Wine Writers : Squeezing the Grape for News
Two years ago, Craig Goldwyn--publisher of International Wine Review magazine--spoke to a couple of East Coast audiences about people who write on wine for American newspapers and magazines.
Goldwyn, who also writes a monthly wine column in the Washington Post, began by asking, “What is a wine writer?” Then he answered his own question:
“A wine writer is a physician or a lawyer with a bottle of wine and a typewriter, looking to see his or her name in print, looking for an invitation to a free lunch and a way to write off the wine cellar.”
Colman Andrews, who writes about wine for Los Angeles magazine, offered an even more acerbic observation in a recent interview:
“Any jerk can call himself a wine critic and get published.”
Andrews and Goldwyn may have been indulging in a bit of hyperbole--but not much, judging from recent Times interviews with more than 40 wine writers and 15 editors nationwide, as well as with about 90 other people in the wine industry--wine makers, winery owners, importers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors, publicists, restaurateurs and representatives of French, Italian, German, Spanish and Australian wine, trade and tourism agencies.
Most wine writers are genuinely enthusiastic proselytizers for the wines they like--so aggressively so that some seem to “forget this is not liquid gold, this is simply . . . grape juice,” says Gracelyn Blackmer, a publicist who represents several Sonoma County wineries.
Few wine writers are either experienced, professional journalists or knowledgeable students of wine; most are wine hobbyists--lawyers, doctors or others who can afford to drink good wine regularly--or free-lance writers eager for all-expense-paid trips to the vineyards of Europe.
‘By and Large Obligated’
“Most . . . people who are involved in . . . wine writing . . . are . . . by and large obligated to the people who are producing the product,” says John Tilson, editor and publisher of the respected, Seal Beach-based Wine Journal newsletter (formerly called the Underground Wine Letter).
Ethical standards in the wine writing field are virtually nonexistent. Most newspapers tolerate behavior from their wine writers--most of whom are free-lance contributors, rather than staff members--that they expressly forbid in other areas of the paper.
Most respected newspapers in major cities have policies, for example, prohibiting staff members (and, at a few papers, free-lance contributors as well) from accepting any free gifts from news sources or from taking any free trips or from engaging in any other activity that could be construed as even a potential conflict of interest.
A few papers apply these standards to their wine writers, too. But most wine writers are allowed to accept free lunches, dinners and junkets to the famous wine regions of the world, all fully paid for by individual wineries, groups of vintners or foreign trade and tourist organizations.
A few wine writers also work as consultants to the wineries they write about. Others write books subsidized by wine interests. Virtually all wine writers accept hundreds of bottles of free wine every year from the wineries they write about. Usually, wineries send writers just one or, sometimes, two sample bottles of each wine. But on occasion, “If a wine writer tells me, ‘I really like your wine,’ and then there is a pregnant pause, I’ll offer him our 30%, ‘friends of the winery’ discount (for cases),” says Tor Kenward, vice president of communications for Beringer Vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Writers’ Crucial Role
All this might not seem terribly important on the journalism ethics scale; after all, writing about the respective merits of a French Burgundy and a California Pinot Noir is not quite as essential to the preservation of democracy as covering the Iran- contra scandal. But wine production and wine consumption have increased enormously in the United States in the last 15 years or so, and wine writers have played a crucial role in that growth.
“We’d still be back in the Dark Ages vis-a-vis the French and the Germans and everybody else . . . but for . . . the wine writers,” says Jim Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena in the Napa Valley.
From 1970 to 1985, the number of wineries in California almost tripled (from 240 to 676), wine production and per capita wine consumption throughout the United States almost doubled and total wine consumption more than doubled (although it has since dropped slightly--down 11% since 1984).
Much of this growth was fueled by a burst in foreign travel in the 1960s and 1970s--largely made possible by dramatically lower overseas air fares; American went to Europe, became interested in fine food and wine and brought those interests home with them.
But wine is still a commodity largely unfamiliar to the vast majority of Americans. A 1983 Fortune magazine survey showed that 15% of the people in this country The United States is the only major wine-producing country in the world with an influential wine press.
drink about 85% of the wine; people in six states consume more than 50% of the wine. (California alone accounts for 22% of the nation’s total wine consumption--and 68% of the nation’s wine production.)
