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freelance markets
Wine magazines
■■ There’s a real need for ideas
to be well targeted because oth-
erwise editors just won’t have
the room or the budget for your
material. David Williams says:
‘Wine journalism is a very dif-
ficult field in which to make a
living as a freelance. There is
increasingly less space in the
national press for wine, and there
are ever fewer specialist maga-
zines devoted to wine.’
Not particularly high so do it for
the love of wine writing (and tast-
ing) initially and you may even
bag the odd delicious freebie.
inside tips
■■ Check out the websites of these
magazines and think about sub-
mitting news stories from your
area to their online editor. Lucy
Shaw of Decanter says: ‘Often the
web can be a good way into writ-
ing for Decanter.’
lifestyle than a means to a profit, says: ‘If you have never written intelligent, dedicated and want ■■ Bear in mind that a lot of
and, through the quality design, anything on wine before, it might their mind broadened even fur- regions have been covered exten-
you get that impression before help to present your pitch as a ther by a new experience in wine sively over the years. David
you’ve even read a word. As the standfirst and first paragraph tasting. Williams says: ‘Unless you are
editorial advisor Hugh Johnson of the intended feature; this will ■■ Wine experts want to keep up very well known as a wine writer,
puts it: ‘The World of Fine Wine give the editor some idea of your to date with the latest in the wine it is not at all recommended to
is not a consumer magazine, but ability to write about wine.’ industry so be on the lookout for pitch a report on a particular wine
the first cultural journal of the little known producers and dis- region and its wines unless you
wine world. It acknowledges that the market tributors in your area who might have a very distinct or original
wine-lovers have other interests ■■ Put yourself in the mind of a have hit upon an entirely new angle. For instance do not say: “I
too, and the same high standards real wine connoisseur, someone way of doing business that could have recently been in Burgundy
in whatever they do.’ Quality is so keen on their wine drinking make a good story. and found the wines really inter-
paramount, given that this quar- that they buy a magazine as a ■■ Think of all the profession- esting: I thought it would make
terly title costs £20 an issue. guide and stick to it. They are als who are interested in wine an interesting feature.”
Recent coverlines: Wine as an as part of their day to day busi- ■■ Improve your knowledge
aesthetic object; A bold vision of ness. Harpers Wine & Spirit, for of wine by attending tastings
Australia’s future fine wine land- instance, is read across all sectors in your area. It might even be a
scape; Red Semillon: return of the of the drinks industry, includ- route to a good idea. Websites
wine grape ing restaurants, hotels, pubs and such as are
retailers. Issues such as the recent also a valuable resource.
What are they government climbdown on binge ■■ Applying other areas to the
looking for? drinking measures will be affect- subject of wine might reap divi-
■■ News and features on lesser- ing them. dends. David Williams explains:
known regions or vineyards or ‘Some of the most interesting
which give a fresh look at those the competition articles published in The World
that are more established and ■■ Your knowledge of the subject of Fine Wine over the years have
well known. might be your biggest weakness. been written by experts in aes-
■■ Topical issues relating to wine- As David Williams says: ‘In the thetics, history, literature or art,
making and consumption, such long run, if you’re really inter- who have managed to find some-
as global warming or alcohol ested in becoming a wine writer, thing in their field which could
levels. Will water restrictions or then I can’t stress enough how be applied to wine.’
quality pose a problem for wine- important it is to get some wine ■■ And don’t give up at the
makers in the future? How do knowledge.’ first hurdle. Says Lucy Shaw of
you keep alcohol levels low with- ■■ All titles will have their own Decanter: ‘There are no hard and
out sacrificing quality? well-established team of review- fast rules as to how to pitch to
■■ Articulate creative writing ers. Prepare to graft at the craft us. Whilst it is pretty rare to land
that shows a real passion for the of wine writing for a good many a commission as we rely heav-
subject. David Williams, deputy years before you get a chance to ily on our established writers, it
editor of The World of Fine Wine, become one. does happen. So give it a shot.’
forum #99 19
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