Wine Bloggers, Journalists and Influencers – Who and what are they?

15th November 2019


I wanted to take a look at a certain part of the wine industry that I would say fits one of the main roles I see myself having and that is wine blogging/journalism.

Now this is a section of the industry that is quite full at present, especially thanks to the internet and the emergence of social media. I meet more and more people that declare themselves a wine writer / blogger / journalist / influencer based on the simple fact that they have a wine themed website with a blog or two posted along with a handful of followers on social media though sometimes all they think they need is a business card saying you are in the world of wine. Of course, I also meet many writers who have important columns in national publications, have an industry recognised and used website, are a face from TV or even have 10,000’s of subscribers on Youtube. Both types of wine writers though are seen as one from anyone not in the know or familiar with the people in question – I am sure that many wine professionals will agree that at wine tasting events there are always the professionals along with a handful of the ‘usual suspects‘ that leave you wondering how they got through the registration desk!

So what exactly are bloggers / journalists and influencers in the wine industry and what benefits do they offer both the industry using them and the consumers engaging with their content?

Reaching the stars Blogging and Vlogging:

Many people now are familiar with the word ‘blogger’ and especially thanks to our younger generation where the likes of Youtubers (vlogging) and Instagramers are shooting some fresh faced youngsters to stardom and lucrative careers paths by them simply reviewing the likes of foods, make-ups, cars and clothing.

Blogging can be seen by many as merely a past time, not a proper full time job and not as serious as being a journalist for one usually takes a degree at university to be one of those. Blogging can be seen simply as marketing, being paid to write up content no matter what the opinion of the writer is, whereas being a journalist or author usually means you have an educated opinion to share.

Bloggers can also receive a hard time from within the industry, be seen as complimenting the spamming side of the internet and clogging up search engines with sponsored posts from editorials to tweets on Twitter.

Blogging is though a real job and even for those youngsters we see mounting up millions of followers on social media by merely uploading a review video on the latest lipstick shades. There are professional bloggers who need to research what they write, vloggers who need to stage the set for filming and perform editing and those who let photos do the talking needing the correct lighting, camera equipment and settings to get the perfect image – a blog is not always a five minute job!

Note that some people blog for a hobby and others blog for payment – Both still come under the title of ‘bloggers’.

The quality of bloggers also varies tremendously from those more or less copying other people’s work and rewording things here and there, to those who take time to research and compliment what they write with their own videos, photography with enhancements such as collating results from surveys etc.

The Professional term for a wine writer is a journalist:

A journalist in my view is someone who will generally keep an eye on current affairs and use whatever is of the moment to report on it in order to help sell the papers / magazines they write for or gain online readers for websites etc. Most of the time journalism is seen to run side by side with print media which we know has been hit in recent years due to the ongoing success of the internet and that accessing the web to read content is becoming more and more convenient and economical from our mobile phones to switching over to web pages on our home televisions.

Journalists will generally have a fixed space within a publication / media site and will be given an agenda to write about around which they have knowledge, in the wine industry many professionals will be able to state at least one name for which they write for.

Usually a journalist will rely totally on a third party to distribute and pay for their writing skills, in the wine industry the likes of Decanter / Harpers being the main players in the industry distributing journalist content. The danger here of course is that if they are moved on or the publication in question folds, then the journalist will have to find another team to join or hope that they have built up sufficient recognition in the industry to branch out alone which some have done in the past.

What are influencers:

My opinion once again, but an influencer is a person / brand that has placed itself within the limelight of a particular subject / industry sector and the content shared by them is seen by a significant target audience in that the content shared is likely to be engaged with thus giving a ROI from the cost of the using the services of that influencer.

Now an influencer can be a blogger who has grown their audiences from hard work to a new TV star thanks the likes of X-Factor or Britain’s Got Talent who has amassed a huge audience very quickly and uses this audience to help promote their own / third party products.

Influencers can also be disliked and usually because they are new and fresh within an industry. The wine industry has seen set procedures in place for years and new ways of thinking are not always welcomed with open arms (I found this when I tried to combine promoting Champagne and Prosecco under one theme ‘Sparkling Wines’) – So influencers can sometimes be cold shouldered until they are making enough noise that people have to work with them.

Usually influencers will be in the world of digital or visual media such as television, be it a new wine show or someone with 10,000’s of followers on Twitter – The impact they make within the industry can happen very fast and usually bring new ideas and innovation. I see this situation as positive and influencers are always interesting to find out more about, wine labels should see these people / brands as golden opportunities to build relationships with in order to increase their sales to new audiences.

Being an influencer overnight, say within the wine industry, does not mean that the person / brand in question has not worked hard and luck has come knocking at their door – It might have been a plan of action spanned over several years or heavy investment in money to get to the top quickly (it is never easy to reach the peak of any industry so these people must be complimented).

I also see influencers as brands too and the news channels online which funny enough will tend to be the place that bloggers and journalists and also PR / Marketing agencies for that matter look to engage with. They can influence the industry and the consumers that wish to engage with it by distributing news, recommendations and education that can influence consumer purchasing. We are all familiar with the names in the industry that we follow in order to read up on the latest news in wine which I hope now includes our very own Glass of Bubbly when it comes to all things fizz.
A wine website that has built a target audience and has considerable influence on natural search results on the likes of Google along with strong subscription databases for email marketing and big social media numbers must also be seen as a key industry influencer surely and be an important shop window that bloggers, vloggers, journalist can display their expertise / work? There is no point in being a blogger / journalist if your content is not being read by people interested in what you have to say – I’d say that without an influencer such as wine news website / magazine / newspaper column etc there would be a lot less bloggers / journalists in the wine industry.

Blogging vs Journalism v Influencers:

I reckon all three need each other and should work with each also in order to cement their place in the world of wine. Bloggers know how to deliver great content and where to place it so that the likes of wine suppliers can engage with consumers. We need journalists to get their teeth into topical and trending matters and enlighten us on specific subjects that we do not know too deeply. The places we should go to or the key people that influence our lives we also need to give us the confidence to make that all important decision in the industry – With whom should I be buying my next bottle of wine.

I reckon all three need each other and should work with each also in order to cement their place in the world of wine. Bloggers know how to deliver great content and where to place it so that the likes of wine suppliers can engage with consumers. Also you can get help of affordable resume writers to get consultation about starting a career.

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.