Even the average Californian drinks 10 times more beer than wine, though, and despite the large increase in wine drinking in this country, the United States still ranks only 30th in the world in per capita wine consumption; the average resident of Portugal, Italy and France drinks about 10 times more wine than the average American.
Interestingly, the United States is the only major wine-producing country in the world with an influential wine press. England has long had the best and most respected wine writers--dating to George Edward Bateman Saintsbury in the 19th Century and continuing today with Hugh Johnson, author of the landmark reference books “Wine” and “World Atlas of Wine.” But England is a major wine market, not a major wine producer.
Part of Their Culture
On the European continent, most people grow up drinking wine. It is an integral part of their culture. They do not need a writer to tell them what to drink. Besides, Europeans tend to drink mostly local wines--the same wines their mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers drank.
Not only is there no wine drinking tradition in the United States, but there are new American wineries opening all the time. The average consumer faces an increasingly bewildering variety of wines from both here and abroad--about 10,000 different wines in any given year. Stores now routinely display a whole range of domestic wines alongside wines from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Australia, Greece. . . .
Technological advances in wine making--especially in California and in Bordeaux--have all but eliminated the disastrous vintage that used to plague the wine industry occasionally, thus making the wine writer more valuable than ever. With consumers rarely able to ignore an entire vintage anymore, who but the wine writer can help the consumer sort through all the available wines and decide which is good and which is very good, which is merely acceptable and which is acceptable but overpriced?
In England, wine merchants help perform this function. Most top wine writers in England are financially involved in the wine business--many as merchants or importers. That is not regarded as a conflict of interest there, where wine merchants, too, have a long and noble history.
Even Hugh Johnson has connections with the wine business--as a member of the board of directors of Chateau Latour, the prestigious Bordeaux wine maker; as president of a wine club that sells wines and organizes wine tastings and tours, and as host for an upcoming, 10-part, public television series on the history of wine, largely financed by the Banfi Foundation, established by Villa Banfi, the Italian wine maker.
In the United States, such affiliations would be regarded as a potential conflict of interest. Paul Gillette, publisher of the Los Angeles-based Wine Investor newsletter, has criticized Johnson for accepting this lucrative assignment (especially after Johnson wrote a glowing account in Town & Country magazine about a major Banfi venture). But Johnson denies that there is any conflict of interest, and--as Europe’s surprised reaction to the entire Gary Hart-Donna Rice brouhaha showed--Americans tend to be much more fastidious (or, Europeans would say, less sophisticated) about certain moral and ethical issues than are most Europeans.
Moreover, most wine merchants in the United States do not know enough to help novice customers, and those few merchants who are knowledgeable may lack credibility; rightly or wrongly, customers often see them as having only the integrity of their inventory.
The result? The development of wine writing as a uniquely American cottage industry.
Brian St. Pierre says that when he took charge of public relations for the California Wine Institute in 1974, there were only 75 names on his press mailing list--and many of them wrote more about food than about wine. Now there are 464 names on the list (only 25 or 30 of whom are generally considered important in the industry).
There are now dozens of private wine newsletters published and distributed by mail in the United States. There is also a biweekly newspaper devoted exclusively to wine--the Wine Spectator, published in San Francisco, which ran 96 pages in a recent issue. In addition, there are a dozen or so serious wine magazines, several food magazines that cover wine and a number of general interest magazines (Vogue, Vanity Fair, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago) with regular wine columnists.
Almost two-thirds of the newspapers in the country with a circulation of more than 100,000 now publish an article or column on wine at least once a week--up 27% since 1983--and the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner each have two regular wine columnists; the Washington Post has three. Both San Francisco papers publish a weekly wine page filled with stories and columns from a variety of sources.
Hundreds of small newspapers also publish wine columns. Jerry Mead, who aggressively pursues consumer issues in the wine industry, syndicates his twice-weekly column to more than two dozen small-to-medium-size papers throughout the state from his base in San Francisco.
Regarded as Best in U.S.
Frank Prial of the New York Times is almost universally regarded as the best wine writer on any American newspaper. Indeed, many wine makers say Prial helped alter the course of California wine making when he wrote in 1981 that most California wines were “too aggressive, too alcoholic . . . clumsy, overpowering"--too big and heavy to properly complement food.
