Are We In The Golden Age Of Wine Writing? (Hint: Not Even Close!)

Vinted on October 26, 2011 binned in book reviews, commentary, going pro

In part of his coverage/promotion of wine blogger Alder Yarrow’s new gig as part of Team Jancis over at, wine blogger Tom Wark rightly points out that it’s almost paradoxically at once significant and also a natural, balladromic bit of evolution to have an established wine personality tap into the blog-o-world when seeking to add more wine writing talent to their publications.

Tom also claimed that “we are living in the Golden Age of Wine Writing and the Golden Age of Wine Writing Talent.”

I read those words during the same period of time that I was making way through a review copy of long-time wine scribe Gerald Asher’s new collection of writings, A Vineyard In My Glass (not literally at the same exact time, of course, I’m not Thomas Jefferson, so I’m not reading eight books simultaneously while also dictating correspondences and cataloging in detail how many of my goats died from frost exposure last Winter while slaking my thirst with Scuppernong , or whatever), and I can tell you that just about every page of Asher’s collection screams out (in a polite, congenial British scream, of course) that Tom is way off base in his claim.  I say this with mad respect for Tom, of course, but…

Sorry, bro. We are not even close to being in a golden age of wine writing talent – unless you extend that Age’s starting point back far enough to include the writings of Asher and Hugh Johnson; because in terms of plying the craft of writing and applying the focused, dedicated talent of it to the world of wine, those two writers have NO modern equal.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t sampled the writings of those two stalwarts, then you need to do so with all speed. If you’re reading this and you fancy yourself a wine writer, I’m willing to bet a case of DRC that you couldn’t go toe-to-toe in terms of writing skills with either one of those gentlemen, even on your best day…

This is not meant to downplay your fave writers or their (or your) writing ability. And this is (emphatically!) not meant as a negative commentary on Alder’s new position at Team Jancis (just the opposite, in fact), nor should it be taken to mean that we aren’t in promising new age of wine coverage, with a veritable cornucopia of wine excellent and entertaining material available to us as never before (just the opposite, in fact).

But it is meant to say that we have very few people with true, unique, and finely-honed writing chops in any modern field, and particularly in wine, where much of the modern written coverage has become so banal and formulaic that it now effectively operates via an outsourced model – it’s well-passed the “jump the shark” stage at this point, folks.

This is not the Golden Age of Wine Writing – it is the Golden Age of Wine Coverage (and Tasting!) Democracy, and they are not nearly the same thing.  A short read through any of the articles in A Vineyard In My Glass will prove that to you, unequivocally.

Asher is a master storyteller, and he expects you (politely) to keep up with him, and helps you along my masterfully explaining difficult and often esoteric wine concepts in simple terms without ever including an ounce of condescension (which, incidentally, is exactly how he speaks to you in real life, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting him in person).  Asher’s primary goal seems to be to convey the humor, humanity and essence of a wine experience, educating you along the way where required (his take on Mt. Veeder Cab is particularly compelling in this way, I think).  We do not really have writers like this in wine anymore.

And it’s good in some ways that we don’t have writers like this in wine anymore.

Why? Because a lot of A Vineyard In My Glass is boring, and I mean boring in the way that your Grandfather telling you a story with a dozen tangents is boring. It’s boring in the way that Melville is boring when he goes off on those lengthy ‘this-is-how-worked’ descriptors about life at sea in Moby Dick. It’s boring because it’s masterful and beautiful and damn-near god-like in its lucidity, and we mere mortals simply lack the patience to deal with it.

We need to be entertained, and the future of wine coverage is clearly not in lengthy – or even necessarily well-written – prose.  It includes photos, and videos, and hopefully decently-written articles, and findings gems in that coverage like Asher (which are, by necessity, rare) should be treated as a bonus, and celebrated.  But while it might seem a slog at times, you’re unlikely to find anyone who will tell you, after they’ve gotten through them, that the regretted reading Moby Dick, or A Vineyard In My Glass.

Great writing will never die, but it wine it clearly needs to adapt in favor of great entertainment and education, and present itself in different and unique formats.  It’s not a Golden Age yet, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for it, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t learn from the past masters.






