Wine writers fall victim to recession

  • Friday 1 May 2009

The days of the print-based US wine writer are numbered, according to Decanter columnist Linda Murphy.

Writing in Decanter this month, the former wine correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle points out that with the rise of the internet combined the current economic crisis the number of print publications that include wine coverage are dwindling fast.

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In March, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer went entirely online and the Rocky Mountain News in Denver was forced to close – both had regular wine columns.

In January this year, the San Francisco Chronicle, which had the only stand-alone wine section in the United States, made the decision to merge its wine, beer and spirits content into a combined food and wine section.

Corie Brown, the award-winning wine writer for the Los Angeles Times, was made redundant late last year and Jerry Shriver, the long-time wine critic for USA Today, has been taken off wine writing duties and reassigned to entertainment news.

Lettie Teague, executive wine editor for Food & Wine magazine has also been made redundant, although she will continue her column, Wine Matters, on a freelance basis.

UK wine writers need to beware of a similar fate, warns Jane MacQuitty, wine critic for The Times.

‘What the US does today, the UK does tomorrow. Sadly, wine continues to be perceived as a luxury and as a drink for toffs. In a recession, newspaper editors tend to hang onto their gardening columns, cookery writers and the like but wine somehow is always the first to be axed,’ says MacQuitty.

‘Let’s hope that British newspapers take a pro wine stand and refuse to follow the US’s lead.’

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