“When Frank Prial talks, people listen,” says Denise Vouris of Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Prial’s column crystallized a growing sentiment about many California wines, and a large number of wine makers responded by making lighter wines--which they promoted as “food wines.”
Prial wrote a weekly wine column for about 10 years between 1972 and 1986, sandwiched around other assignments, but wine has never been his main interest, and wine writing has never been his full-time job. Prial has been a professional newspaper reporter for more than 30 years, covering a variety of subjects, and he now writes only one wine column every two weeks for his paper’s Sunday magazine.
Although no American daily newspaper has a full-time staff member writing about wine exclusively, there are several other career journalists writing about wine part time while holding other, full-time jobs on their newspapers. There is no pattern to the kinds of papers that have such writers; much seems to depend on whether a paper just happens to have a knowledgeable wine buff on staff when the editors decide it’s time to start a wine column.
The New York Times originally had Prial on staff as a general assignment reporter, and when he went to Paris as a foreign correspondent, the paper had Terry Robards on staff (as an editor in the business section) to take his place.
‘Interview’ With Jefferson
The paper’s current wine columnist is Howard Goldberg, assistant editor of the Op-Ed page who took over on a trial basis early this year and has already impressed other wine writers and wine makers alike with his knowledgeable, somewhat idiosyncratic, approach to the job. Last month, for example, using the writings of Thomas Jefferson, who was a wine lover and wine collector, Goldberg wrote a column based on an imaginary “wide-ranging interview about foreign and domestic wines (with Jefferson) . . . his first (interview) in 161 years.”
Other metropolitan daily papers that use full-time staff members to write their wine columns include the Baltimore Sun (whose wine writer is Michael Dresser, the assistant financial editor), Baltimore Evening Sun (Michael Hill, the television critic), Seattle Times (Tom Stockley, associate editor of the paper’s Sunday magazine), and Houston Chronicle (Michael Lonsford, editor of the paper’s Sunday entertainment magazine).
At least one full-time journalist and part-time, syndicated wine writer works for a much smaller paper--Dan Berger, a former sports columnist and business editor who is now a business reporter for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (circulation: 75,000).
(Berger is so obsessed with wine that when he was married in 1976 and the rabbi handed him the traditional glass of wine during the ceremony, Berger instinctively gave it a professional sniff--and decided that his willingness to take an obligatory sip, even though the wine was “the kind of inexpensive, sweet wine I hate,” was the ultimate proof of his love for his bride.)
Wine makers and other wine writers alike generally regard these professional journalists as among the very best in the wine writing field. Unlike most wine writers--amateurs who seem to write only for avid wine buffs and industry insiders--these professionals try to write for what Hill calls “the vast general audience, (the) interested but nervous (who) don’t know that much. “
But wine writing is still in its infancy, and although there are some good wine writers, even among non-journalists, the field is not “crowded with great writers,” in the words of Sam Hughes, a free-lance writer who wrote a widely respected wine column for Philadelphia magazine from 1981 to 1985 and for the Philadelphia Inquirer for two years after that.
(Hughes had to quit wine writing this year after developing an allergy to alcohol that left him feeling “physically exhausted for four or five days and mentally very depressed and kind of spaced out and jittery.”)
Loss Called ‘Devastating’
Like most newspaper wine writers, Hughes wrote his column for the Inquirer’s weekly food section, and Ken Bookman, the paper’s food editor, said recently that Hughes’ loss was “devastating--good wine writers are very, very hard to find.”
Indeed they are--especially if the newspaper insists on high ethical standards, as does the Inquirer (and a very few other papers).
Virtually all newspapers permit their wine writers to accept the free sample bottles of wine that many wineries send to writers for tasting and evaluation each time they release a new vintage, for example. Not the Inquirer--or some other papers in the Knight-Ridder chain.
(The Baltimore Sun also requires that its wine writer refuse free sample bottles--if they are valued at more than $5, the same restriction imposed on gifts to any staff members. But the Baltimore Evening Sun wine writer says he is permitted to accept free sample bottles, even though both Sun papers are owned by Times Mirror Co. Times Mirror also publishes the Los Angeles Times--which permits its two wine writers, both free-lance contributors, to accept free bottles, too.
