If being a wine writer is all about tasting wine and telling everyone about it then why isn’t everyone doing it? Because it can be difficult to make a living. If that hasn’t put you off, then how do you go about becoming a wine writer?
Start by knowing your subject and educating your palate. This can be done by visiting the wineries and vineyards – but the economics of wine writing make this a bit of a pipe dream for the beginner unless you’ve got private funds or have persuaded Decanter magazine to stump up for both your feature and travelling expenses.
If neither of these is the case then go for the cheaper option – the library or the charity shop book shelf. Here you’ll find a vast range of slightly dated (not many brand new publications here) but still useful wine knowledge including Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine (my own copy is 1994), The Sensational Liquid: A Guide to Wine Tasting by Malcolm Gluck (1999), The Finest Wines of Bordeaux by James Lawther Master of Wine (2010) and Jancis Robinson’s Confessions of a Wine Lover (her 1997 autobiography).
Yes there is the internet (just type wine into Google and watch the 568million results pop up) but as all wine writers and wine journalists discover very early on – you must be sure of your sources. Website wine information is often both useful and inspiring but occasionally it can be an inaccurate rehash copied from another website, which was copied from another website…ad infinitum. In this way myths and inaccuracies persist and can so easily end up in the wine writing. Always double-check, until you’re sure enough and learnt enough, to use what you read.
Okay, but what about the educating the palate bit?
Taste any wine you can get hold of – it doesn’t matter whether that’s it costs £5 a bottle or £25 a bottle. All wines are a learning opportunity. So dismiss them at your peril.
PG Wine Reviews
Tesco Trebbiano D’Abruzzo 2017, Italian white
A light and refreshing wine that does indeed go with the suggested fish and chips. Flavours of light apple and pear.
Oxford Landing Australian Merlot 2016
A really tasty red with a range of flavours ranging from cherry to coffee.
Van Den Berg Australian Chardonnay 2018
New in at the Co-op, this Aussie Chardonnay tastes of oaky pear, apple and mandarin. A nice wine but there are many other similar wines out there.
Symington Portuguese Altano Douro white 2017
£10.70 Tanners Wines
Creamy melon, pineapple and lemon.