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Commentary | 1 Wine Dude - Page 49

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Who Do You Love? (Are Wine Writers Writing for You, or for Each Other?)

Vinted on April 6, 2009 binned in commentary, wine blogging

Or is that Whom Do You Love?

Dammit.

Ok, whatever…

I usually get flamed for writing about writing about wine, so I’m donning the asbestos undies for this one.  Bring on the heat, baby!  ‘Cause I’ve got (yet another) bone to pick with the world of wine writing (this includes wine blogging, and hence includes 1WineDude).  Mainly, the rub is this:

Why is it that so many wine writers seem to be writing for each other, and not for wine consumers? 

It’s no secret that wine consumers themselves are getting into the wine writing space, evidenced by the explosion of wine blogs over the last two years.  In many ways, 1WineDude is itself a product of that movement to involve consumers more directly in wine appreciation and critique.  When it comes to wine, I’m not a professional per se, but I’m a bit like what we in the IT department call a “super-user” – I’m one of those people that other users come to when they need to know more, but don’t have access to the inside scoop.  Yes, I consult, but I don’t make or sell wine – so I view myself primarily as a consumer of wine who somehow forced himself through a crack in the door to take an inside look at how the industry works.

I love the fact that wine consumers are blogging (even if they’re not as “serious” as I am about the writing aspect) and are causing the industry to rethink its product and how it engages those consuming it.  That’s good for everyone (except possibly Wine Spectator), and in that way “wine writers” (if that term is extended to include people writing about wine, not just those who make their living at it) are indeed writing for one another – in a very good way with increasingly positive results.

Take someone like The Wine Whore, whose blog unabashedly exists solely on the premise that it will feature a wine review in exchange for receiving a sample (no guarantee it will be positive, thankfully).  A lot of people (especially wine writers) will probably hate that idea.

I love that idea.

I love the fact that it’s ballsy and turns the question of wine writing “ethics” on it’s ear.  Am I saying that just about anything is “okay” so long the author is upfront and transparent about the premise?  When it comes to blogging, yes, I am saying that.  Ideas like this one put the power in the hands of the readers, and effectively they get to decide if any core ethical questions are violated by the premise.

The more I think about it, the more brilliant I think idea behind The Wine Whore is (though I receive far too many samples now to effectively steal it!).  It’s ultra-cheap publicity for a winery, retailer, or distributor, and it’s useful and entertaining for other wine drinkers.  Many wine writers will bristle at The Wine Whore’s premise, but the blog is getting wines and you need to admire the gumption of someone who’s willing to throw that caution to the wind, challenge the wine writing paradigms, and share their thoughts with other wine consumers.

But there are wine writers in wine mags, and in well-established and “serious wine blogs” (if the term is extended to include A- and B-list wine bloggers, which arguably includes 1WineDude if we collectively lower our standards just enough for a moment or two here) that don’t seem to give a crap about wine consumers.  They seem to be writing more for one other without taking a consumer view.

I won’t be naming names, and I don’t dismiss this as flippant or somehow wrong – because we’re talking blogs here, and the basic premise behind blogs is that you can write about whatever the hell you like, and all of your real-world certifications and credentials don’t mean jack if you don’t contribute something meaningful to the on-line conversation.  I just think it’s a shame to spend all of that talent and potential in writing for other writers.  Don’t we have chat rooms and forums for that?  Sometimes I think that wine writers, when they lack inspiration for writing about wine, instead write about writing about wine (case in point: this article! oh… the irony…).

Or, even more absurdly, when they are really bored, they attack other wine writers for not meeting their personal blogging or writing standards.  Personally, I find this extremely boring reading.  Do consumers really enjoy that, or are they just temporarily entertained by the ensuing on-line cat fight, sort of like a sad reality show featuring frustrated and drunk wine writers.  I can’t imagine it increases consumers’ appreciation for wine or their opinion of wine writing…

If you’re a “serious” wine writer, or even a wine hobbyist blogger who wants to detail his or her tasting notes and publish them for other to read on the web, stop for a moment and really consider why you’re writing, and who you want to benefit from reading your thoughts.  It can’t hurt, and it may just bring some clarity to what you want (or don’t want) to achieve.  Who do you love?

As a consumer, consider why you’re reading what a writer is telling you about wine, and if you feel that they really have your best interests at heart – because if they don’t, there is no dearth of competition for your attention at the moment.