  • @Quaffable

    Great piece and I was moved to add, "A vineyard in my glass." to my Kindle in preparation for 20 hours in a plane next week. (It's not the cheapest book on wine but I was persuaded by this prose.) I too wrote a piece entitled, "Why I stopped reading wine blogs." and I agree with the sentiment that we are far from the golden age of wine writing, even with all this modern technology.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Quaffable – considering your post, I also thank you for actually reading mine! Especially given this:

      "I merely feel that I should spend what scant time I have reading something that has stood the test of time and describes the human condition rather than another description, no matter how creative, of wine and its appeal to one’s palette."

      I have to admit, it's long been my aim to add a little dollop of the human condition, somehow, to the majority of posts on 1WD, even if it's a single sentence. I don't always succeed, of course! Cheers!

  • RichardPF

    To properly start this discussion, there needs to be a definition of "Golden Age" and neither Tom nor you define that term. For example, is a Golden Age defined by the number of wine writers, or it is based on the amount of skill? How long is a Golden Age? One year? Twenty years? Without an agreed upon definition, you might be futilely debating different points.

    In general, I am more in your camp than Tom's on this issue. To me, a Golden Age is when an activity is at its peak, quality wise. Yes, it does entail a greater number of practitioners, but the skill and talent must be high as well. I do not see wine writing at its peak at this point. Yes, it may be starting up the hill, but there is still plenty of road to climb to reach the peak. In contrast to Tom's "never before" points, Never Before has there been more misinformation about wine, Never Before has there been more dreck & banal writing about wine, Never Before have so many wine writers said so little. There still needs to be a culling period, further separating the cream from the dreck.

    Modern books, or articles, at the quality level of Terry Thiese's "Reading Between the Wines" are still too rare for this to bea Golden Age.

    • 1WineDude

      Richard – agreed on all points!

      I think when it comes to "Golden Age" it becomes a bit like the definition of Porn: i.e., "you know it when you see it" and "what would a reasonable, sane person constitute as…?" etc., etc., etc.

      We take the good with the bad, which is why I think we're much closer to being in a Golden Age of Wine Info./Recommendation/Community/Sharing than we are a Golden Age for Wine Writing. It's great, but we can't ignore the fact that by exponentially expanding those waters, we muddy them and reduce their depth as well.


  • Mark Buckley

    I agree with you Joe. Golden age would be attributed to writers of Hugh Johnson's caliber. Jancis is great, however and there is almost to much information or to little information in the world of wine. Well written wine stories/books are fewer and far between. Thank God for the internet and blogs… right? Jury is going to be out for a while on this one. My take on wine writers as in wine bloggers is that for the most part. The only people (for the most part) that read wine blogs are other wine bloggers… Unless you are someone like Jancis Robinson and others of her caliber.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Mark. Some of those sites do reach consumers, and especially reach AVID consumers (who are increasingly among the wine blogging ranks!). But few reach the true average consumer (including some of the major players, in fact).

  • Thomas Pellechia

    Thank you, Joe, for saying what I have said elsewhere and earlier but have usually been berated for saying.

    I agree 7000% with Richard's comments. My friend Tom Wark confuses volume with golden ages.

    (Is 7000% possible? The answers is yes, if you use the latest rating system…)

    • 1WineDude

      Thomas – HA! I need to change my rating scale! ;-)

  • Jason

    I agree with pretty much every point in your article, and I love the distinction you've made between wine writing and wine coverage (I also agree with RichardPF, that the terms "Golden" and "Age" both need further clarification before any real discussion can occur…but I don't want to get into that now).

    Alder Yarrow's new gig is a sign of the democratization of wine writing, which is great news for budding bloggers like myself in that it shows the medium has begun to matter. At the same time, I absolutely agree with the sentiment that "Never Before have so many wine writers said so little." The multitude of vapid voices muffle those few who have something to say, forcing them to strike a balance between quality writing and other content (photos, videos, jokes in my case) just to compete in our ADD-addled society.

    Which begs the question: CAN there be a Golden Age of wine writing (or any writing, for that matter) when we're stuck in such a Dark Age of reading?

