Today, I was planning on giving you a recap of the January 2014 articles penned for my Wine.Answers.com gig, which I’m still planning on doing in a minute or so, but being cooped up in the house for days because of the second Deep Ass Freeze of the Winter season, coupled with drinking more than I should have been, topped off with dealing with the 4 billionth snow storm of the year here in the Philly area… well, it’s all got me a nit contemplative.
And so I’ve been thinking about things 1WD-ish, spurred by a conversation I had recently with Joshua Greene, the editor/publisher of Wine & Spirits magazine. I was a guest at the unveiling of the 2014 list of the 50 Great Wines of Portugal, which Joshua had been asked to select (much more on that to appear here in a week or two). After we’d gone through some sound bite interview stuff, Joshua and I got to shooting the shizz, and he asked me what everyone always asks me: “so what do you do, besides writing about wine, I mean?” The “…because, sh*t, there’s no way in hell anyone makes a real living writing about wine!” part is unspoken, because it’s implied.
I had to explain to him that this was, in fact, my gig, and that wine media / writing / freelancing / speaking / etc. was what I actually do for a living now. To the point that, between my status as a stay-home father and my hustling to make a buck while also making a dent in the wine world, I felt as though I’d been taking slack (not unjustifiably) from the online wine community for not being as involved as I should be. “For one thing,” I told him, “my daughter is more adorable than anyone in the world, online or not; for another, I really feel as though I need to prioritize the (very cool) paying gigs that I’ve been fortunate enough to have fall into my lap.”
“Damn right!” was Joshua’s response.
And in a way, that sums up what you an expect from 1WD in 2014…
As I continue to focus on paying gigs (for Answers.com, Publix Grape Magazine, and some other exciting stuff, including an article hitting Parade’s monthly food mag, Dash, in March – easily the biggest thing I’ve ever done based on their circulation, which includes numbers that make most wine mags look like they’re on the Junior Varsity squad), I’m (slightly) refocusing the content here on 1WD.
1WD is more and more becoming the place I come to get a break from the “day job” (as awesome as it is) of writing about vino; the place where I want to have fun. To that end, I’ve decided that the wine features here will zero in more an more on the things that excite me the most about wine: namely, smaller producers whose stories aren’t getting told. That doesn’t mean that I won’t ever be reviewing high production wines, or that they won’t be included in my paying gigs when high market availability is prerequisite for recommendations, etc.; but it does mean that those wines, which already have lots of wine folks talking about them, will be getting even less focus in the mini reviews, and probably won’t make any of the featured content whatsoever this year.
Much of this was informed and influenced by the Social Media Roundtable interview we did on The Punch Down last year, in which Meg Maker talked about the important role that alternative wine media has in bringing to light stories that otherwise aren’t getting told at all. She was right; and 1WD will be focused even more on telling some of those stories in 2014.
So what I’ve been telling brands and PR folks is this: you know what I want you to send me? Send me the stuff that gets the hair on the back of your neck popping up when it arrives at your office. Those are the wines that I want to to try, and probably the ones that people reading 1WD want to know about.
The OpEd style commentary on world wine happenings is sticking around, of course, but may actually get even more of a showing, since I’m having fun writing them.
Anyway… consider yourself warned, okay?
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a list of this month’s Answers.com offerings, which I should have given you, like, twenty minutes ago.
- Five Producers to Watch in Ventura County – Much more to come on this little hamlet of urban wineries in S. California, to be published over at PalatePress.com.
- A double-shot focus on “the winemaker’s grape”: Three Things You Didn’t Know About Pinot Noir, and What to Expect from Pinot Noir Wine (with the opinionated and talented Wes Hagen from Clos Pepe).
- Two wine preservation systems got the workout this month, one that fared pretty well (the Wine Shield), and one that didn’t (the Air Cork).
- Two wine books also got put through the review ringer; while I enjoyed both, I felt that they also both partially collapsed under their own weighty stances of what should constitute authentic/fine/terroir-driven wine: Grape-a-hol (by Michael F. Spratt and Mark Feldman), and Authentic Wine by Jamie Goode and Sam Harrop.
- The NYC Portugal event got me thinking about Portugal’s insane amount of indigenous fine wine grapes, so I penned quick introductions to some of the most promising red and white Portuguese grapes (with respect to fine still wines).
- Finally, in the name of not taking this shiz too seriously, a slide show on rock stars who also happen to be wine geeks.