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The Risks and Rewards of Writing About Wine

If you’re going to write about wine, it’s important to realize what you do and don’t know about it, said Beverly Taylor, who has been writing about vineyards and the products they produce for almost three decades, at Alabama Media Professionals’ July meeting at Homewood Public Library.

When reporters who aren’t experienced in wine write on the topic, there are several pitfalls to avoid, said Taylor, who’s written about wine for The Birmingham News,, the Atlanta Wine Report and more and has also judged wine competitions in the United States and abroad. Writers who stick to interviewing established experts and reporting what they say are generally safe, but mistaking someone for an expert, is a risk.

For example, one reporter interviewed a man who worked at a wine shop and wrote up the nonsense he spouted, Taylor said. “They both looked foolish,” she said. “Just because a person has that job doesn’t mean they’re an expert.”

Clever marketers sometimes try to present products as new when they’re not. For instance, one wine company created a big buildup for “chardonnay champagne,” which Taylor says is the same as blanc de blanc. “This was nothing new they were doing,” she said, but an unseasoned reporter might have taken the press release and ran with it.

Similarly, another company started calling rosé “white zinfandel” at a time when drinking rosé was like driving your granddad’s Buick, Taylor said. “They were trying to save some old vineyards,” she added.

To find out more about how Taylor got into wine writing, her adventures since then and what she’s learned, join AMP today and begin receiving our members-only newsletter.

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