    (I'll be checking out A Vineyard in My Glass shortly)

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Jason – GREAT question. I do think our ADD-esque state of info. consumption is a big part of the general modern decline in (at the display of) genuine writing talent.

  • Tom Wark

    No doubt that Gerald and Hugh are both outstanding writers and I've said as much in my review of Gerald's latest. That said, if you are looking for outstanding writers currently writing about wine, I'd point you to:

    Matt Kramer
    Alice Feiring
    Mike Steinberger
    Jancis Robinson.

    These writers each have different styles, yet they each tell marvelous tales, educate and keep us wanting more. It's rare to find a bevy of greatness in any genre at any time. Gerald and Hugh at a time were consider the best fo their brand. But there were few others of that time that matched them, just as there are few who can currently match Jancis, Matt, Mike and Alice.

    Above, Jason notes that we are in a "Dark Age of Reading", but this isn't necessarily true. It's only true if we choose to muddle about reading mediocrity.

    I think too that it is wrong to conclude that only wine bloggers (for the most part) read wine blogs as was stated above by Mark. My blog is read by about 20,000 unique individuals per month. The Palate Press Collection of Blogs in their Ad network serve upwards of 5 million page views per month, as Joe is aware.

    My point is this: never before has the diversity of wine lovers now drinking and exploring a hugely diverse collection of wines in the marketplace had access to the great diversity of voices now writing about wine. They are not all well written voices. Many of them, like myself, write with an average level of talent. Others write with an above average level of talent. A small number, as always, are great writers. But if you want a certain kind of voice or perspective, you can find it. Twenty five years ago, there was extraordinarily little in the way of easily accessible wine information. that's a fact.

    • Thomas Pellechia

      True enough, Tom, but all those voices do not make it a so-called Golden Age.

      I'll grant you it may be Cacophonous Age!

      But again, you equate volume with this age of yours–"easily accessible wine information" is not necessarily valuable accessible wine information; sometimes it's neither new nor accurate information, which takes us–again–to the subject of self-edited drivel.

      …and your list above is short as well as it is your opinion; some of us may not agree completely with your choice/s.

      • Tom Wark

        It's not just volume, Thomas. It's also a diversity of perspective within the volume that we've never seen before, and that's important.

        And granted…about the personal preference.

        • Thomas Pellechia


          Sure, diversity of perspective is something new, but the value of perspective must be taken into account and after you do, it probably reduces your sweeping claim considerably.

          • Tom Wark


            Gotcha. This is where we disagree. I believe the new and larger number of voices have more quality things to say than you. That's where we can agree to disagree.

            • 1WineDude

              That seems to be the general area of disagreement. I will say this – while I won't call it a golden age, I am amazed and hopeful at the potential out there!

        • 1WineDude

          Tom – The diversity of the available opinions is awesome, without a doubt, and for sure the Internet and low barriers to entry have made them available to a volume of people that would have been inconceivable not too long ago. Not sure that the diversity constitutes a Golden Age of writing, though; but one thing is for sure, the talent has a better shot at displaying itself and being noticed now than at any other time in history.

      • Bob Henry


        V-e-r-y belatedly coming into this "conversation" . . . allow me this pun:

        I'd call it the "Sarcophagus Age" — as free content wine blogging has killed wine writing as a remunerative vocation.

        ~~ Bob

        • 1WineDude

          Bob – :-) I've written a free years ago about this: ” free content wine blogging has killed wine writing as a remunerative vocation.” I disagree with that, the decline in print vocations was already happening before blogs came and helped accelerate it. While it's true that one probably can't get a full time job writing about wine for one publication anymore, people can still write for a living, just not a very lucrative one. We've moved from the age of aligning yourself with one brand, to having to make a name for yourself as a personal brand.

    • 1WineDude

      To add to Tom W.'s comment, regarding this: "it is wrong to conclude that only wine bloggers (for the most part) read wine blogs."

      I agree – even if we extrapolate the numbers out conservatively for blogs like Tom's, mine, Alder Yarrow's, Tyler Coleman's, we get a few hundred unique people a day reading this stuff and the odds that those numbers consist are *mostly* other wine bloggers is pretty slim.

