Just heard: Jay McInerney will be the WSJ wine columnist…

Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City among other works of fiction, has been named WSJ wine columnist according to a tweet from Ray Isle, wine editor of Food & Wine magazine.

McInerney wrote a monthly wine column at House & Garden until Condé Nast shuttered the magazine in 2007. His columns were compiled in two books, Bacchus & Me (amazon, aff) and The Hedonist in the Cellar (amazon, aff). So here’s one wine writer who was able to find a job again!

In 2006, he married Anne Hearst. With that kind of financial fusion, perhaps he will buy his own wine instead of the Journal picking up the tab?

McInerney will replace John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter who ended twelve years as wine columnists in December. Their popular column had a populist slant, periodically reviewing white zinfandel, wine on cruise ships, at Disney World and their annual, participatory “open that bottle night.” By contrast, McInerney, whose punchy column ended before the recession took hold, frequently wrote about fine and collectible wines.

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30 Responses to “Just heard: Jay McInerney will be the WSJ wine columnist…”

  1. That’s great news! McInerney is a writer first–similar articles to those from The Hedonist in the Cellar would much improve the content of the WSJ column. Brecher and Gaiter had mainstream appeal, but their wine writing lacked depth.

  2. I don’t know anything about McInerney; I am looking forward to reading his column.

    Does anyone know if Brecher/Gaiter left of their own accord, retired, or were let go? I think their brand of writing, reviewing, and enthusiasm for wine was awesome.

  3. Jancis Robinson has provided further confirmation, also via Twitter:

    “Guess who’s going to occupying the rival wine slot to mine in the FT in the Wall St J? J is the operative word, my old friend McInerney. VG!”

  4. They could have done worse. I guess we’ll see what he brings to the show but regardless the loss of John and Dorothy is a significant one. It’s true that their analysis was not “in-depth” but damn was it useful to those of us seeking reliable and practical guidance.

  5. I also just noticed Dottie and John’s articles are no longer available via WSJ.com. A pity, because they had a long section of wine FAQs that was very helpful to me.

  6. I’ve read McInerney’s wine books and enjoyed them very much, so I’m sure I’ll be reading him over at WSJ. But I sure am going to miss what Dorothy and John brought to the table, namely, their everyman/populist slant, and how utterly engaging they could be. Oh well.

  7. I adore Jay McInerney’s writing (well, not so much Bright Lights, Big City, but his former House & Garden columns). I’m torn because Brecher and Gaiter brought really practical wine advice to the table, but McInerney brings something magical. Since they’re gone, I’m thrilled the WSJ replaced them with someone equally pleasurable to read, although for opposite reasons.

  8. Nothing against Jay McInerney, but I would love to know why John and Dorothy were let go. I’m not aware of a better wine column than the one that John and Dorothy put together each week.

  9. Happy Jay returning to wine writing. He’s a wonderfully entertaining writer and was missed. WSJ readership in for a treat.

  10. I very much enjoyed Dottie and John’s work as well as their willingness to answer emails from readers. I was very sorry to see them go and wish them all the best as they are missed.

    I have read both of Jay’s books on wine and they are laugh out loud funny at times while being informative.

    So if they couldn’t land Jancis to replace Dottie and John, I’m glad they landed Jay and look forward to his contribution to my ongoing edification about wine.

  11. Love Jay’s writing… witty, informative and sometimes irreverent. Many times I laughed out loud while reading Bacchus & Me. I look forward to seeing how WSJ tames him.
    And, as mentioned above, at least one wine writer has a job.

  12. John and Dottie diffused the pomposity of wine. They drank wine for all the right reasons. They weren’t selling it or themselves. Between the lines and the sips the reader knew that wine for them was an everyday foodstuff that could be enjoyed in up and down markets. They scolded wines that were made for market purposes and forgave flaws that added interest to an honestly made wine. I’ll expect wine stains in my WSJ now with McInerney. He drinks more.

  13. McInerney certainly won’t be diffusing any pomposity (@Michael Sarro), but he is entertaining. If he follows his pattern from H&G, he will continue John & Dottie’s penchant for introducing readers to non-mainstream wine regions/varietals, which is laudable.

  14. This is an unfortunate turn of events. Jay is certainly a skilled and entertaining writer, but he epitomizes the wine snob if we can go by his H & G columns. John and Dottie columns would not win any awards for style, but their range was terrific.

