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Commentary | 1 Wine Dude

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Wine’s Next Big Thing Is…

Vinted on September 16, 2014 binned in commentary

It seems that every quarter we get predictions about the next big thing in the U.S. wine market. Like most predictions, these are almost always wrong and therefore actually have, at best, neutral value for the wine biz (it could be argued that since they’re almost always incorrect, they have negative value if decisions are made based on them; but since they also have some positive entertainment value, let’s call it a draw).

“Next Big Thing” wine predictions are also almost always predicated on two principles: 1) the idea that the wine buying public is scared of wine, and therefore needs some sort of guidance on what to purchase, and 2) these recommendations must come in the form of grape varieties.

Both are probably wrong, or at least are bad for the wine biz, as I will explain in a moment, and that means that the NBT predictions are missing what’s really going to be the Next Big Thing in wine (okay, so I am making a prediction here… but at least it’s not based on those principles above, okay?!?)…

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Why Pennsylvania Liquor Control Is Doomed

Vinted on September 2, 2014 binned in commentary, PLCB

It has occurred to me recently that Pennsylvania’s monopoly control of the purchase, distribution, and sale of alcohol in the state is doomed.

I cannot tell you exactly when it will fall, or exactly how it will fall, but I think I can safely tell you that fall it will, and that we can safely speculate as to why it is doomed.

This occurred to me when I was being interviewed by Tricia L. Nadolny, the Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer who covers Chester County (before you poo-poo that beat, you need to understand that Chester County is one of the nation’s more affluent, has nationally ranked public school systems, and is often cited in top twenty lists of best counties to live in the U.S.). Nadolny was interested in my thoughts about the fate of Malvern lawyer Arthur Goldman’s wine collection, which was seized when he was convicted in a sting operation of selling wines (that you can’t get in PA) to friends, pretty much at cost. Intrepid wine blogger and wine PR guy Tom Wark is also quoted in the article, accurately assessing PA as the single worst state in the U.S. to live for wine lovers.

Here’s the thing: the PLCB and PA’s liquor control are ultimately doomed because enough information on alternatives now flows freely and quickly enough that any PA resident with half a brain and an Internet connection can grasp that the PLCB’s monopoly constitutes a form of repression on free commerce for people who are budding wine enthusiasts.

The logic behind that is simple, and, I think, bolstered by the Inquirer article itself, and, just as importantly, the hundred-plus comments that followed it

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The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke, Part Two

Vinted on August 28, 2014 binned in commentary

Back at the beginning of August, we generated a bit of controversy here (imagine that!) with my rant commentary on wine blogging, titled The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke (But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way). C’mon, with a nice, restrained title like that, who would’ve anticipated controversy?…

Much commenting, sharing, linking, and discussion then ensued.

I received an email from a friend of mine who is a journalist (we’ll call her “Elle Bee” for now, as she prefers to remain anonymous), spurred on by that comment storm discussion. In it, she reminded me of something very important that is at the heart of the wine blogging community’s sense of… well… community, and that didn’t really get addressed in detail in my original post or the comments that followed.

The important thing of which her email reminded me is that, individually, as wine bloggers, we have to represent. Like it or not, every one of us is, to the traditional journalist world, and to wine consumers at large who are not creating content about wine themselves, a representative of the entire wine blogging cadre. In other words, you (yes, you) for all intents and purposes are wine blogging.

Don’t like it? Tough noogies. That’s the stage at which wine blogging finds itself. If you want something more for your wine blog, or from wine logging in general, and if you take the wine blogging community seriously and want to see it increase its reach and influence, then please carefully read Elle Bee’s commentary below.

What follows is well-written, cogently-stated “part duex” to the wine blogging community discussion, and is another wake up call to those of us who want to see that community succeed and take things to the next level…

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The Wine Blogging Community Is A Joke (But It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way)

Vinted on August 5, 2014 binned in commentary

During the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara, I performed one of the more self-serving actions of my entire life (and that’s saying something, right there). During Corbett Barr’s keynote speech, I clapped deliberately and loudly when Barr told the conference-goers that the wine blogging community needs to do more to work together and foster community. A few seconds of my obnoxious clapping got (more or less) the entire room applauding Barr’s astute comment.

I label that as self-serving because Barr and I spent over an hour on the phone together prior to WBC14, discussing the current state of wine blogging, during which I pressed hard on the fact that too many wine bloggers view themselves as someone apart from the wine blogging community, and, like their wine print brethren, are too competitive and catty and need to share more in rising-tide-lifts-all-boats fashion.

I fear that, based on the blogging about WBC14 that has transpired since that speech, that much of Barr’s wisdom fell on some deaf ears. While we’ve seen a handful of well-reasoned WBC14 criticism and balanced debate about topics such as the conference’s Wine Writers Workshop session, we’ve seen a bit more carping about the conference not meeting expectations, and/or the speakers being too old, too white, too print, too out of touch, too whatever.

WTF?!?? Are you people out of your minds?!???

Folks, if you’re blogging about wine and want to wine blogging to be taken more seriously, then let me tell you something about the state of your writing, and your approach to the wine blogging community: It’s a joke

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