      But I'd also add, be careful how we define "blogger" in this case. In my experience, that definition has been extremely narrow and could be summarized as "serious journalist wanna-be." The main issue there is that this definition is total crap.

      Most bloggers are not trying to be "serious" in terms of offering an alternative to other media in their space. The blogs I mention above are trying in some way/shape/form to do that in wine, but these are by and large the exceptions, not the rule. The cadre of wine bloggers includes avid consumers, and in fact is very likely made up primarily of avid wine consumers – so I am happy if those people make up even a half-decent percentage of the 1WD readership, because those are the core geeks that I *want* to talk to, after all!

    • RichardPF

      What is your definition of "Golden Age?"

      • Tom Wark


        More talented voices than ever before and great access to them.

        • RichardPF

          I don't feel is a good enough definition, as it relies too much on mere numbers. Your logic could also be used to claim we are now in the Dark Ages of Wine Writing. There are more wine writers than ever spouting banal, trite, uninspired, and erroneous wine information. In addition, readers have never had as much access to such bad wine writing. And I would say quantitatively, the bad far outweighs the good.

          Talent is emerging but I think what we could consider the newest phase of wine writing is still relatively new. People are still honing their craft, learning about wine, developing their voice, etc. Much more experience is needed before a Golden Age can appear. There still needs to be a culling period, further separating the cream from the dreck. We might be peering into a future where a Golden Age exists, but we are not there yet.

          • 1WineDude

            Does anyone else find it incredibly interesting that one of the voices in wine blogging with the most raw writing talent – Deb Harkness – plied her craft totally outside of wine and is seeing fantastic success as a result?

            The wine world is small – much, much smaller than we might at first realize – and I think that might skew our views of the talent; i.e., we might think the percentage of stellar talent is high because it is a smaller field to view. Just wondering…

          • Tom Wark

            I'm tempted to list the good writers you could read on a regular basis, easily, 25 years ago, versus the good writers you can read today, easily. I think the latter list would far outweigh the former list and in fact take far too long to actually type out.

            What this boils down to I think is a difference of opinion on the quality of the wine writing we have access to today.

            If you are looking for a plethora of Gerald's and Matt's and Jancis's you'll have to to keep looking. There never was such a plethora 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 25 years ago or 50 years ago.

    • Jason

      Tom, your point on the diversity of voices is well-taken, and indeed I consider it one of the best aspects of the current age of wine writing (whatever the metal).

      My comment about the "Dark Age of Reading" doesn't refer to a lack of quality reading material, but the fact that we, by and large, DO choose to muddle about reading mediocrity, and our collective attention span is shrinking. From my vantage point it seems that society is gradually losing the ability to read uninterrupted blocks of prose, no matter how well-written. Maybe mine is a generationally-biased perspective (I'm 24) and this trend isn't quite as epidemic as I'm making it out to be, but I really believe we're headed in the wrong direction. Yes, good writers will adapt – but like Joe says, "we need to be entertained," and sacrifices will necessarily be required as readers get (pardon my pessimism) progressively dumber.

      As for the whole "Golden Age vs Not" debate, I guess it comes down to whether you define a Golden Age in terms of the amount of quality writing being produced, or the average quality of ALL the writing being produced. To each his own.

  • @jodi9131

    My thought is that anyone who writes about anything should proofread before hitting "Send." Many need to go back to their grammar books and refresh their knowledge of the subject. The Internet has a number of useful sites for this.

    I, of course, never make an error and my knowledge of English grammar is tremendous. :-)

    • 1WineDude

      @jodi9131 – Ha!!! Me fail English?!?? That’s unpossible!

  • @SDependahl

    Even if most of today’s writers don't match Gerald Asher’s talent, I still come across interesting stories all of the time that make me think about wine in new ways. Sometimes these stories rise to the level of “great.” We also don’t have many contemporary artists who can match the greatness of golden age icons like the Beatles and Stanley Kubrick, however there still is a lot of quality film and music being produced, and as Tom notes, a lot more diversity than ever before. This may not be in a "golden age" but it's definitely a "not too shabby age."

    • 1WineDude

      @SDependahl – Great points. But isn’t RUSH still in its Golden Age??? ;-)

    • Thomas Pellechia

      The Beatles?

