PR Advice,Public Relations,Wine

The Paradigm Shift in Wine Writing

One of my clients asked Jose and me, “What are your thoughts about this article.” It was called, “Understanding the Paradigm Shift in Wine Writing.” It’s on the Sober Advice From Two Wine Publicists Website.

The lead paragraph:

It seems like the traditional, legacy media is dropping its coverage of wine at a pretty swift pace whether it be a pull back from wine coverage in Chicago, St. Louis or San Francisco. It points to a circumstance that every wine publicist and every wine marketer must accept and embrace: YOU ARE THE DISTRIBUTOR OF WINE JOURNALISM, WHILE THE JOURNALISTS ARE THE CONTENT CREATORS.

I may have unwittingly had a hand in creating this situation, but I think not. I believe I saw it coming as a rare opportunity in time, and grabbed it. Below is my answer to our client.

This is exactly why I started my wine blog  on December 29, 2005, well ahead of the curve.

I had one client who told me, “I love the stories that you write for me. I wish they were on the Web somewhere.”  (The code of ethics regarding plagiarism, and people’s own desire to tell the story, never had anyone just take my stories in entirety. So he felt his “stories” were being lost.)

I saw this coming pulling away of media, even before Web 2.0 was launched. Jose and I had taken a Web class together, and were told About Web 2.0 happening, so I knew before it became public knowledge. Jose may have known it already, as he keeps very current regarding the Web.

Being the first female wine publicist in the world to have a blog had and has its advantages. It’s how I got onto the ground floor of Wine Business’s Web presence and Wine Industry Insider also picked me right up. It’s also why I’m broadly aggregated. I was an early adopter, tired of editors telling me that they needed “an exclusive,” then wasted my time, not needing that “exclusive,” while I wasted valuable time shopping it around to other “might want it” publishers and editors.

With well over 6,000 wine companies in the US and I can’t even imagine the number for the world, I wanted the information that people were hiring me to disseminate done ASAP. I gave editors two weeks to get it out, then I’d launch it on www.wine-blog.org.

This article is more true than ever. It is the truly fortunate who get a smidging of publicity today. Fortunately, I have longevity with those that are established, and I broke through early with the new generation of wine bloggers. For newbies in wine PR, it’s going to be a terrible struggle for a while. They lack history, which will take years to develop. This is why early on, one of my client’s didn’t want any samples to go to any wine writers except the established media, as described by Total Wine & More, an important wine merchant.

Wine merchants STILL ONLY regard fewer than 20 sources as the be all to end all, in my observations and experiences.

5 Responses to “The Paradigm Shift in Wine Writing”

  1. Andy Perdue says:


    Some excellent insights here.

    I’m not how robust wine writing has been at medium to small newspapers, which is one reason we launched a syndicated column five years ago and made it available to newspapers in the Pacific Northwest.

    At this time, the column goes to 21 daily and weekly newspapers, primarily in Washington state. This is in addition to my Seattle Times column and our daily wine coverage on our website.

    To us, this era signals a wide-open field of opportunity, and newspapers are hungry for high-quality regional and local copy.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    You and Eric Deggerman are doing a great job, Andy.

  3. Randy Agness says:

    I know that I’m probably the exception to the rule, but being a freelance wine journalist in the Finger Lakes of New York, my editors want more content, not less than 250 words. I talk about what is happening … like real issues – a four part series on Wine Politics, and Battle for Terroir where winemakers are challenging Big Oil & Gas companies to prevent potential environmental consequences. The articles are educational and informative, sometime lighter too. In the days when using less than 140 characters is popular, surprisingly detail and insight is what is really desired. The nightly news presents fractions of information to people who care about video clips and stories just above gossip. The wine industry is booming and many people want to know more, more about how wine is made, the differences in varietals, wine regions, etc. If you want to see full and half page articles providing comprehensive journalism, it’s still alive in the Finger Lakes.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    This is great to know, Randy. I’m sorry that I’m late responding to you. I, like you, am busy with so much writing. I also believe that we went through a cycle, when the Internet opened the flood gates to anyone and everyone who wanted to become a writer. Now, we see the real cream rising to the top. Stories ARE more than 140 characters; marketing doesn’t have to be.

  5. Jo Diaz says:

    Randy, yes, you’re an exception and a breath of fresh air. Thanks for weighing in. (I’ve been so busy with enjoying summer, and I’m just now catching up. Writing for me is one thing,checking my back end is yet another.)

    RE: “The nightly news presents fractions of information to people who care about video clips and stories just above gossip.” No kidding. (Where did “Many are called and few are chosen originate? This isn’t elitism… It’s reality. Get Fox News’ ratings for how many people watch that network.)

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