It should be interesting to hear MacNeil preach the Word to America’s wine bloggers, most of whom still await their blogs being translated into English. Luckily, I was provided with a transcript of Ms. MacNeil’s speech. I swear on a stack of Wine Bibles this will be her actual presentation. (Q: What do you call a stack of The Wine Bible? A: The remainder table.)
Good Evening, Fellow Wine Writers. Yeah, I do love to start a speech with a joke.
We’re here in the Finger Lakes, home of our best domestic Rieslings. Even the Germans are jealous of the Rieslings produced in this region. In the United States, you can use the Finger Lakes to pick your Riesling. In Germany, you use the Finger Lakes to pick your Nahes. Just don’t eat it.
But enough levity. I’m here to speak to you wine bloggers about the noble craft of wine writing, and why you’re ruining it. My latest book, The New Wine Bible, is about to be published, and it’s safe to say that there really isn’t much left for you to write about. I’ve covered just about everything, and in my own irrepressible and captivating style. And I wrote it by myself, not like Jancis Robinson and her stable of writers for The Oxford Companion to Wine. I’m my own team of experts. Jancis is just a franchise, the Brookstone of wine writers, each book filled with useless crap invented by loners and crackpots that you buy and then leave on your shelf forever wondering what the hell you were thinking. The New Wine Bible, or as I like to call it, “It’s Me, God Again,” makes all future wine writing unnecessary, like your tonsils, or Mutineer Magazine, which is to writing what explosive diarrhea is to art.
I know, you didn’t come to the Finger Lakes to hear me say wine writing as a profession is dead. You came here to pretend your voices matter. And they do. Just not to anyone else. Ask yourself, who would miss your little wine blog if you decided to quit tomorrow? You don’t even have as many unique hits as an NFL lineman’s wife. I’m not saying that you should quit writing. You can’t quit something you’re not actually doing. I’m saying you should quit typing.
You all look a bit thunderstruck. But, truly, I am doing you a favor. No one makes any money as a wine writer. You know what kind of advance I got for The New Wine Bible? The publisher put his hand down my pants, that’s what my advance was. Speaking of Finger Lakes. It’s not glamorous being a wine writer; it’s relentlessly dull. It’s the Prosecco of occupations, cheap and full of fake effervescence. You never get to tell the truth. Not if you want to be successful, not if you want to be welcome in the world’s great wine regions, not if you want to keep on getting free samples to sell to the neighborhood kids. You dispense romance, the very mother’s milk of the wine business. You’re just an engorged pair of tits leaking winery stories. Is that what you want to be? You want Marvin Shanken to be your breast pump? When his cup size is larger?
Even if it is what you want to be, I’ve read most of the nominated and award-winning wine blogs, and you don’t have the chops to make it as a wine writer. Your prose is like box wine—a collapsing plastic sack of crap. Reading your wine descriptions is like trimming your nostrils with needlenose pliers—excruciatingly stupid, and a waste of perfectly good tools. I usually wonder if you even tasted the wine, or if you just reworded the back label. I have news for you, back labels are NOT Cliff Notes for wine bloggers. That got you through the JC, but it won’t work as a wine writer. By the way, there are no Cliff Notes for The Wine Bible. You cannot summarize genius.
Wine bloggers have made a mockery of wine writing. Fools say we should treat you as peers. That’s stupid. Just because you have .docx doesn’t mean you’re peers. I’ve won every major wine writing award in English. Can Robert Parker say that? Can Eric Asimov say that? Can Terry Theise say that—well, OK, he doesn’t write in English, but you get my point. You’re all competing for a Wine Blog Award. Ooh, isn’t that special? They give that to a “Citizen Blogger.” What the hell is a “Citizen Blogger?” A rejected Orson Welles movie? A Wine Blog Award isn’t a major wine writing award. It’s a front for a travel company. You just got your ass time-shared—which, come to think of it, might qualify you to write for Wine Spectator. A Wine Blog Award…There is no such thing. You think I’m kidding? Show me one! They’re like natural wines, imaginary things you think will change your life only to find out the only ones making money are the people who made them up. And, hey, if it were a major wine writing award, Karen MacNeil would have several. Did you see my clever videos where I was dressed as a nun? I put the superior in Mother Superior. I looked hot. Elvis hot.
Wine writing in the age of the Internet has become self-parody. It’s a lot like wine itself. In one camp is the overblown and preposterous, think Napa Valley Cabernet and any issue of World of Fine Wine. Both slick and stylish but ultimately just a lot of posturing with very little of interest. Every issue, of both the wines and the magazine, is the damned near the same. And in the other camp, there’s underdevelopment and fake humility. Think low alcohol, self-proclaimed natural wines and the columnists for Wine Spectator. Both feature an awful lot of chit-chat, a parade of puffery, but deliver virtually nothing. We talk about energy in wine, but where is the energy in wine writing? You know it when you taste it, but when’s the last time you tasted it? Not in the pages of a wine magazine, and not on a wine blog. Wine writing is running out of energy. So I guess it’s resorted to fracking, and you, my friends, are the originals, the mother frackers.
I don’t know about you, but this seems a little harsh…