      Where would they have been without New Orleans delta, original R & B, and rockabilly? Talk about Golden Age..g'dam whippersnappers don't know nuthin'.

      As for Stanley–I concede the point (with reservations).

  • Jeff

    Excellent post, Joe. Balladromic. I gotta add that to my mental rolodex of words to subsume and shamelessly borrow. Comments, add considerably, too. All in all, good post and good comments this is an exemplar of the power of blogging Golden Age or not.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Jeff – really appreciate that, and it means a lot coming from you! Ballodromic is up there for me with absquatulate – good test words for a half-decent dictionary :).

  • dfredman

    Thanks for the fascinating topic. (apologies in advance for forthcoming prolixity)…

    That rumbling sound you hear is that of the ghosts of P. Morton Shand, Len Evans, Frank Schoonmaker, H. Warner Allen, Harry Waugh, and Roy Brady, rolling in their graves at the idea that we’re in a “golden age of wine writing”. The potential of there even being a current golden age of wine writing is limited by the general reluctance of most modern-day readers to put in the time to read long-form essays on wine.

    The present wine literary world is blessed with academicians, wine-travel writers, educators, lifestyle specialists, comedians, newscasters, and commentators who watch from the sidelines as they poke at wine miscreants with sharpened sticks (and tongues). Lots of words spew out into the ether these days and most offer worthwhile reading, but their impact is blunted by the albatross inherent in the mass.

    Inspired wine writing is common, but INSPIRING writing seems rare. I love the idea that I can get virtually any sort of information on a wine, wine region, winemaker, etc with the click of a mouse, but I place much more value on reading something that compels me to track down a bottle or visit a wine region to sate the curiosity instilled by the writer. I want my curiosity piqued by a story, or I want to feel like I was there.

    It’s no easy task to compete with the golden age limned by the sextet of writers mentioned above. These guys were evangelists of wine back when few consumers knew anything at all about wine. They enlightened their readers about regions such as the Loire, Rhône, and Alsace at a time when these appellations were considered exotic, if they were considered at all. A sense of humor hovers underneath their writing, mashed in with a sense of context and history. The importance of these writers lies in the fact that they each influenced the course of the wine world*, shedding light on aspects of wine appreciation that still resonate in the marketplace and on bookshelves crammed with books written by their successors.

    Gerald Asher came up in that tradition, and he and Matt Kramer are the two living writers who for me have consistently combined the disparate elements of the old masters in their coverage of more modern topics. Nilay Gandhi and his semi-dormant &lt ;> and Levi Dalton’s &lt ;> and @RandallGrahm also usually hit my literary sweet spot and cause me to marvel at their ability to regularly assemble words into an order that puts a smile on my face.

    So rather than argue over whether we’re reveling in a golden age of wine writing right now, why not consider the possibility that we're living in a silver age of wine writing? Some of us think that the silver age was when the Marvel superheroes really hit their peak, and it’s likely that the diversity and quantity of modern wine writing is at an equal level.

    BTW, anyone with a bent for wine literature would do well to investigate becoming a member of The Wayward Tendrils <;. This is a quarterly publication devoted to wine literature of all eras and locales. It can get geeky, but that’s not a bad thing.


    *The “game changing” aspect is important in establishing parameters of achievement. As Thomas mentioned WRT The Beatles, they wouldn’t have existed without those who came before them but the boys from Liverpool were the people who put it all together. Moving the milieu to Joe’s other realm, I’d say that while there have been (and still are) many incredibly gifted bassists in the past century, only four have made a difference: Jimmy Jimmy Blanton, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham/Stanley Clarke (thumbs-up to that duo). They put two and two together and got seven (and convinced us they were right), thereby changing the way we think of the instrument today. It’s kind of like the difference between Steve Jobs and Mike Dell…

    • 1WineDude

      DF – That comment has got to be in the running for Best Ever on 1WD. It also, I think, finds a kindred spirit WRT having a penchant for great bass playing, wine, obscure English words and a love of wine! Your comment has made my day and it’s not even 7AM ET here – so thanks for that!

      “Inspired wine writing is common, but INSPIRING writing seems rare” – this just about sums up the situation for me. I like me a lot of wine blogs, but love me a very few wine blogs (of course, this goes for wine print as well, and for blogs on just about any topic).

