Above: I caught up with Jancis Robinson (center) this fall at the Boulder Burgundy Festival, where I serve as the event’s official blogger. Some people call her “the world’s greatest wine writer.” She is. But I call her the world’s coolest wine blogger. She is super nice (and so delightfully funny as well). And hers is one of the 8 essential wine blogs Italian wine professionals need to know. That’s winemaker Étienne de Montille on the left, Master Sommelier and festival founder Brett Zimmerman on the right.
Among the English-language wine blogs that we discussed at length in our seminars last month at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont (for the Master’s in Italian Wine Culture), there were two that I didn’t include in a post yesterday on eight wine blogs that Italian wine professionals need to know: one was Elaine Brown’s Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews and the other was the Jordan Winery Blog by Lisa Mattson.
I didn’t include them because neither focuses on or publishes regular content devoted to Italian wine. But both merit the attention of anyone working in the fine wine trade today.
Elaine’s, because of the way she has pushed the envelope and expanded the horizons of wine blogging. Over the arc of her career as a wine-focused writer, she has created a sui generis form of enoscripture, blending the personal, the political, and the vinous in a stream and feed of often spectacular and compelling quasi-real-time memoir (can you tell I am a fan and a friend?).
Lisa’s, because, perhaps to a greater extent than any other, she has elevated the benchmark for what social media can do in terms of promoting awareness and visibility of a wine and winery brand. In the days that ran up to the U.S. presidential election, as my students and I met for our seminars, we watched Lisa lambaste the now president elect like the fat Christmas turkey he is. It was a bold and audacious move for a California winery brand (and I agree with and share the sentiment wholly). But beyond (our shared) political or ideological leanings, it revealed an authenticity and a deeply personalized approach to marketing that Lisa has mastered despite and thanks to an impressive technical apparatus that she has realized. Brava, Lisa!
Of course, we also discussed Alder Yarrow’s pioneering blog, Vinography. He was one of the early trailblazers of America’s new wave of wine writing (I remember when Lettie Teague made him the first wine blogger to speak at Aspen).
Tom Wark’s excellent Fermentation was another we looked at in Piedmont. Another one of the great pioneers of the new wave and another benchmark for what can be achieved in terms of activism and marketing in the wine trade.
And last and least, we gave honorable mention to the venerated Italian wine critic and broadcaster Levi Dalton, that beloved denizen of the New York wine scene, a Donald Trump among wine dilettanti (remember the song I wrote for him last year?).
Here are the eight that I profiled for UniSG this week: not an exhaustive muster roll but a hand list and a good place to start (not finish) for Italian wine professionals.