I have no problem with older men in general. Like wine, they can get quite attractive with age (think Pierce Brosnan, yum). Experience and calm confidence are fine traits in colleagues as well. So what’s my problem? The feeling that the majority of serious wine articles in serious wine publication are written by older men for older men. Decanter, Wine Spectator, Livets Goda, Allt om Vin (where, granted, I write too) and most wine columns in daily newspapers.
Sometimes I get the feeling that being a young woman wine writer is almost an anomaly and some haven’t adapted to our existence. Others, in spite of their age and gender are quite aware of the need for new blood in the industry and very supportive. Thank you. But equal opportunity is not my current topic – getting past the stiff, boring writing is.
We, as a wine community, discuss and worry about why regular consumers are not interested in wine in spite of happily buying it. Really now, why would they be. I am passionately in love with wine and still I can’t get myself to read half of the stuff we produce for print. We say we want to engage the public, but we even fail to engage each other… I asked a good friend, a somewhat older gentleman (he will kill me for calling him that, but again, he is one of the sexy ones), who writes for the big magazines and the daily press, if he wasn’t bored with the core of wine writing? “No,” he said, “because I don’t read it.” Case in point.
At the same time, when I held my last tasting for 50 wine newbies they all walked out beaming, really excited to pick up some new bottles and try their hand at combining wine and food at home. Wine in itself is inclusive. It is wine writing and wine knowledge that too often excludes. It doesn’t have to be that way.
My goal for this new career is developing. I want to communicate with people who are afraid of wine knowledge and make them excited to expand their horizons. I want to communicate with wine nerds and help them remember to enjoy and experience the wine, not only check it off their “must try list”. And most of all, I want to make wine attractive to a younger crowd, and women as much as men. Make the readers feel they are safe voicing opinions and engaging, and that wine is amusing and permissive, not stiff.
For that to happen through print media there needs to be a few changes. We need more young writers and female writers in wine (I’ll volunteer), and those need to make it because of their individual style, not by copying the old, established male writers. If we want to get new wine drinkers excited they will need to have writers to relate to. Diversity is good in any field, it gives breadth of reference. We need to engage with our readers. Get off the high horses. Make mistakes, relax, have fun.
All right people, it’s time to break some (Riedel)glass ceilings. Kronstam, my dear, I’m taking you on.