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Southern Hospitality? (Sampling VA’s Loudoun County Wineries)

Vinted on August 24, 2009 binned in commentary, on the road, wine review

Virginia, as the marketing slogan goes, is for Lovers.

VA may soon be for wine lovers, especially if you’re fond of Old World style  Cabernet Franc.

VA is not necessarily for wine writers, however.

Those are the tidbits of knowledge that I came away with anyway, after touring a handful of Loudoun County wineries with a group of other bloggers, sponsored by Reston Limousine.

To be fair, before I start making pronouncements on the state of wine in D.C.’s wine country – and I will make pronouncements about D.C.’s wine country, of course – my tour visited only a handful of wineries in the Harmony Cluster.  While it’s situated in close proximity to D.C. and Reston, Loudoun County gets particularly rural particularly quickly, and if you’re planning on a tour of the area’s wineries you could hardly do better than to hire someone else to navigate the narrow, twisting, unpaved roads between wineries, which I imagine would be harrowing to navigate in poor weather, darkness, or when you’re hammered.  Not that you’d do that, right?  Right?!??

I did come away quite impressed with Reston Limo, who sponsored our trip and offer public tours of the area’s wine trail.  Our driver was big enough to have been on NFL offensive lineman, and thankfully was quite funny, approachable, and talented (he possesses a very good singing voice, and is able to create – I am not making this up – cursive renditions of your name created from a piece of twisted wire).  So I came away from the tour fairly impressed by Reston Limousine.

The Loudoun country wineries, on the other hand, did not all impress me…

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Minority Report: Ethnic Diversity & Small-Production Meet Up in Napa Cab

Vinted on August 17, 2009 binned in California wine, commentary, winemaking

At a new, small California winery, an ethnically diverse pair are making low production Cabernet Sauvignon. Very, very good Cabernet, that is.

For those of you who are playing along at home, I’m going to introduce this article with a bit of background, because it’s several months in the making.  Also, if I don’t start out with some preliminaries, it’s going to confuse the hell out of me.

Also, since we’re going to end up connecting Oaxaca (that’s in Mexico), Napa Valley, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Opus One, Mario Bazán Cellars, and ethnic diversity, we need to make sure we’re all on the same page before we start.

Bear with me, you’re probably smarter than I am, ok?  Here’s the recap:

Right… that’s Twitter, TasteLive, Napa Valley SB, Opus One, the Wine Bloggers Conference, Toquade, ethnic diversity in winemaking, and my coverage of small-production wines.  Crystal clear, right?

Anyway… at that same dinner with Michael, I was introduced to another (very) small-production wine.  A red this time, from a winery owned by a Mexican-born immigrant who employs a young African-American female winemaker.

In other words, I’d hit the serendipity synchronicity jackpot.  Which means that this is the one chance I may have to piss off everybody in a single post… I cannot screw this up!

[ Editor’s note: for those who are humorless, the preceding statement is a joke; in fact, those who are humorless are probably reading the wrong blog and should leave immediately for the sake of preserving their own sanity. ]

Background setup complete – now, let’s get talking about the wine…

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Why You Won’t Make Money With a Wine Blog

Vinted on August 12, 2009 binned in commentary, wine blogging

I love writing about wine.  And I often encourage people who love wine to blog about it, since it’s so easy to set-up a blog, and it’s such a great way to record your thoughts, feelings, and observations as you travel your own personal ‘wine journey’.

Sometimes, when a wine lover that I know gets a bit more serious about their quest for wine knowledge and for wine blogging, I get asked questions about how they can monetize their blog, and what type of money the can expect to bring in via their blog.  The conversation usually goes something like this:

Them: So… what kind of money are you making on 1WineDude.com?

Me: Not much.

Them: Really? Like, how much is not much?

Me: Like, almost nothing.

Them: Really?

Me: Really.

Them: Oh.

[ insert awkward silence and disappointment ]

For reasons that I find difficult to comprehend, some people tend to think that wine blogging can become a source of direct income. If you’re one of those people, I’ve got some bad news for you.

You’d better be passionate about wine if you want to blog about it, because monetary reward is not really going to be part of the pay-off for you. 

Simply put, you aren’t going to make any serious money from wine blogging…

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Faked Out? (Tales of a Possibly Faked Wine)

Vinted on August 10, 2009 binned in commentary, wine appreciation, wine bloggers conference

It’s often said that imitation is flattery in its most sincere form.

Imitation is also a way of making a quick buck, and in the case of wine has sometimes been used to dupe even the world’s most influential palates and wine writers.

Counterfeiting, in the U.S. alone, is about a $200 billion a year business, and it’s been estimated by Wine Spectator (yeah, yeah, I know…) that 5% of old/rare wine sold on the “secondary market” is fake.  Faking a wine isn’t necessarily easy, but somewhat ironically the job gets a bit easier for those trying to fake rare, older wines – simply because most people haven’t had them, so there are few barometers to judge how they should or shouldn’t taste.  In some cases, as detailed in Benjamin Wallace’s The Billionaire’s Vinegar, the rock stars of the wine tasting world may in fact have based their tasting notes of older, rarer wines on fakes.  Examining a bottle to determine if it’s a fake can be a time-consuming and difficult process.

The reason I’m telling you all of this?

I think I recently just may have had my first faked wine…

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