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Found in Translation (Wine Tidbits to Kick-off Your Weekend)

Vinted on October 3, 2008 binned in commentary, wine blogging


OK… I’ve been sitting on a few wine-related tidbits that, taken individually, I probably wouldn’t have written about; but taken together, they seemed kinda fun.

The first tidbit comes to us by way of Italian wine website Sommelier.it, and proves that anyone can be wittier than me without actually trying too hard!

The folks over at Sommelier.it were kind enough to mention me – the fun comes in the English translation of that mention (as provided by Google). Here’s the original website text, in Italian:

Un altro wine blog molto originale, nel linguaggio, nell’aspetto e nel modo, spiritoso, di trattare i temi, 1 Wine Dude, Serious Wine talk for not-so-serious drinker , ovvero discorsi seri sul vino per bevitori non poi così seri

And here is the Google translation, in English:

Another wine blog very original language, appearance and manner, witty, to deal with the issues, 1 Wine Dude, Serious Wine talk for not-so-serious drinker, or Speeches for serious wine drinkers not-so-serious

Speeches for serious wine drinkers not-so-serious“? Man, that is way better than my tagline! Dammit….

The next tidbit comes to us from global beverage news website Just-Drinks.com and was kindly pointed out to me by a friend / reader. I couldn’t make this story funnier if I tried so I’m just going to reproduce wholesale for your enjoyment:

FRANCE: “Vin de merde” wine producer sells out

24 September 2008 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

A French winemaker who named his latest vintage “Vin de Merde“, or “Shit Wine”, has sold almost his entire production in what is seen as a triumph over severe advertising restrictions.

[ Editor’s Note: Told you I couldn’t make this any funnier if I’d tried ]

Asked why he named his wine “Vin de Merde”, Jean-Marc Speziale, from the Languedoc region of France, said the area needed the attention.

“This draws attention to the fact that we make very good wines,” he told just-drinks yesterday (23 September), adding his 5,000 bottles were almost gone after the nationwide publicity they garnered.

The bottles labels are decorated with a fly on the corner of the label, and a tagline underneath the name reads: “The worst hides the best.”

Speziale’s success comes at a time when the internet remains an illegal medium for alcoholic drinks publicity. The wines, a red and a rosé, retail at EUR39 for a case of six bottles.


And here I thought it was sex that sells, and it’s actually shit that sells. Go figure…

And last but not least, fellow wine blogger Arthur over at Wine Sooth has launched an interesting experiment that involves YOU. He’s started another blog called Wine Surveys, which seeks to congregate input from the wine drinking populous on various wine topics.

The survey Arthur is currently running is gathering data on how you drink your wine and what serving temperatures you prefer for various wines. Check it out here, and add your voice.

Enjoy your weekend!

Whoops, one more thing ‘ere I go, I wanted to give a shout out to Beer Wine & Cigars, who recently featured 1WineDude.com as their wine site of the week. Thanks, guys! Don’t let the title fool you, they don’t necessarily think that you need to enjoy their namesake in that particular order, and wine lovers who don’t dig cigars will find plenty to like on their site.

Cheers!

His Own Legacy: Paul Newman (1925 – 2008)

Vinted on September 29, 2008 binned in best of, commentary

This is a post about wine. Sort of.

Actually, it’s more a celebration of all things Bad-Ass.

That’s because we just lost one of the most bad-ass individuals who has ever walked the face of the earth – Paul Newman.

Of Newman’s bad-ass status, there can be no doubt. Google “Baddass actors Paul Newman” and you will get about 11,000 hits. In his heyday, Newman was the Brad Pitt of his time, only without the annoyingly smug and self-possessed attitude, and with millions of dollars of world-enhancing charity goodness thrown in to seal the deal.

If Chuck Norris is bad-ass (and he is), there is no question that he is second generation bad-ass, having learned his key bad-assness traits from the master, Newman.

Newman was so bad-ass that he was able to make dog treats for very small yappy dogs, salad dressing, and even wine (ah-ha! finally, a tie-in!), and still remain a total bad-ass


How is the wine? I’ve never tried it myself, as it’s available only in restaurants I think, but the reviews suggest that his Chardonnay is a winner, and it pairs best with movie popcorn, which of course you need to have on hand when watching one of Newman’s bad-ass films (like Slapshot).

Nothing against Chardonnay, but let’s face it – outside of Burgundy it’s taken a hit in terms of bad-ass status because of the super-buttery treatment it received for the last few years by New World winemakers.

