Bargain Basement Wine Writing Must Go

Much of the raucous laughter and huge imbibing experienced at this time of year has not so much to do with the festive season, but in the sphere of media advertising spend. Yes, budgets have just been signed off for 2016, and the hike in advertising rates asked by print publications especially are pretty much a joke.

For as print circulations drop, media houses appear to be making a final go of it by hiking advertising rates. Kind of a last-chance-saloon scenario.

But it is not the rise in ad rates in light of falling circulations that gets me as much as the payment of freelance writers, wine writers specifically.

To illustrate: seven years ago I was paying R16 500 to buy a full-page, full-colour advertisement in a national consumer magazine. For 2016, the same magazine would like R31 750 for the same space, which I will get a bit cheaper due to my well-known bargaining powers.

Sure, inflation has been around for the seven years. The circulation of said magazine has tanked 18%. But for certain clients, the product wishes to be seen in the pages which are not unsexy and the writing good.

However. Seven years ago, freelance wine writers contributing to this magazine were being paid R2,50 per word. A crime in itself. But, after a phone call or two to said writers it transpires that today the rate of R2,50 is still being employed.

So the almost 100% rise in costs to advertise in this publication are not being justified by its most important element and along with photography the very reason we read these magazines – quality writing.

Which, if this state of affairs is allowed to continue, will surely not remain quality writing for much longer.

Unfortunately this is where wine writing reflects the situation many wine producers face in the trade. If you increase your price, there will always be somebody willing to take your place at a lower price.


  • Emile Joubert

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