percentage may be doing this with the goal of taking their place in the Circle of Wine Writers (as it exists today), but that is not what frustrates most of us.
I would argue that the frustration comes from the fact that we realise that there are lots of wine stories out there, whether from a consumer, producer or trade point of view, that the traditional media (mainly in printed formats) is incapable, or unwilling, to share. Instead of helping the wine industry, those respected, established writers who continue to make ‘old media’ their main/key/only platform, ensure that wineries and brands who might get involved with more creative, and arguably more effective, channels, are instead still wasting their money and effort on dead-end advertising.
Jancis, for the record, no-one I know thinks you are a dinosaur – quite the contrary! You are showing how it is possible for a wine writer to use the internet to VASTLY increase the number of wines and wineries you cover, whilst also building a business and a brand you can benefit from financially. We’d be ecstatic if more of your colleagues did the same, increasing the quality of online content, and giving consumers a greater chance to learn to love wine and wine culture.
We don’t want your job, we want you to want OUR jobs!