If your best wine is a white (not the typical pick of the bad-ass male), and it’s a Chardonnay, and you’re still a bad-ass, then you are a bad-ass indeed!

So this week, crack open a bottle of something bad-ass, fix yourself some popcorn, pop in one of Newman’s bad-ass flicks, and take a moment to celebrate the life of a true bad-ass: star, entertainer, family man, and philanthropist.

Cheers!
(images: 1WineDude.com)

Wine 1.7rc3 (Why Wine 2.0 Isn’t Quite There… Yet)

Vinted on September 24, 2008 binned in commentary, twitter, wine 2.0

Web 2.0 - the two-fer, el internet dos, the big web deuce.

You understand it totally, right?

Me neither! Good – that means we can embark on this here post together without any pretense… you know, we don’t have to pretend like we work at the Apple Store Genius bar.

Anyway, my interpretation of Web 2.0 can be summed up in one phrase: the architecture of participation. 200% clear, right?

Yeah, I still don’t get it, either. Put another way, Web 2.0 is the moniker given to the fact that the Internet is no longer a place where people consume information. Instead, those people now expect to help create that information, to be connected in new and interesting (and instant!) ways, and to have their voices heard – by each other, and by the companies whose products they consume. According to Wikipedia, Web 2.o websites “may have an ‘Architecture of participation’ that encourages users to add value to the application as they use it.”

OK, now that makes more sense.

So what does this have to do with wine? Man, I’ve been asking myself that question for the past 5 or 6 days, ever since I got back from the Wine 2.0 expo held last week in New York City.

Just like Web 2.0, the term Wine 2.0 has taken on several meanings. Dude’s interpretation (and this could way, way wrong) is that Wine 2.0 is supposed to describe how the web is putting more power into the hands of wine consumers; i.e., it’s the nexus of wine, Internet technology, and the wine lovers.

After attending the Wine 2.0 expo, I’m not sure that the Wine 2.0 movement is quite ready for prime time. It’s on the right track, but it’s more like Wine 1.7 rc 3 – you know, the interim bug-fixes release that is a teaser for the the really cool functionality you’re expecting in the next version. Allow me to explain…


I’m not saying that the Wine 2.0 event wasn’t a blast (it was), or that the organizers, vendors, and attendees weren’t great peeps (they were), or that the venue wasn’t cool (it was; despite the fact that they couldn’t provide us with extension cords… at a technology event… oh, the irony…).

What I am saying is that for an event that showcases the nexus of wine consumers, wine vendors, and the tech that brings them together, there were a lot of wine consumers, tasting a lot of wine vendor products. There just wasn’t a lot of tech bringing them both together.

Like, for example, extension cords (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Of course, I do realize (and was repeatedly reminded during the evening) that wine producers are fundamentally farmers, and theirs is not usually the realm of Internet-based tech. BUT… I expected a more substantial showing anyway (call me a dreamer…).

Having said that, things in Wine 2.0 land are far from dire. There was some interesting tech going on at Wine 2.0 NYC – there just wasn’t as much of it as I thought there would – or should – be.

Now, I’m about to tell you about two interesting pieces of wine-related tech that were on full display at Wine 2.0 NYC. I happen to be associated in some way/shape/form with both of them. BUT… before you write my next few paragraphs off as naive, starry-eyed manipulated commentary, both of these items happened to be mentioned by C|net – who, I sincerely hope, knows a bit more about what’s interesting in the world of tech than I do. Don’t take my word for it – check out the C|net video coverage for yourself. So I couodl be biased, or I could just be way ahead of my time (yes, I do feel vindicated actually, thank-you-very-much):

  1. Twitter Taste Live -Now this is what I call connecting wine and people via tech! I was invited to participate in the live wine tasting (hosted by BinEndsWine.com) at the event, which was an easy sell for me since a) I was already going(on my own dime) & b) if I hadn’t gone to Wine 2.0, I’d still have participated in the TTL (as I’ve done every time since its inception). Why? It’s f–king fun, that’s why. Where else can you get people all over the globe tasting the same wines at the same time, sharing their reactions and chatting with the wine producers live? (the answer is nowhere, by the way). As odd as “virtual” wine tasting sounds, it absolutely rocks the house – and the 140 character limit of twitter helps to prevent any one person from dominating the conversation. This, to me, is exactly what Web 2.0 is all about – not only do they have a good thing going, they’re trying to continually up the ante and take it further (which puts some pressure on me, since I’ll be co-hosting TTL at some point in the next few months… uh-oh… better get woodshedding…).

