Okay… so… we stirred the pot a bit with last week’s lament on the state of wine writing. To the tune of a couple of hundred overall reactions in comments, emails, and social media.
One of the emails I received was from wine biz alumnus Les Hubbard. Les had happened to read that post, and almost simultaneously (while doing some house cleaning in his files) stumbled upon something nearly thirty years old that he thought was related to the topic of wine writing, and what we can hope to achieve from it (if not being able to achieve green-tinged paper with drawings of previous U.S. presidents on them).
In that email, Les recounted the main themes from a talk on wine writing given by John Frederick Walker in November of 1985 (I would’ve been all of thirteen at that time, and so more qualified to write about orange juice…).
Walker’s themes are eerily resonant today; in fact, they sound as if they could’ve been written last week, let alone twenty-eight years ago. Les gave me permission to share his email, for which I’m quite grateful; I desperately wanted to share them with the 1WD readership, because they feel so pertinent to the craft of wine writing, and because they comprise a fairly awesome exclamation point of sorts to last week’s discussion in the comments section about what it means to be a (underemployed) wine writer.
And so, courtesy of Les, here are Hubbard’s own words paraphrasing what I would consider some of the key points that are still at the heart of good wine scribing, as delivered back in the `80s. So dust off your Jams, Swatches, big-rimmed glasses, skinny ties and Galaga-playing skills and join us for a trip in the dialectical Way Back Machine…