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The First – And Last – 160 Days: What Does Gary Vaynerchuk’s Exit Mean For The Wine World?

Vinted on August 30, 2011 binned in commentary, wine news

Those of you who have just been rescued from being stranded for decades in South American jungles and are now coming to grips with you strange new world that involves cellular telephones, 3D television and the Global Interwebs, might not have heard that influential wine personality and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk last week announced that he has retired from producing his frequent wine-critique videos.

It’s a move that, in impact to Gary’s fan base, is probably a bit like Howard Stern’s recent announcement that he’s scaling back the number of shows he will produce each week – which is to say, polorizing.

Gary’s latest move comes a little over 160 days after he retired WLTV in favor of his mobile device venture Daily Grape, and a little over seven months after he shut down Corkd. For those concerned that he might also shut down his best-selling books, please note that it’s a lot harder to do that once the printed copies are in your hands!

It wasn’t a great week for wine personalities sticking around – Mike Steinberger also left the scene (at least temporarily) when he had his excellent wine column axed from Slate (to which I say “F*ck Slate!”).  Anyway… The wine world is, understandably, rife with speculation on the Whys behind Gary’s move.  I think a (much) more interesting topic, though, is the What: as in, What does Gary’s wine retirement from wine criticism mean for the wine world in general?…

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Sweet Wine Drinkers, (A Lack Of) Panties, And How We Experience Wine

Vinted on July 26, 2011 binned in wine news

According to a recent survey of wine drinkers, headed up jointly by Cornell professor Virginia Utermohlen and controversial wine guru Tim Hanni, wine consumers who prefer sweet wines often hyper-experience across their other senses.  Apparently to the point that they might forego their undergarments entirely:

“People who love sweet or delicate wines are typically what we call Sweet or Hypersensitive tasters. They live with vivid sensations that people at the other end of the spectrum cannot imagine and will often prefer Moscato wines. Those more tolerant tasters would prefer wines with more tannins, for example… people with very sensitive palates are also more sensitive to light, sound, taste and touch. The touch aspect can be significant in their clothing, as the manufacturers’ tags irritate their skin and cause them to wear underclothing inside out, or in many cases, none at all.”

So… based on what we know about women’s wine habits from recent studies and polls… if you have amorous intent then you’re best bet might be buying your date a bottle of the most expensive, and sweetest (assuming she’s one of those hyper-sensorial types) rose wine possible.  If I were Sutter Home, I might increase my White Zin prices by several percentage points in anticipation of the windfall (after adding some more sugar to them).

Just sayin’.

But there is a serious side to all of this for us wine geeks…

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In Memoriam: Drinking Red Newt Cellars

Vinted on July 8, 2011 binned in wine news

Sad news reverberated through the wine world recently, with particular resonance here on the Right Coast. Deb Whiting, whose culinary talents at Red Newt Bistro provided a near storybook compliment to her husband David’s winemaking skills at the Finger Lakes winery that they co-owned, died last week in an automobile accident. David Whiting was also injured in the crash.

I count myself lucky to have been the recipient of the Whitings’ hospitality a small handful of times.  I can recall raving to friends about the cooking at the Bistro after I’d visited as a tourist, years ago, long before the idea of wine writing had ever wormed its way into my mind.  That visit was during one of the first of what would become many wine-centric vacations for me, and it was one of the early formative moments at the start of my personal journey with wine.

Red Newt’s wines are the kind that move people to expand their vinous horizons, and are among the best in all of the Finger Lakes.  It’s not just the better-known white wines like Rieslings and Gewurztraminers that are Red Newt stand outs, either: David’s 2007 Sawmill Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc and 2007 Glacier Ridge Cabernet Franc are grand, stunning Right Coast reds, both of which had me swooning when I sampled them at Taste Camp East, just over a year ago.

I didn’t really know Deb Whiting – I only knew of her accomplishments.  But others who did know Deb well have been celebrating her life in touching statements over the past several days…

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Rosé-Hey-Hey How You Doin’? (Women Want Rosés, Not Roses)

Vinted on June 9, 2011 binned in elegant wines, wine news

Hey dudes (that’s an open term… and meant to include dudes into dudettes, or alternatively dudettes also into dudettes): thinking of stopping by the flower shop on the way to picking up that hot date? You might want to hit the liquor store instead.

The Times Live reported last week that, according to an on-line poll, women see wine as not just important but essential to a romantic date:

In a global poll of 10,500 women in five countries, two-thirds of respondents said that drinking wine is an important part of the dating ritual. Nearly 68 percent said a glass of wine is essential when it comes to creating a romantic setting, compared to 20 percent who said it’s not important.”

I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell am NOT going to argue with a group of 10,000+ women. No. F*cking. Way. Would you like another glass, honey?

Come to think of it, I rarely even argue with the two women with whom I live, though one of them (my three year old daughter) can turn in surprisingly cogent reasoning (for her age, I mean) on why she should, in fact, be permitted to have a second chocolate chip cookie.

Anyway…

Interestingly, rosé seems to be the big winner in all of this survey results business, with red wine being the big ol’ loser

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