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Guest Posts | 1 Wine Dude

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Guest Post: Planet Of The Grapes For Millennials (a Q&A With Jason Wilson By Shelby Vittek)

Vinted on October 1, 2013 under guest posts

[ Editor’s note: Following is a guest post that involves two long-time friends of 1WD, the former unpaid 1WD intern Shelby Vittek, and local Philly boy wine educator Jason Wilson. Shelby recently worked with Jason on Planet of the Grapes, a series of releases about wine that are targeted to Millennials (I have no affiliation with PotG, apart from it being an excuse for us to get back in touch with both Jason and Shelby here on 1WD). Here’s Shelby’s take on the PotG series, and here Q&A with Jason. Enjoy! ]

What does wine education for Millennials look like? Surely, we’ve all been continually bashed over the head with the reminder to reach out to the younger generation through social media. And yes, you obviously need to approach us differently than you did our parents’ generation. But once you do that, how do you reinforce which bottles we should be reaching for?

A new digital series of wine guides called Planet of the Grapes, written by Jason Wilson (my editor over at Table Matters and author of the very entertaining spirits book Boozehound), just might be the answer. Since the end of my reign as the Young, Unpaid Shelby in April, I’ve been helping Jason pull together the first volume of the series, “Alternative Reds.” And despite being written by a Gen Xer, I think it has a lot to offer the youngest group of wine drinkers — a fresh perspective on a wine scene dominated with advice for older generations.

As some 1WD readers might recall, I’m a huge advocate of studying abroad in a wine shop to find exciting bargain bottles. And in “Alternative Reds,” Jason offers similar advice, recommending a handful of lesser-known or off-the-beaten-path grape varieties and regions that are actually affordable. These wines, like Morellino di Scansano, Petite Sirah, Dolcetto, or the reds of Southwest France, are a far cry from the Napa Cabs or Merlots our parents grew up cultivating. And because it’s available electronically, the book can be read and accessed virtually anywhere on our handy smart phones. I know I’ve pulled it up on my iPhone in a wine shop several times to look up specific bottle recommendations since the book’s release in August.

But the new series is more than just a guide to which hip, undiscovered wines us millennials should seek out. Included in the bunch is a free (my favorite word to hear) download of “When Wine Talk Get’s Weird,” [ Editor’s note: also available as a $0.99 Kindle stand-alone download ]a longer essay that reinforces how our tastes continue to evolve as we learn more about wine. Combined with entertaining stories and an approachable narrative, Jason’s whole approach to Planet of the Grapes assures the younger generation that learning about wine doesn’t have to be an overwhelming exercise. We’re allowed to adventure through the world of wine however we’d like, and we’re allowed to have fun doing it…

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Wine Producers, Are Your Voices Being Heard? (A Glimpse into 1WineDude’s Cellar)

Vinted on March 19, 2013 under commentary, guest posts

[ Editor’s note: following is the third guest post from the 1WD intern: the young, unpaid Shelby Vittek, who many of you will recall really shook things up with her first 1WD article (and continued that trend with her second). You can check out more of Shelby’s wine writing work at TableMatters.com, and find her on twitter at @BigBoldReds. You’re of course encouraged to chime in and let us know what you think (but keep things civil, you opinionated b*stards!). Enjoy! ]

Have you ever wanted to know what kinds of wines make up 1WineDude’s cellar? What exactly constitutes the mass of media samples he gets shipped every week? Where do they come from and exactly how many bottles are waiting to be opened and reviewed?

I used to wonder. But that was long before I spent months sorting through the endless boxes of wine samples in the cellar. In October, I bravely—and perhaps somewhat stupidly—agreed to take on the massive project of cataloguing and organizing them all. I had watched this episode of 1WineDude TV, (cut to 3:25) where I got my first preview of the mountain of boxes, but really had no idea how big of a challenge I had signed up for. At the start of my “internship,” I was prepared to personally catalogue maybe a couple hundred, 500 bottles at the most, and thought I’d finish the project within four or five weeks.

Yet here we are, over four months and 820 bottles later, and I’m just finally able to announce that every single wine has been accounted for and its details entered into a tracking spreadsheet. Of course, this number is bound to change the next time I hear the doorbell ring and am met with five more shipments of samples. But for now, the cataloging chaos has calmed, and my “wine friends” (as 1WD’s daughter calls them) have a slightly more organized home.

