Then listen now to what I say
Just get an electric guitar
And take some time and learn how to play
And when your hair's combed right and your pants fit tight
It's gonna be all right.
- The Byrds, So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star (1967)
Over the years, a few blogging friends have asked if they could be considered wine writers; here, for what it's worth, are my general views on what takes an enthusiastic consumer-with-a-blog across the line to being a self-published wine writer.
- output of at least 300 words per week / 1,000 per month; this is one short article a week or one feature-length piece per month
- a mixture of well-researched fact and authoritative, insightful opinion; wine writing is more than just tasting notes and scores. For the purpose of blogging, I view the arithmetic scoring of wines as both unnecessary and insufficient; there should be some insight at least and ideally occasional thought-leadership.
- a minimum of 20,000 words on a blog and one year of writing; this simply demonstrates a commitment over time to writing regularly, more than just a burst of initial enthusiasm.
- evidence of some original thinking; this can be informative or entertaining, but as noted previously, it needs to be more than just tasting notes, scores and back-of-the-label blurb.
- evidence of a broad and engaged audience (comments on blogs / disqus / Twitter / FB, likes and RTs - from more than just a few mates); do all the other things right and, if you are writing on the internet, this should follow. Being part of an online community of wine commentators will sharpen your thinking, deepen your knowledge and provide stimuli for future articles.
Other things that typically come with the territory but to me are not per se indicative of being a wine writer are attendance at trade events, regular samples / press trips and a profile amongst the wine PR community.
And it is, of course, entirely possible to be an authoritative wine writer without any of those.
Other related articles
On Being a Wine Writer vs A Writer Who Likes Wine
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