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World’s Drunkest Job: Wine Blogger

Written by Madeline Puckette

Cat Laptop Wine and Notebook
“I’m cutting you off.” cat of Amanda C.
Being a wine blogger might just be the world’s drunkest job –if you can call it a job. Many wine blogs are the passionate side project of a wine enthusiast just crazy enough to spend their days off glued to a laptop. The best wine bloggers get snapped up by major publications.

In this article we introduce you to the people behind top wine blogs. They spill the juice on the highs (free samples and travel) and lows (writer’s block and hangovers) on writing about wine.

Q: What Does Wine Blogging Mean to You?

Making a couture topic more ‘awkward’
I think the combo of the words “wine” and “blogger” is borderline anachronistic and I dig that. Wine has been around for millennia AND has a fancy, sort of couture aura, so putting it together with something totally new/current and so D.I.Y. as to be painful at times – there’s lots that is funny and awkward there. I say: let’s keep rolling with the awkward. Let’s be even more awkward! Oh wait, that’s what happens when you get drunk with a bunch of wine bloggers, then blog about it. We’re already doing that. Good for us.
Courtney Cochran Hip Tastes Blog

Drinking two-day-old Riesling… with a takeout carton of Chinese
I’ve found that most people harbor a rather romantic notion of what it means to be a wine writer, as if it involves leading some posh and fancy lifestyle where you’re always jetting off to Tuscany. Usually, it’s just me in my underwear, drinking two-day-old Riesling in front of the computer screen with a takeout carton of Chinese.
Zachary Sussman The Verbose Vine

New school amateur wine writer/junketeer-in-training
I have noticed a shift away from the old school professional wine writer/junketeer to the new school amateur wine writer/junketeer-in-training. Free food and travel makes a lot of folks go all glassy-eyed and they forget what they’re supposed to be doing. After awhile the novelty does wear off though, so you either end up a professional junketeer or someone who eats a lot of yogurt in their room while typing up notes.
Gregory dal Piaz Snooth


Answer: That depends on what type of wine you have on the top floor. | South Africa wine tasting for Snooth, 12pm, 3/23/13, NYC.


Q: What are the best parts of being a wine blogger?


Living out of a ‘medium beach bucket’
I’ve become a professional traveler which was not part of the job description… I can now live for a week out of lunch box, a medium beach bucket and one of those Starbuck’s coffee [cups] that can be used for a micro-bin during harvest.
Gregory dal Piaz Snooth

Top wine blogs spill the juice on writing about wine

Getting dirty looks from the UPS guy
The UPS driver gives you [looks] on his frequent stops to deliver – yet another– package of wine. He actually said “You CANNOT be that thirsty!” one time early on.
Jon Thorsen Reverse Wine Snob


Spontaneous travel
A friend told me about Javier Alfonso who owns Pommum Cellars in Washington, and that he uses volunteers for crush… A few weeks went by and I didn’t get a definite answer, so I emailed again on a Tuesday and he told me he would put me to work if I could be there that weekend.

“I had just flown across the country to spend a few days with a man I really didn’t even know at all”

I flew to Seattle from Houston that Thursday and then drove across the state to meet him in the Yakima Valley where many of his grapes are sourced. As I was walking into the restaurant to meet him for the very first time, I had to laugh as I thought about the fact that I had just flown across the country to spend a few days with a man I really didn’t even know at all. How many ‘rules’ did I ignore? As it turned out, all those rules needed to be broken in this case and I am forever grateful to Javier for allowing me to come learn so much from him and take part in making his wines. I think there might have been a few classic Huck Finn moments, though– like when I was using the basket press to press his grapes and his friends walked down to see whom had roped into volunteering. But I loved every second of the loading, unloading, sorting, pressing, cleaning, punching down and everything else.
Amy Gross Vinesleuth


Writing about wine can rob one of the joy of just drinking wine.

Gregory dal Piaz Snooth

Wine Harlots Nanette, Snooth's Gregory dal Piaz, Wine Folly's Madeline Puckette

Q: What are the worst moments of your job?


Tasting notes
I really hate writing traditional tasting notes. I feel like they always reduce a bottle of wine to the same familiar set of descriptors and sound bites, and yet editors always seem to want them.
Maybe the burden should be on us, as writers, to breathe some fresh air into the conventions of the genre.
Zachary Sussman The Verbose Vine

Hangovers and drugs
I was in Spain and another wine blogger literally packed a medi-kit; caffeine pills, vicadin, ibuprofein, sleep-aids, the whole bit. At the time I was shocked, but after a night of drinking ‘gin tonics’ trying to get the real story on the people of Lagroño, I wanted to dip into her stash. I was low, the kind of low where you sit on the toilet praying for something to happen.
Madeline P.

Seriously stained teeth
I checked into my hotel for the night and noticed that the people at the desk seemed to be looking at me strangely. I gave them a big smile– and then remembered that my teeth were dark greyish purple after having been stained… I now keep a toothbrush in my purse for tastings and judging.
Amy Gross Vinesleuth

The List: Wine Blogs

Here’s a little more detail on the wine blogs above:

Reverse Wine Snob
Jon Thorsen’s focused blog on wine reviews and ratings of only wines under $20.
The Verbose Vine
A wine writer’s very-well-crafted musings on the world of wine.
Gregory dal Piaz is the most prolific writer for Snooth.
My Vine Spot
A wine blog started by Dezel Quillen who flies by the seat of his pants into the wine world.
A casual wine blog with Amy Gross about US wine events, podcasts, food and more.
Hip Tastes
A west coast travel heavy blog by Courtney Cochran
Wine Harlots
A culture infused wine blog thats best moments bring out the hilarity of wine and drinking.
The Wine Hub
Luiz Alberto has a very active facebook group and selflessly promotes the experiential side of wine.

Are you a wine blogger? Tell us a funny experience about your job below.

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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