(Such inconsistencies are not unusual. The Inquirer, for example, prohibits its free-lance wine writer from accepting free wine or from taking any free trips, but the free-lance wine writer at the Miami Herald, also a Knight-Ridder paper, says he is permitted to accept free wine and to take some free trips.)
Most editors justify the acceptance of free wine on essentially the same grounds they justify the acceptance of free books sent by publishers to book reviewers: (1) So many thousands are released every year that it would be prohibitively expensive to buy them all, (2) the vast majority will not be written about anyway and (3) the consumer might otherwise suffer because the newspaper would inevitably overlook or be unable to find some worthy releases.
Moreover, wine writers say, they receive far more free samples than they want--much of it inexpensive wine that they neither want to drink nor write about. Nathan Chroman, longtime free-lance wine writer for the Los Angeles Times, says his wife often complains because “we receive samples and I’m constantly tasting eight glasses of this or that and she says, ‘Why can’t we have a decent bottle of wine tonight?’ ”
More important, wine writers argue, no winery can buy their opinions for a bottle of wine--or even several bottles of wine.
But editors at a few papers say they are concerned with appearances as well as reality.
‘Would Be Unthinkable’
The Inquirer, for example, is almost alone in insisting on paying for its wine writer’s dinners at special wine tastings, and Bookman says, “It would be unthinkable to accept free samples (of wine) any more than we accept a free anything else"--although the Inquirer, too, accepts free books.
Phyllis Richman, executive food editor of the Washington Post, says the wine writers for her paper are also “supposed to return any (free) samples they get.” But both Craig Goldwyn and Ben Giliberti, each of whom writes a monthly wine column for the Post, said in interviews that they knew of no such policy. Both said they accept free samples.
A few other wine writers say they have tried to send back sample bottles, but most give up because there are so many wineries now, it is virtually a full-time job trying to get the word out to all of them and then returning the wines to those who continue sending them.
“I can’t stop the flow (of free wine) any more than anybody can stop the ocean . . . or stop the arrival of morning,” says Goldberg of the New York Times.
Buying wine for a weekly column can be expensive. Very few papers--the New York Times and Baltimore Sun among them--reimburse their wine writers for whatever wine they buy (sometimes $100 a week or more). A few other papers provide their wine writers with a set wine budget--$50 a week at the Inquirer, for example. (The Los Angeles Times provides neither budget or reimbursement except on rare, special occasions.)
But suppose a writer wants to taste and evaluate, say, a dozen 1985 red Burgundies--many of which will probably cost more than $35 per bottle? Either he gets them free or he spends his own money on them or he does not taste them (or report on them to his readers).
A few wine writers do buy some wine for their columns with their own money; the Post’s Giliberti, whose full-time job is as an antitrust attorney in the Justice Department, says he has spent about $2,000 since he began writing a monthly wine column in February, 1986.
Given what most wine writers are paid for their columns, that is a considerable amount of money. Most free-lance wine writers are paid $5 to $50 or so per column on smaller papers, $100 to $250 on larger papers. (Gerald Asher of the San Francisco Chronicle is probably the highest-paid weekly wine columnist, receiving “more than $350 a week,” his editor says.)
No wonder wine writers are grateful for the free samples they are sent--and for the many free wine tastings they are invited to. (In New York, there are free wine tastings almost every day in the spring and fall; in one five-day period last October, there were 12 such events, featuring the wines of five different countries. New York wine writers say they could taste about 8,000 wines a year without spending a penny.)
Trips and Meals
In addition to all the free samples and free tastings of wine, a wine writer in a major city could also have his lunch and dinner paid for by wine interests virtually every night of the week--and he could probably take four to six free trips abroad every year.
Some wine writers are so eager for all these emoluments that they are willing to give their columns to newspapers for next to nothing, just so they can be on press agents’ media invitation list.
“Being a wine columnist . . . is very much like being a high-priced call girl,” says columnist Jerry Mead. “It’s tough to compete with all the amateurs giving it away free.”
William Clifford, a Connecticut-based wine writer, says he actually does give his column away free to some of the papers in which it appears. Clifford also concedes that he has, in the past, worked as a paid consultant “on a monthly retainer for fairly long periods of time” for at least one winery and at least two wine importers.
“As part of my monthly fee to do miscellaneous writing,” he says, he wrote about his clients’ wines in his column.
