What does great music have to do with killer Italian vino?
I’m not 100% sure, either, but we’re going to find out at VINO 2015 in NYC, when the Italian Wine Week and Convention takes over the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue February 1-4!
VINO 2015 will showcase 200+ Italian wine producers, and the days are scheduled to be filled with some very intriguing informational sessions and discussions, led by some serious fine wine personalities.
Thanks to my music background, I’ll be on the docket on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 3:30-5pm for Vino e Musica: The International Language, moderated by City Winery’s Michael Dorf. Joining me in the discussion will be Master Somm and nigh-indefatigable hardcore heavy metal music fan Fred Dexheimer, as well as Jon Morrell, the celebrated opera tenor (which I personally equate with being a bad-ass, but that’s just me).
More info. in the screen print below (click to embiggen), with the full program available here for your perusal, along with details on how to register for the event.
I hope to see you there!
Back in October, I spent a couple of very hectic but very rewarding weeks in Tokaji, Hungary, acting as on-screen “talent” for a promotional push of the region’s excellent dry Furmint white wines, aimed at the American market.
I had a fantastic time with everyone involved in the project, but aside from seeing a quick intro video we filmed for a couple of well-received Furmint tastings in the U.S., I’ve been out of the loop on the AV side of things of that project, my work for them having been done and dusted now for several weeks.
Well, it looks like those FurmintUSA folks have been quite busy themselves during that time, and have animated an intro. to the video series that I narrated on our last day of filming in Tokaji. You can check it out below, they did a fantastic job of telling the story visually (wait until you see the little phylloxera louse running around and performing its insidious “erasing” of the chalkboard vineyards of Europe, it’s priceless!).
This video officially kicks off the series, and the episodes (each of which focuses on one of the area’s pioneering Furmint producers) will be released weekly beginning January 5th. Let me know what you think (more to come on the series, and what the behind-the-scenes aspects were like, as the episodes are released).
FurmintUSA – The true story of Furmint
Every once in a while, you get a gig that is so good, you just have to pinch yourself to test if it’s all real and you’re actually getting paid to have so much fun.
Such was the case at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition, which wrapped up a couple of weeks ago and recently announced its results. Over 30 countries and 26 U.S. states compete in this competition, which is billed as America’s largest such international vinous battle royale. The pinch-inducing vibe came courtesy of my lucky draw in amazing wine competition panel-mates, which included cult winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett (small tidbit of advice: do not get between her and shoe shopping!) and competition organizer Anthony Dias Blue. The latter meant, of course, that at some point our panel would probably be getting some of the better wines entered into the comp, and that indeed did come to pass when we kicked off the second day of judging and were greeted with the wine lover’s breakfast of champions: a stellar flight of mostly vintage bubbly.
Did I mention that I love my “job?” Well, I do.
As for the specifics: the judges were divvied up about 3-4 at a table, tasting several related flights blind, knowing basically only the residual sugar, grapes, and price points of each wine. A splendid time was had by all (at least as far as I could tell), and I was happy to have leant my judging palate to a competition that was so well-organized, well-run, and that represented such a stellar group of wine-biz-insider-type judges. As always, I felt that I was bringing the overall class levels down a few notches by my attendance, though I think I made up for it in humor (we laughed a lot at our table…).
Anyway, here are a few of the stellar picks from that stellar bubbly lineup that had my table more-or-less swooning..
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My friend Paul Mabray, of Vintank, recently gave a speech at the 2014 Wine Communicators of Australia event. The topic was, roughly speaking, the digital divide in the wine world. You can read a transcript of the entire talk given by Paul here. And if you’re in the wine biz, you really, really need to read the entire thing.
Yes, all 70+ pages of it. Because this speech shows just how bad the wine biz is at digital right now. How bad? Calling the wine biz staggeringly, hilariously bad at digital is probably slightly understating the scenario a little bit.
This is the wine biz at digital in 2014:
And here’s what the wine consuming populace wants wine to be when it comes to interacting with them in the digital space:
The disconnect is immense, which is what Paul’s speech deftly demonstrates in the kind of blood-splattering, gory, Mortal Kombat (“FINISH HIM!!!”) detail that is representative of ass that the wine biz ought to be kicking when it comes to digital (but doesn’t). Now, while I certainly appreciate that there will likely be at least some complainy-pants moaning criticism regarding the details of this topic, please read Paul’s entire speech before levying them. Seriously, there’s that much ammunition in this lengthy but excellent talk.
Below I offer some of the money-shots from Paul’s speech (emphasis mine), that I think illustrate just how far we in the wine world have to travel before being able to collectively call ourselves up-to-speed on the digital consumption of wine media…
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