To celebrate the end of a huge undertaking—even if momentarily—I want to share with you some intimate details of the wines I’ve had my hands all over for months, as well as some things that surprised, perplexed, or disappointed me…

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Should Millennials Be Drinking More Wine With Food? (Guest Post)

Vinted on February 19, 2013 under commentary, guest posts

[ Editor’s note: following is a guest post from the 1WD intern: the young, unpaid Shelby Vittek, who many of you will recall really shook things up with her first 1WD article. You can check out more of Shelby’s work at TableMatters.com, and find her on twitter at @BigBoldReds. Let us know what you think (but keep things civil, you opinionated b*stards!). Enjoy! ]

Just before the holiday break, Joe prompted me to run down to his cellar before lunch and pick out a bottle of wine for the meal that Mrs. Dudette had cooked up for us. It was an exciting moment – a free grab of any of the bottles I’ve been sorting through and cataloguing for months. (No, I didn’t choose a crazy expensive bottle, or touch any of his beloved aged Riesling collection – I know better than that by now.)

But the excitement of this new responsibility quickly turned into fear. I don’t often drink my wine with food and was worried my selection wouldn’t stand up well to the meal. What if the efforts to impress my “boss” ended in total failure, causing him to reconsider taking me on as his intern? And the last thing I wanted was to put Mrs. Dudette’s amazing cooking skills to shame.

Sometimes, my biggest flaw is this: I am a Millennial; and while we do have wine knowledge, we don’t know much about matching it with a meal. My generation, a hodgepodge of older students and young working professionals, marries wine more with occasions and events than they ever do with food. We drink it at parties, when we hang out at each other’s apartments, and in front of the television during date nights with Netflix. I even have a few friends that like to drink wine while writing a paper, which may or may not have once happened in the basement of our college library…

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A Millennial’s Open Letter To The Wine Industry: I Would Love Your Wine, If I Could Afford It (Guest Post)

Vinted on November 13, 2012 under commentary, guest posts

[ Editor’s note: following is a guest post from the 1WD intern: the young, unpaid Shelby Vittek. While Shelby may be young, she’s got better creds than a lot of would-be wine media folks out there: she’s been writing about wine for the millennial set for the better part of a year, is already working on her first book (a guide to wine for college students), and has been published in the Washington Post's travel section.  Her current writing gig is for the newly re-launched TableMatters.com. To give Shelby a break from having to catalog the small ocean of samples in my basement, we’re going to let her flex her writing muscles with guest posts centering on how young wine buyers view the wine world. We often talk about the Millennial wine buying generation here on 1WD, but this is a chance for you to get the scoop on Millennial wine habits directly from the source. You can follow Shelby on twitter at @BigBoldReds. Let us know what you think (but keep things civil, you opinionated b*stards!). Enjoy! ]

My usual cutoff price for a bottle of wine is ten dollars.

Yes, you read that correctly: $10 or less.

My problem isn’t that I don’t enjoy drinking higher-end wines, ones that are older or more intriguing – it’s just that frankly, I can’t afford them.

I’m part of the younger generation of wine-curious Millennials – the ones who have entered into the world of legal wine-buying and consumption age in the past few years. We are supposedly the generation of wine drinkers believed to be the almighty saviors of the wine industry. But finding an interesting, relatively delicious bottle of wine that doesn’t give me anxiety when I think about making rent at the end of the month is a never-ending challenge.

While I don’t anticipate these wines will blow me away the same way an older Barolo or an aged Riesling does, I want to be able to take pleasure in a glass alone after work (or rather, hours of organizing the mass amounts of wine samples in Joe’s basement). I want to share a bottle with friends without being embarrassed or horrified by the quality of my selection. (I have been deemed the know-it-all-wine-friend, after all.) And when I go home to visit my mother, I want to bring a bottle with me that impresses both her and her more sophisticated palate, without my budget-savvy ways being given away.

You may be shaking your head, or rolling your eyes at how frugal I am with my wine purchases. Maybe you think I’m crazy for expecting a ten-dollar bill to be traded for a beautifully perfumed wine that also delivers rich flavors. But I assure you, I am not insane, and I am definitely not alone. Many other younger Millennials are in the same boat as I am…

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