Other wine writers have also worked as consultants for wine industry interests.
Mead says he has been a paid consultant--generally on a “one-day basis"--at $75 an hour, $500 a day, for “10 or 15 wineries in 10 or 15 years.” Ronn Wiegand, a wine writer based in Napa, says he was paid “a few thousand dollars” to write a 36-page booklet published last year by the Geman Wine Information Bureau telling restaurateurs how best to sell German wines to their customers. Wiegand subsequently wrote columns praising German wines for the San Francisco Examiner and for Wine Country magazine.
Both Mead and Wiegand say they see no impropriety or conflict of interest in what they did.
“I am . . . a promoter of German wines. . . . I love the wines,” Wiegand says, “but . . . (the book) should be looked at . . . not as an endorsement of German wines . . . but (in) the context in which it was written. . . . It’s a marketing book. . . .
‘Straight and Narrow’
“Anybody who reads anything that I write can see that I walk pretty straight and narrow.”
Other wine writers offer similar explanations when questioned about potential or apparent conflicts of interest, but as Jim Barrett, proprietor of Chateau Montelena, says:
“No matter how Simon-pure they are in their intentions, I think, subconsciously, there’d have to be some persuasion to speak well of the person that you work with. It’s just natural.”
Most editors (including those at the Los Angeles Times) say it would be unfair to insist that free-lance writers, who are paid so little, live by the same standards that govern staff members, who draw full-time salaries and employee benefits. Even if such standards were applied, they would be difficult to enforce, these editors say.
Thus, Barbara Ensrud, who writes a free-lance wine column for the New York Daily News, is “free to accept whatever she feels she needs to accept to get her job done,” says Arthur Schwartz, the paper’s food editor. “I know she has a lot of integrity. . . . We have no rules.”
But Ensrud also writes a free-lance wine column for the Wall Street Journal, and that paper prohibits junkets for staffers and free-lancers alike. Thus, when Ensrud takes a free trip, she can write about it for the Daily News but not for the Journal.
Editors at the New York Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and a few other papers agree with the Journal policy. They say standards should be the same for all stories that appear in the paper; readers should be able to assume that no stories in the paper were written after the writer--whether staffer or free-lancer--was given something that neither he nor the paper paid for.
“We ask the few free-lancers we use whether they go on junkets or have any connection with the wine industry,” says Nancy Newhouse, editor of the Style/Living department at the New York Times. “Our preference is to use people who have never (done those things).”
The New York Times pays $225 to $300 for free-lance wine stories (and $250 for its weekly wine column), more than most other papers generally pay, and that--combined with the prestige of writing for the Times--enables the paper to get good stories while insisting that its standards be adhered to.
Other papers pay less and lack both the Times’ prestige and, in most cases, its standards, and many wine writers and wine makers blame these papers for making all the junkets and freeloading inevitable.
Level of Pay Cited
“The level of pay . . . often ensures that you’ll get ill-informed . . . and sometimes severely compromised wine journalism,” says Michael Dresser of the Baltimore Sun. “Papers . . . pay $25 a week and turn their heads. . . . A guy ends up in Burgundy, and they (the editors) don’t ask how he got there. They don’t want to know.”
Editors say readership of wine columns is not large enough to justify spending thousands of dollars to send their wine writers abroad and to pay for all their meals and wine. But wine writers say they should periodically visit the major vineyards of the world to keep themselves informed, and some use their vacations to do just that, at their own expense. Those who cannot afford to do that--the majority--go on junkets . . . and, almost invariably, they do not disclose to their readers who paid for their trips.
Even a few wine writers who are well-paid take free trips. Anthony Dias Blue, who says he earns a six-figure annual income from wine journalism--as a syndicated columnist, wine editor for Bon Appetit magazine, regular contributor to two other publications and host of a daily radio show--says he has taken at least five trips abroad in the last three years for which most, if not all, of his expenses were paid by a wine maker or foreign trade or tourist agency or airline.
Writers who take junkets say they work hard on these trips and learn a great deal that ultimately benefits the reader/consumer; they insist that they are not obligated to write a story, favorable or otherwise, about the wines they taste or the vineyards or countries they visit. There is no quid pro quo, they say, just as there is no quid pro quo for all the free lunches and dinners they accept from wine makers.
