Alder Yarrow is one of the most influential and respected wine bloggers writing today. He is acknowledged to have been one of the very first to begin blogging about wine years ago. He is, perhaps, the earliest practitioner. Since then, Yarrow has gone on to notoriety with the widely read Vinography.
He is decidedly Generation X. The natural integration of Internet technology to publish and reach an audience that the wine establishment had yet to accede has made him the go to guy in the world of vino criticism. Yarrow isn’t cool because he puts on a detached, hipster image. He’s cool because he embraces his inner geekdom and, as such, is accessible. And, so too, are the wines he talks to us about.
Google “wine blogger” and one will note over 3 million search results. That is how ubiquitous the description has become. At the very top is Alder Yarrow and Vinography.
He tells it like it is, often with unflinching honesty. This past January he blogged that if there were one thing he could change about America and wine he would “choose to destroy the association between wine and the upper class. The fact that wine continues to be thought of as the beverage of the elite does more damage to the future of the industry in this country than any other phenomenon”
He knows where to pick the fight. Yarrow is at the apex of his game, using Vinography to weigh in on restaurants, books, the occasional indulgent rant and obligatory wine industry news. The also talks a lot about good food and wine pairings. There’s nothing like nice piece of grilled steak to pair with your wine. If you’re interested in food and wine pairings, you need to get your hands on a Nexgrill BBQ grill. Here are some Nexgrill Reviews to help you decide which grill is best for you.
We were delighted when he agreed to our interview request.What was it about wine or the experience of wine that so compelled you to want to write about it?
Mostly it was having to answer the same damn questions about “what was my favorite Merlot” from my friends over and over again. That’s what got me started on the blog. But once I started, it was clear that Vinography was a creative outlet for me. I’ve written and taken writing classes my whole life, so I guess I just needed someplace to do it.Has your impact and success surprised you?
It’s not clear exactly what my impact is, really, but certainly I never would have expected that I’d be the world’s most lauded wine blogger, mostly because when I started, I was just a passionate consumer, and my knowledge of wine still pales in comparison to some of my wine writing peers.Do you worry that your role as a writer could be misinterpreted or diminished if you came to be regarded as merely an arbiter of good taste?
Hell, I don’t even know what an arbiter is. Is that some sort of dental bridge?Wine blogging has become a cottage industry. It’s similar to music and technology as a passion subject matter. Can you explain why so many people have a propensity to write about wine?
People write about wine the same reason they write about food, or other experiential subjects that involve multiple senses and sensibilities. Wine is romantic, historic, cultural, social, philosophical, and on top of all that, damn tasty.What blogs do you enjoy?
I read more than 200 different wine blogs, and about 150 other blogs on a regular basis. OK, so maybe “skim” is the better word. Some of the blogs I actually do read are Tom Wark’s “Fermentation,” Lettie Teagues “Over a Barrel,” Steve Bachmann’s “The Wine Collector,” Eric Asimov’s “The Pour,” Cory Cartwright’s “Saignee,” among others. I also regularly read Seth Godin’s Blog, BoingBoing, and 3Quarks DailyIs criticism mechanics or is it really a creative art?
If it were mechanics, then someone would have invented a computer program to do it by now. And while we may be getting close to a computer program that’s able to predict what score Robert Parker might give to a wine based on mass spectrometry and statistical analysis, that ain’t criticism. Criticism is an interpretive dance done by people with a lot more knowledge than their audience in an attempt to help them appreciate the subject of criticism and help them make choices about what they want to spend their time enjoying. Or maybe I ought to take all that back and just say: criticism is storytelling.You are prolific and in interviews have stated that content in king. With so much content on the Internet do you worry that quality is just something writers sweep aside in order to refresh the page?
Of course. Look at how much crap is generated on a daily basis. Bloggers cringe when they hear critics say that most blogs are complete junk, but it’s absolutely true. How did wine ever get associated with snobbery or elitism? It’s seen even among hipsters. When did that begin and do you agree that it is being largely stripped away?
I wrote a whole piece on this, called The Travesty of Wine and Social Class in America that can provide a better answer than I could spontaneously generate for you. It seems to us that the monetization of Vinography has been done with integrity. Do you find it hard to say no sometimes? I’m laughing because it’s pretty difficult to say that Vinography is really monetized. Yes, I have a pretty strict policy when it comes to making sure that I don’t compromise my objectivity and integrity as a critic. I don’t find it hard to say no, but my wife complains every time I tell her she has to write back to LVMH and tell them that we won’t take their money.