5 Reactions to the Panel of Professional Wine Writers At The 2014 Wine Bloggers Conference

At the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, the Panel of Professional Print Wine Writers (consisting of James Conaway, Mike Dunne, and Steve Heimoff) left many bloggers not only unimpressed with the lack of diversity among the speakers chosen but also the content delivered. Here are five reactions from bloggers who attended the event.

1) My Response to the Panel of Professional Print Writers at the Wine Blogggers Conference: Mary Cressler, Vindulge

Cressler took exception to the three writers panning the use of "perfect" to describe a wine:

"I can’t begin to tell you how many people I encounter (friends, family, readers, folks in classes I teach, even strangers!) who are indeed looking for a 'perfect' [fill in the blank] wine. No, they’re not looking for a wine that exhibits dense loamy earth, with an essence of eucalyptus, cassis, mint, and tobacco leaf, aged 18 months in new French oak barrels with chewy tannins. They want an inexpensive and refreshing wine appropriate to serve at their backyard BBQ or summer picnic, or a special wine good enough to bring to dinner with their future in-laws.  And sometimes, it would be helpful if the wine was indeed 'delicious' or 'yummy.'"

2) Top Ten Things I Learned at WBC14: Amy Corron Power, Another Wine Blog

"Despite blogger participant diversity, the WBC seminars and keynote speakers continue to feature grandfatherly white male traditional print writers as the only “true experts” to whom we should aspire."

3) Wine Bloggers Conference--In Defense of Old White Men?: Jeff Kralik, The Drunken Cyclist

Kralik focused on what was left unsaid by the panelists that bloggers would have appreciated hearing:

"What I want, what I need, is advice based on the current state of wine writing and more importantly, where it might be headed. I had hoped that those currently (or at least relatively recently) in that arena would be better able to answer the 'What’s Next?' question that underlies most of what I do."

Two bloggers focused on the Writing Workshop led by the trio of panelists the next day:

4) A Rant and a Solution for the Wine Bloggers Writing Workshop: Marcy Gordon, Come For The Wine

On Heimoff's critique of her writing being to advertorial-y:

"I think perhaps Steve failed to consider who my audience is and may not comprehend that my readers understand my tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. I took his advertorial remark as that of the pot calling the kettle black given his new Wine Marketing Communications role at Kendall Jackson. Or maybe he secretly covets my plucky marketing acumen. (I’ll admit you can take the girl out of marketing, but you can’t take the marketing out of the girl.) But I know the difference between writing for an audience and selling to an audience."

[Note: Hat-tip to Gordon for the typewriter image, which led me to go out and find my own. Related: I took a typing class in high school and competed in a typing competition on an actual typewriter. Let it therefore be known I am pro-typewriter.  --JF] 

5) If you can't drink wine, write about it. #WBC14: Pamela Pajuelo, Señorita Vino

Conaway advised bloggers to avoid using lists in their writing because you might lose readers. Pajuelo, fully aware of Conaway's pronouncement, responded by publishing this post in list-form.  

And I respond in solidarity with Pajeulo by putting together this list. I love lists!

If you attended WBC14, what were your thoughts on the panel and workshop?