That is not necessarily the way the wine makers and the sponsors of the free trips see things.
“There are certain, unspoken rules,” says Joy Sterling, director of sales, marketing and public relations for Iron Horse Vineyards in Sonoma County. “If you have lunch with me and it’s understood that I’m going to pay for lunch, then there is some understanding that something is going to, at some point in time, be written about our wine. . . . If you have no intention of doing that, then you are supposed to politely decline lunch.
“There are no free lunches. . . .”
A few California wine makers sponsor seminars to which they also invite wine writers, paying all their expenses in the hope of future stories on their wines.
“It’s part of the P.R. (public relations) world. . . . You scratch my back, I scratch yours,” says Claudia McAlister, who handles public relations for Sterling Vineyards in the Napa Valley.
Air Fare and Lodging
Some wineries also provide air fare and lodging for wine writers who come to Napa for the annual auction or to visit their vineyards, but a few papers--notably the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer--always insist on paying their writers’ expenses.
As for foreign travel, well, a a wine writer traveling to virtually any wine-producing country, can always find at least one wine (or one wine-related experience) worth writing about. Anyone taking such an all-expense-paid trip is expected to do just that, to fulfill his part of the unstated quid pro quo, most writers’ protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.
Wine writers are no doubt correct when they say they do not feel an obligation to write about a junket, but a Times examination shows that most do write--and write favorably--about the wines they taste on these free trips (although Jerry Mead has also written critically of his junket hosts and their wines on a few occasion, more than many other wine writers).
Dee Stone, who writes a biweekly wine column for the Atlanta Constitution, went to the Loire Valley last year on a trip paid for by Foods and Wines of France; when she returned she wrote a column praising the “beguiling . . . lively . . . delicious” wines of the Loire.
Larry Walker, managing editor of Wines and Vines magazine and a weekly columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, went to Australia this year on a trip paid for by the Australian Trade Commission and Qantas Airways; he subsequently wrote a column for Wines and Vines that described various Australian wines as “exceptional,” “sensational,” “lovely,” “sensuous,” “utterly intriguing” and “magnificent.”
Kristine Curry, who writes a weekly wine column for the Chicago Tribune, says a representative of one French wine negociant came up to her last spring, almost two years after a free trip she had taken to France under his sponsorship, and said, “You really owe us some stories.”
Curry says she did not want to “feel like I owe anybody anything,” so she decided to take no more free trips sponsored by purely commercial enterprises; she would take such trips only when they were sponsored by government-subsidized trade and tourist agencies or by regional associations of vintners.
Bob Hosmon, wine writer at the Miami Herald, makes a similar distinction--as did the Wine Spectator newspaper, until recently. But last month, after inquiries by a Times reporter preparing this story, the Wine Spectator said it was henceforth banning all free trips for its staff members and free-lance contributors, regardless of who sponsored the trip.
Harvey Steiman, executive editor of the Wine Spectator, said the policy change had been “in the works for some time” and was not made in response to Times inquiries.
“There is at least the appearance of a conflict of interest if even part of your expenses are being paid by the people you’re writing about,” Steiman said. “We decided we don’t want even to appear to be beholden to anybody.”
Susanna Shuster and Tom Lutgen of The Times editorial library assisted with the research for this story. WINE DRINKING AND WINE WRITING Wine consumption in the United States is up, and so, too, is interest in articles about wine.
1970 1975 1980 1985 Wine Production* 255.9 384.0 475.5 454.5 Wine Consumption* 267.4 368.0 479.6 580.3 Consumption per capita 1.31 1.71 2.21 2.43 California Wineries 240 321 470 676
* (in millions of gallons) TOP WINE--PRODUCING STATES 1. California 2. New York 3. Florida 4. Texas 5. Illinois 6. New Jersey 7. Massachusetts 8. Michigan 9. Ohio 10. Washington PER CAPITA WINE DRINKING 1. Portugal 2. Italy 3. France 4. Argentina 5. Luxembourg 6. Switzerland 7. Spain 8. Greece 9. Chile. 30. United States THE NUMBER OF WINE WRITERS The number of writers on the California Wine Institute press list has increased dramatically since 1974. 1974 (75) 1987 (464)
Sources: Economic Research Department, Wine Institute; Wine Spectator.