Eater National's Talia Baiocchi Joins Wine Spectator Team

UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: We received word from Talia Baiocchi that this post has caused some confusion. She is not leaving her position as wine editor at Eater National. She is picking up a weekly column for the Wine Spectator in addition to her current job with Eater.

New York-based, twentysomething wine blogger Talia Baiocchi (above) made enoblogosphere history in April, 2012, when she became Eater National's first-ever wine blogger editor, with the entire U.S. as her new beat.

She's about to cross another and once unthinkable threshold. Yesterday, when we met at The Ten Bells in New York, she revealed that she is about to launch a new blog for Wine Spectator, the venerable and historic Park Avenue magazine.

The move is sure to be met with astonishment by many in the English-language wine writing community. The endorsement of a leading and often controversial wine blogger by the Fox News of the wine world marks the first time that a noted virtual media writer has been embraced by the U.S. wine media "establishment."

"I think that what makes a great writer and reporter makes a great blogger," said Baiocchi, who received a B.A. in political science and journalism at New York University in 2006 and who began wine blogging at 25.

A job in a lower Manhattan restaurant during her junior year led to her interest in wine, she said, and following graduation, she was hired by one of New York's leading wine shops, Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali's Italian Wine Merchants. After a short stint in the upper echelons of retail wine sales, she landed a writing gig at WineChap.com and her fresh, approachable writing style soon delivered offers from the San Francisco Chronicle to contribute to their wine and food pages.

"It's hard to make a living as a wine writer," she told me over a glass of rosé from Cabernet Franc from Bourgeuil (Loire Valley, France). But the wine media's "obsession with millennials," she added, has made her a hot property.

"Critical thinking is what it's all about," she said about her brainy approach to her writing, which is often featured by wine critic Eric Asimov in his blog roundup for The New York Times.

Asked about her "hyperfresh" and often provocative style (employed in posts like The Era of the Sommelier as Delphic Oracle Is Over), she told me that "the point is to have an opinion, not to take someone down," noting that she balances her polemical points of view with solid reporting.

"It's about curiosity. I like to figure shit out," she said.

We'll drink to that...

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