Alder Yarrow of Vinography, considered one of the first wine bloggers in the world and still blogging on a regular basis, will provide the Closing Keynote at the 2020 Wine Media Conference, to be held August 20 – 22 in Eugene, Oregon.
San Francisco Magazine has called Alder “The Wine World’s Brightest Cyberstar” and he was nominated for a James Beard Award in 2013. Alder writes occasionally for publications such as World of Fine Wine and Fine Cooking magazine and is the author of The Essence of Wine, which was named one of the best wine books of 2014 by The New York Times and won the coveted Chairman’s Prize at the 2015 Louis Roederer International Wine Writers Awards. Alder is a columnist for Jancis Robinson on her web site jancisrobinson.com. In 2013 Alder was inducted into the Wine Media Guild of New York’s Wine Writers Hall of Fame.
Alder started Vinography on January 15, 2004, which means as of this writing the site is almost exactly 16 years old. Blogging (basically a reverse date-ordered series of posts) was just becoming mainstream. Says Alder:
“There were like 12 of us and we all knew each other and commented on each other’s stuff, and it felt like something new and fresh and exciting and different. It was also really exciting to see how much people were paying attention to blogs at that point. Traffic was up and to the right.”
But being first is not nearly as impressive as still being active 16 years later. I asked Alder what his secret is.
“No secret really. Just dedication. I don’t watch TV, and it’s the thing I do to take care of myself. It’s a personal passion and one that I’m quite disciplined about.”
Alder actually spoke at the very first Wine Bloggers Conference (now the Wine Media Conference) back in 2008. He spoke the day after Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV told the audience if we worked hard enough we could all make a million dollars wine blogging. Alder gave a much more realistic picture, telling us we were not likely to make any money at all. Was Alder right?
“Oh yes. Of course Gary went on to make millions, so maybe none of us really knew what he meant or knew how to do what he saw so easily to do. But honestly, no one even made $100,000 dollars wine blogging.”
Twelve years later, some things have not changed but others have. Wine blogging is still quite active and most bloggers don’t make money. But bloggers engage in other forms of wine communication and traditional media often have their own sites with blogs on them.
“Absolutely the lines of wine media have blurred. There was a time when none of the major paid wine writers in the country had blogs. Now a lot of them don’t have paid jobs, and nearly all of them have blogs.”
Twelve years after Alder’s first appearance speaking at the Wine Media Conference, we are thrilled to pass him the microphone again, this time to provide a keynote address and opine about The History and Future of Wine Blogging.
“I’m interested to see how the community of online wine writers has evolved. Also, I’m in the process of shifting my focus back to Vinography and will be doing a lot more writing in the coming year.”
For an interesting, personal take on our keynote speaker see Alder’s bio on his own website.