But then, I’m the kind of guy who thinks fighting should not be allowed in ice hockey, so what they hell do I know…

Cheers!

(images: uglyradio.wordpress.com, winewhoreblog.com, si.com)

Wine Rocks (Is Wine Appreciation Becoming Cool?)

Vinted on March 26, 2009 binned in commentary, wine 2.0, wine appreciation

Well… duh, right?

Anyone that has spent more than a cursory glance through the (virtual) pages of 1WineDude (or has had the unfortunate experience of sharing a long car ride with me when I’m driving, which of course entitles me to choose the music played on the car stereo) is familiar with my affinity for Canadian power rock trio Rush – or as I like to refer to them, The Greatest Band in the History of All Mankind.

Most music fans are familiar with Rush’s complex (and lengthy) musical endeavors, as well as the high-pitched vocals of front-man Geddy Lee.  What many people don’t know is that the band are big-time wine geeks, especially Geddy who owns a cellar in excess of 5,000 bottles in his Toronto-area home (apparently its bottle capacity has been expanded - twice).

Which, in my mind, is simply even more reason to be a total fan-boy for that band.

Anyway, Rush is (improbably) riding a high of popularity now that they are well into their third decade as a touring and recording rock band, their pop-culture coolness hitting a zenith with a recent appearance on The Colbert Report (excerpt below).  Geddy Lee was recently featured in Entertainment Weekly’s “Three Rounds With…” feature, talking about… wine (and recent album releases and the band’s cameo in the new film I Love You, Man).

This got me wondering… can wine appreciation be considered cool? I mean, I love Rush, but for a long, long time, it was definitely not cool to love Rush.  Now, they’re getting mentioned on TV and mainstream magazines as if they’re Coldplay.  Same with Lord of the Rings – when I was a kid, it was not cool to love those books.  Now, the movie adaptations are winning Oscars and kids play with LotR action figures.  I’d have gotten my ass kicked for playing with LotR action figures…

I do believe that wine may be hitting a similar point in the ‘coolness trajectory’ now.

Instead of it wine appreciation viewed as the ultimate hoity-toity, snobbish enterprise (anyone remember The Onion’s coverage of Pompous A__hole Magazine?), it’s almost starting to achieve a mild pop-icon status, especially with the advent of magazines like Mutineer, events such as Wine 2.0 and Wine Riot!, the Twitter Taste Live phenomenon,  and an explosion in the number of wine blogs and consumer involvement in on-line wine social networks (e.g., the Open Wine Consortium)in the last 2-3 years.

What do YOU think?  Is Wine appreciation is becoming cool?

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The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rush is Here
comedycentral.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Mark Sanford

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Cheers!
(images: Entertainment Weekly)

Is High-Alcohol California Wine Inevitable (Robert Parker’s Bitch, Redux)

Vinted on March 17, 2009 binned in California wine, commentary

“The industry has done everything wrong” – Paul Wagner

Well… this is interesting!

1WineDude friend, winemaker and fellow wine blogger Josh Hermsmeyer of PinotBlogger.com makes an appearance in Tina Caputo’s new web documentary, Robert Parker’s Bitch

The documentary that takes an informative and entertaining look at the subject of whether or not California winemakers are making wines for Consumers, for themselves, or are producing busty high-alcohol bombs in order to chase the almighty dollar that comes from pleasing the palates of a few wine critics, thus achieving an influential high point score and subsequent boost in sales.

Many excellent and educated opinions are offered from standout figures in the California wine world, including author Karen MacNeil, winemaking icon Randy Dunn of Dunn Vineyards, and my new marketing hero, Paul Wagner of Balzac Communications. 

Let’s just say that the topic is… complicated

And the documentary takes an admirable stab at trying to breakdown enough of the complexity to make the topic palatable.  Personally, I loved it, despite the lack of explosions, fist-fights, and nudity.

The vid is worth checking out if only to hear the comments of Paul Wagner, who clearly understands the topic at it’s most fundamental levels and matter-of-factly (and correctly) states that the wine industry has basically gotten wine marketing wrong for long, long time – and that there is a new generation of wine lovers emerging that don’t give a crap about scores, established critics, or the “rules” or wine appreciation / recommendation.

Amen, brother!

The 25-minute gem is embedded below – highly recommended.

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Robert Parker’s Bitch from Josh Hermsmeyer on Vimeo.

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Cheers!

I Hate The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

Vinted on March 12, 2009 binned in commentary, PLCB

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