      I leave my response to your comment with this: many, many years ago, I was playing a semi-acoustic gig at a small bar and in-between sets got into a rather protracted conversation with a rather odd girl who was annoying the hell out of the band the entire night. She told me she was a poet, and I though “uhhhmmm, suuuuure.” Turns out, she had some of her writings with her and they were excellent. She mentioned Jaco Pastorious in one of her poems, with a few other artistic luminaries, along with the phrase “God gave them The Nod.” I’ve never forgotten that phrase – it’s so perfect in describing that raw kind of talent, I think.


    • Thomas Pellechia



      And thanks for the Wayward Tendrils plug, of which I have been a member for about half a dozen years–also beeyouteeful.

      As for basists, I focus on piano and drums and consider Tristano/Monk to have instigated some sort of metal-age in piano jazz, as well as Joe Morello/Max Roach on drums

  • Carl Helrich

    Great post, Joe! I have to say that I think this entire discussion begs the question you alluded to….. "Can we have a Golden Age of wine writing without first having a Golden Age of Wine Readers?" If we can't or won't read it, is it really written well?

    ….I actually think, yes, we can. But then the question evolves to, "Does it really matter?" I sense a Sisyiphean trap here….

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Carl – I agree; if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it…

  • Kenoblack

    Awesome post! Looking forward to the next.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Keno.

  • Bob Henry

    Joe and Steve,

    Posted on Colorado Wine Press blog entry titled “Maybe Steve Heimoff was right (I might have lost my mind…)”


    ~~ Bob

    Bob Henry (Los Angeles wine industry professional)
    September 21, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    I think Steve was thinking less of Ovid, and more along the lines of 1950s decade “Golden Age of Television (Dramas)” as his paradigm when he composed his blog entry titled “Saying Goodbye to the Golden Age of Wine Writing.”

    Joe at 1 Wine Dude got it right in his blog entry titled “Are We In The Golden Age Of Wine Writing? (Hint: Not Even Close!)”


    Wine writers back in the 1970s were better educated than today’s successors in print and online. Better credentialed — coming largely from the ranks of seasoned newspaper and magazine staff writers who had already established their “writing chops” on various reporting “beats.” More graceful stylists and more compelling storytellers. More careful fact-checkers.

    And less opinionated and more humble than today’s successors.

    Not guilty of the narcissism displayed by too many “stream of consciousness” wine writers today who feel the need to express every little observation and opinion that pops into their head. Bereft of restraint and self-censorship.

    Self-styled “citizen journalists” who mistakenly believe they are protected against defamation and libel.

    See this article for their wake-up call . . .

    Excerpts from The Wall Street Journal “Personal Journal” Section
    (May 21, 2009, Page D1ff):

    “Bloggers, Beware: What You Write Can Get You Sued”


    By M.P. McQueen
    Staff Reporter

    Be careful what you post online. You could get sued.

    In March 2008, Shellee Hale of Bellevue, Wash., posted in several online forums about a hacker attack on a company that makes software used to track sales for adult-entertainment Web sites. She claimed that the personal information of the sites’ customers was compromised.

    About three months later, the software company — which contends that no consumer data were compromised — sued Ms. Hale in state court in New Jersey, accusing her of embarking “on a campaign to defame and malign the plaintiffs” in chat-room posts.

    In her legal response, Ms. Hale, 46 years old, claims she is covered by so-called shield laws that protect reporters from suits, because she was acting as a journalist and was investigating the hacker attack while researching a story on adult-oriented spam.

    Bloggers are increasingly getting sued or threatened with legal action for everything from defamation to invasion of privacy to copyright infringement. . . . . There have been about $17.4 million in trial awards against bloggers to date, according to the Media Law Resource Center in New York, a nonprofit clearinghouse that tracks free-speech cases.

    Many lawsuits are thrown out of court or settled before trial, but not before causing headaches for the accused. Though the likelihood of a plaintiff winning a lawsuit is not high, “you could go bankrupt” just from defending against them, says Miriam Wugmeister, a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP and a privacy and data-security law expert.

    . . .