  2. Snooth.com – The team at Snooth has been trying to push the boundaries of what an can be done via an on-line wine retailer, and at Wine 2.0 NYC they unveiled a nifty interface that shows the appproximate location (city / country) of wine searches happening globally on Snooth.com, in real time. The coolness factor of this is totally off the chart, though the immediate application of this tech wasn’t readily apparent (at least, not to me). But… it’s something to build on, and smarter folks than me will no doubt soon find a way to leverage this coolness… I’m just not sure how

So there you have it. Not all great, but not all bad. The future will no doubt be interesting, primarily because the people that are making it interesting have no idea yet what they will do with the interesting stuff. Sounds like true innovation to me.

Sort of.

I just hope that wherever they are going, they bring along enough extension cords.

Cheers!
(images: ebaumsworld.com, cnet.com, winetwo.net)

The Summer of Wine’s Discontent (or "What Wine Can Learn From Beer")

Vinted on September 22, 2008 binned in best of, commentary, learning wine

The wine world probably won’t miss the Summer of `08.

That’s because the Summer of `08 seems like wine’s Season of Discontent.

Personally, I’ve never been so happy to see the Autumn (even taking into account that the Fall is my favorite time of year… colorful leaves… dark beers… heavier wines… and football… sweet, sweet football…).

Anyway, it was last week, with Autumn and football in full swing, when I realized that the wine biz has a lot to learn from its “little” cousin, beer. You know, the one that wine likes to look down on and winsomely tolerate from time to time at family reunions, all the while not seeming to realize that its cousin lives in a bigger house, makes more money, and has more friends. Yes, that cousin. Wine – I’m talking to YOU.

Last week, I had the pleasure of hosting fellow blogger The Beer Wench, touring nearby beer stalwart Victory Brewing Company with her. Dude loves beer (in fact, I used to brew it), and he is tight with Victory: it’s my favorite beer location, Mrs. Dudette and I are friends with Victory’s events coordinator, and Dude’s band is playing Victory’s outdoor Fall Fest celebration this year. So we were able to score a private tour of the beer-making magic for The Beer Wench.

About halfway through said tour (when I was rolling hops in my fingers, forever imprinting it’s aromatic fingerprint into my brain), I realized something very important (to me, anyway): I’ve yet to meet anyone involved in beer – whether it be media, distribution, crafting, or enjoying – who was snobbish to the point of being exclusionary. Nobody. Zippo. Nada. It just doesn’t happen. All seem to be welcome in the land of beer. Sure, they have their favorites, and the occasional “low on taste high on commercial budget” examples that they love to hate (Bud Light, anyone?). But you’re never, ever turned away at the door of fine beer. Never.

The mantra of the beer lovers?

Everyone else is also a potential beer lover – they just don’t know it yet!

I wish that I could say the same held true for the world of fine wine…


The sad truth is that there is snobbery in the wine world, and some parts of the industry might actually bank on that snobbery to make their take-home pay.

Too many budding wine aficionados are scared off by “experts” or turned away by the snobbish who view fine wine as some sort of elitist entitlement, to whom holding wine at arm’s length from newbies is some sort of perverse badge of wine honor. By actively deterring new potential wine lovers, the only thing that the ‘elite’ are doing for fine wine is driving its future of appreciation into the dirt. I’m NOT talking about the Robert Parkers of the world. I’m talking about those who think they’re Robert Parkers, but lack the experience, renown, know-how, clout, and funding, yet somehow feel as though wine ‘belongs’ to them.

This has nothing to do with print wine media. It has to do with individuals (no matter if they’re in the wine industry or not) who are perpetuating a myth that you need to earn your place to love wine. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Wine loves you already. it wants you to be its friend. Wine doesn’t like the snobs, either!

In my view, it would help the wine world if most of those in it took a long, hard look at the world of beer and instead of turning their noses at it, embrace its sense of helpfulness and down to earth charm.

Hey! Wine world! You need to help yourself to a glass of “Get Over Yourself” Ale. Vintage: Now. Region: You.

In general (not just for wine), people are looking more and more to social networking and customized recommendations. Some wine distributors, wine mags, wineries, and a whole lotta bloggers “get” this, and are doing their best to help those consumers, newbies, and enthusiastic learners. And they’re probably enjoying a cold brewski while they’re doing it (and if not, they should, because whether hey realize it or not, they’re taking a cue from the beer industry).

Arguably, there are now more helpful resources to help the wine neophyte than there have at any other time in history. The tide is changing. And it’s coming for the wine world, whether it’s ready or not.

Cheers!
(images: old-photos.blogspot.com, 1WineDude.com)

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