“takes advantage of the medium”
“an enterprising first stab at self-publishing”
–Jancis Robinson, Vintner turns e-author 21 Dec 2010
What a trip. Seven years ago, I was reading the Oxford Companion to Wine and daydreaming about being a winemaker. And today, the editor of that book and one of the world’s foremost wine writers is bigging up my writing on my little old wine region!
And she knows that I want other winemakers to do the same thing. I want them to write testimonials for their own regions. And she sees it as clearly as I do as she wonders “How many more wine producers will be moved to invade the territory that used to be the preserve of professional and many semi-professional wine writers? It could be a perfect activity for the winter months in between those sales trips to Shanghai.”
Of course, Jancis isn’t worried about her job security. But all the same, I think this is a perfect time to address the notion that I’m encouraging winemakers to take wine writer turf. I see this more as an opportunity to expand the world of wine writing.
I’m not asking winemakers to steal ground from wine writers. If we tried to write our own version of the Oxford Companion, we’d do an awful job. Because we lack objectivity and distance from the subject. Instead, we have to conquer new lands. Invent new genres or reinvigorate types of writing that were abandoned in the past century.
So what if, in general, winemakers lack the objectivity to write excellent wine manuals and reference books. That subjectivity makes us perfect authors for authentic portraits of every wine region on earth. Every appellation, AVA, DOC, DAC, or plain old neighborhood that makes wine has inspired hundreds of winemakers and farmers. It’s time for farmers to start giving back and sharing our love of our land with the world. If you’ve ever been touched by a place, it’s time to write your book. And we’ll win over new readers who weren’t ready for the reference books and tomes. We’ll enchant them with medieval castles and gorgeous pictures of limestone on clay. And the next thing you know, they’ll be drinking wine every day and then they’ll want to read more objective books from the critics and pros. That’s my dream world anyway. Let’s make it happen!
And yes I appreciate that we don’t all have time. It’s ridiculous that winemakers have to leave the vineyards they love so much for the Shanghai sales trips Jancis alludes to. But that is life. We are expected to wear many hats and perform many jobs. And I think some of you may be ready to be authors.