    Civic gadflies and self-styled watchdogs who accuse local politicians and companies are getting slapped with lawsuits. People who post messages in chat rooms, online forums and blogs can be held liable for invasion of privacy or for making defamatory statements, which are damaging, false statements of fact.

    . . .

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Bob – man you are getting prolific with the excellent comments in the blog-o-world! :) Thanks for the kind words about the previous post. I think we are in the golden age of wine communication opportunities, but in terms of the golden age of writing, with people like Asher and Johnson now retired we are definitely NOT in the golden age of wine writing as a craft. I aspire to write well, but if I ever come remotely close to Johnson’s quality of prose I will have **really** achieved something special!

  • Bob Henry


    You're welcome.

    Until this calendar year, I refrained from entering the wine blog fray as a "commentator." I simply stood on the sidelines — amused.

    But a possible job opportunity as a marketer for a leading luxury restaurant chain (helmed by a celebrity chef) insisted on the candidate being familiar with the food and wine blog-o-sphere.

    That compelled me over the last month-plus to quickly create a body of work to demonstrate my bona fides.

    (Aside: I still await word on how that restaurant group plans to proceed with filling the marketing position.)

    Ron ("HoseMaster") Warshaw writes as an exercise to exorcise his "demons." To afflict the comfortable.

    (But not, as yet, fulfill the other half of that saying by comforting to the afflicted. Perhaps he takes his lead from the late actor Freddie Prinze, who as the TV show character "Chico" often said, "That's not my job.)"

    I write (largely) when I perceive a half-truth or untruth masquerading as an unchallenged "fact."

    Most blogging operates in the "sphere of opinion."

    Fine. I accept that — if it is labeled as such. (Recall our newspapers have "Op-Ed" sections . . . distinctly different from the reportage.)

    But those with hidden agendas, or too lazy to conduct even the most minimal "due diligence" and "fact checking," deserve being "called out" for their "truthiness."

    MSNBC show host Chris Matthews gets it right when (quoting the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan) he admonishes/berates his guests:

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

    ~~ Bob

    • 1WineDude

      Bob – well, I hope the 1wd oped falls more into the informed opinion category than outside of it!

      • Bob Henry


        I am still slowly sampling other wine blogs to take their measure, so I withhold my thoughts on their caliber until I have an "informed" opinion.

        • 1WineDude

          Bob – thanks for that!

  • Bob Henry

    Dear HoseMaster,

    What do you say, after you've said "I'm sorry?"

    Sorry that late at night the synapses (desperately crying out for sleep) misfire, and out pops a red-faced TYPO.

    Self-evidently, I know your last name is spelled "Washam."

    (I think I need to sell some consonants back to Vanna White.)

    My bad!

    (And goodnight, Gracie !)

    ~~ Bob

  • Casey Haslem

    While traditional print may be falling to the wayside, digital alternatives represent a different type of publishing and don’t signal it’s entire demise. Wikipedia and Google don’t deliver news; they facilitate the discovery of information. Sites like Patch, Cravelocal, and numerous other local-oriented, niche sites continue to thrive and grow. They cultivate their own writers, including a fair amount of talented ones. So if anything, it seems like publishing is broadening.

    • 1WineDude

      Casey – broadening, yes. Getting better, technically, as lucid prose? Probably not.

  • Bob Henry

    UPDATE . . . “Bloggers, Beware: What You Write Can Get You Sued” :

    Excerpts from the Los Angeles Times "Main News" Section
    (January 17, 2014, Page A1ff):

    "Blogger Protected by 1st Amendment, Appeals Court Says"


    By Maura Dolan
    Times Reporter

    A federal appeals court unanimously overturned a defamation award against a blogger Friday, ruling that 1st Amendment protections for traditional news media extend to individuals posting on the Web.

    “The protections of the 1st Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities,” Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The panel said its holding was the first of its kind within the 9th Circuit but that other circuit courts already have extended protections for journalists to individual speakers.

    . . .

    The defendant, blogger Crystal Cox, was found not to have acted "negligently" or with "malice" against the plaintiff in the case.

    • 1WineDude

      Bob – considering that ending blogs now, including paid journalists, that verdict was overdue.

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