Posts Filed Under wine blogging
It’s that time of year again, people.
The time when you get to have your say on what constitutes the best of alternative wine coverage on-line. The time for you to vote in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards.
The 2012 WBA finalists have been announced today, and as it has been since the WBA’s inception, that list solicits mixed emotions from me.
I’m thrilled to be a finalist again this year for both Best Overall Wine Blog and Best Reviews On A Wine Blog. The latter is a particular point of pride for me, as reviews have become such a large part of my little corner of the wine universe on-line, and the nod comes despite the fact that not a single numeric value has ever been levied against a wine in a review on this site. I think that speaks to the fact that there really is a place for alternative takes on wine quality, and that the time for wines of context – and reviews with context, with story, with humanity – is quickly coming upon us. But I’ve no idea why everyone insists on separating the name of my blog with spaces when it gets listed in things like this, as if the title needed to be pronounced with tension and gravity, like someone on the bridge of the Enterprise was announcing the countdown to impact of an incoming proton torpedo… “twenty… seconds… to… impact… 1… (space) Wine… (space) Dude…!”
Anyway… I’m equally thrilled to see great writing and fantastic independent wine coverage by friends of mine acknowledged in that list (re-posted below after the jump in its entirety). Congrats to all of the finalists!
I’m not so thrilled that the list fails to include others that I admire (such as Courtney Rich, whose wine pairing photography blog is among the most daring pieces of alternative wine coverage to hit since, well, since wine blogs themselves hit the scene about five years ago… there are others, too many to mention probably…).
I’ve had firsthand experience in how the WBA judging process works, so I know not every great blog will make the finalist cut, and massive kudos are due for Joel Vincent and the team organizing the WBAs; I was on a WBA improvement committee during the last several months, and I debated, conversed, and watched as Joel and the WBA team implemented nearly every one of he great suggestions that came out of that committee (most notably opening up the judging process to the same transparency that we in the wine bog-o-world demand of ourselves and of others).
Enough of my babble – polls close July 26th, so get out there and vote, and make your voice heard! I won’t turn down a vote for me, but I won’t be giving you any free wine if you do throw me a vote (well, not unless you come to my house to drink with me…)…
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And you’d thought I’d forgotten all about wrapping up WBW75, didn’t you?
By all accounts Wine Blogging Wednesday #75, the theme of which was “Single’s Night” and focused on the wine blog-o-world choosing and reviewing (on the same day) single vineyard designate wines, was a big success and I want to personally thank everyone who contributed their time, thoughts, energy and wines into making it such a fun time!
Special thanks also to WBW organizers Tim Elliott and Lenn Thompson for letting me unleash on WBW yet again. I think I had them a little nervous when I “crowd-sourced” the theme ahead of time, but we all survived.
After the jump you’ll find a list of all of the WBW75 entries that appeared in comments here, or over at the main WBW website, or on twitter or Facebook the day of the event.
I’m not not reviewing wines this week with badges, etc., in lieu of showcasing all of the other reviews that were a part of this great event. Here’s to the WBW75 contributors, and to many, many more WBW events to come!…
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IntoWine.com recently (at least I think it was recently, as their posts for reasons unknown to me aren’t dated) ran an interview with SF Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné (long-time readers will recall that roughly a year ago I was on a panel about writing better opinion pieces with Jon and the Wall Street Journal’s Lettie Teague, both of whom probably still in therapy trying to get over my inclusion; I’m kidding… I think…).
I’m not here today to dissect Jon’s responses (many of which ring true for me, and are worth a read because he’s a very, very intelligent guy), but one answer he gave to the IntoWine folks struck me as a bit odd. To the tape (emphasis is mine):
“The average consumer still feels intimidated by wine and wine-speak. Are publications like the Chronicle partly responsible for the prevalent feeling among consumers that wine is somehow beyond their comprehension?
If we’re going point fingers at the idea that wine is pretentious, let’s start with the spread of overpriced, mass-produced wine sold as an aspirational luxury. I’ll borrow a phrase from a conversation with a fellow writer a few days ago: You write up to your audience, not down. If sportswriters had to explain a two-point conversion every time they mentioned it, we’d all die of boredom. That’s not an excuse to fall into jargon. But there is no shortage of amateur wine criticism out there that doesn’t contribute to the conversation.”
The trouble for me is that I’ve got no idea what conversation Jon is talking about in that response.
It might be that there is a hidden wine conversation, one available only to a Romanée-Conti-sipping secret society of critics with wine review superpowers like UV vision that can detect the exact number of Brett, fruit, and mushroom particles floating around in a glass of Burgundy and determine at a glance if they are at an appropriate level. A secret society that meets in an underground lair at an undisclosed location (guarded by pools of sharks with lazer beams attached to their heads) and through joint nefarious consensus determines what wines will get the really high scores this year.
The bottom line is that this secret society might as well also be made up of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, because the real wine conversation is actually the one that the amateur critics are having. Or, I should say, it’s the thousands of real and virtual “water-cooler” conversations that the amateurs are having every day, all over the world…
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