    Jay focused almost exclusively on Champagne, First Growth Bordeaux, Cote Rotie, Grand Cru Burgundies, Barolos, Cali cults… the sort of coverage you’d find in the Robb Report or Forbes Life. When he traveled to Chile or Argentina, it was always to the wineries owned by men of great wealth, all the better to entertain him with sumptuous meals.

    As one Amazon reviewer wrote: “There are multiple references to wines as sports cars, including Maserati, ‘The Maserati of Champagnes’,Ferrari and Mercedes-never linked to the country of the wine’s origin- but unfortunately no steady, dependable Civics that can give you a lot of mileage for everyday consumption.”

    Though a clever and witty writer, his columns always bordered on the pretentious, with more name dropping per paragraph than an old Walter Winchell piece.

  15. Discussed this one with Eric Asimov last week, joking that we’ll all need to do more cocaine now. Which means white shirts when reviewing wines from now on, of course. 🙂

  16. The beauty of the winewriting space is that there are room for all kinds of approaches. I, for one, miss the common man approach of Dottie and John. I never quite got why that was a good approach for the WSJ however. It always seemed to me that everything else the WSJ did or sold was about money–big money, expensive homes, cars that cost six figures.

    A common man approach to wine, however much I enjoyed it, seemed a bit incongrous for the setting. But, the funny part is that the column had followers because it turns out that the WSJ is not just read by fat cats on Wall Street but by all kinds of ordinary, everyday cats who drink everyday wine and probably moderately expensive but not wines with three-digit price tags.

    So, now I am wondering. What is this all about? Did the cost of keeping two folks on the payroll full-time ultimately get too high for the WSJ? Was the common man approach too common? Or did it add up to something else? Could the WSJ not sell enough wine advertising to make the column worthwhile?

    I obviously do not know the answers to those last questions, but a lifestyle column for the rich and famous may well suit the WSJ better than a column that more likely would have been a fit for the Village Voice than for the WSJ?

  17. I enjoy McInerney’s literary writing; his wine scribbling not so much. Too much surface stuff and not enough depth.

  18. Btw, the Dr. Vino wire brought in this tip the other day: Jay McInerney will share the column, alternating weeks with someone else.

  19. Well that is good news. The interim reviewer was in the UK and all the wines were priced in Euros. A disheartening read when so many talented writers stateside are starving for paying gigs – er, not that Jay is one of the those. So… who will Jay be alternating with? Lawrence Osborne? Lettie Teague? Alice Feiring? Alex Halberstadt?

  20. This is horrible news. Dottie and John were fantastic. Not a fan of Jay. He lacks talent and appeal. Sad to hear this.

  21. […] Jay McInerney gets a new gig as the Wall Street Journal’s wine columnist. […]

  22. I did not drink wine until I started reading Dottie and John’s column several years back. Their column caught my eye for their lack of pretense, quality writing and genuine passion for their topic. I am a loyal WSJ subscriber. Having read all the other columns on the topic that have since replaced these two authors, I am disappointed. As a marketer, my comment to the WSJ is that their circulation would be better served by broadening the paper’s appeal to those who aspire, not just those who have already attained. In an era where newspapers strugle to remain relevant, I think the removal of this pair of columnists was a strategic error. I am hoping they resurface in a venue that will allow them to continue their gift of promoting the love of wine. I will be watching out for them.

  23. Jay’s book on wine was entertaining – looking forward to his column.

  24. This is great news. I have been a fan of Jay’s writing for years. I am sure Mr. McInerney will bring his A game to WSJ.

  25. WSJ must be ramping up its wine coverage. Jay will be a good double act with Will Lyons, an up and coming young talent in the wine writing world.

  26. The discontinued column (Dottie and John) was hokey beyond belief. I never found a single shred of useful information on it. “Gee whiz, I really liked this bottle, but John didn’t!”
    “Bet you’ve never heard of Mourvedre!” “We opened an old Bordeaux last night from the year we were married and, by golly, it brought back fond memories!” Tripe like that.
    I look forward to McInerney.

  27. […] duo of wine columnists, Jay McInerney and Lettie Teague, on Saturday (even though rumors had been flying on the internets for months). They replace John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter who left the paper in December after […]

  28. Me again 🙂

    Just wanted to comment and say that I think Jay McInerney has been doing a great job so far. I love his older fiction, and I think he’s been a great columnist for the always great WSJ.

  29. The Hedonist In The Cellar is one of my favorite oenophile books, my wife got it for me for Christmas a while back, such a good read. Didn’t realize he was writing for the Wall Street Journal until I read this article. Off to spend some time catching up. Thanks for the share and great site you have here, bookmarked and will be back.

  30. They didn’t ask me!


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