Posts Filed Under wine publications
The Heat is…ON! (cue the cheesy sax line!)
I know it’s still technically Spring, but if I’ve got my preschool memories sorted out correctly (hey, a lot of brain cells have been killed off by alcohol at this point), for the Northern Hemisphere that means Summer ought to be coming forthwith. And forth-with it, the Summer edition of Publix Grape Magazine, in which I’ve again penned the In Focus section (among some other things).
This time around, the subject is the effect of heat on grape ripening, and what that means for the resulting juice in the finished wine bottle (for those new to this gig, I’ve been penning In Focus for Publix’s wine pub for a several quarters, and have developed a sort of niche in which I take potentially complex wine topics like oak, yeasts, sugar, etc., and try to distill them into learnings digestible by non-wine-geeky people).
To help me, I asked for an assist by the simultaneously geeky-talented-cool Napa Valley winemaker Janet Meyers, who heads up the production at both Franciscan and Mt. Veeder wineries (see this now-ancient video interview with Janet to get a feel for her awesomeness).
So… go subscribe already so that you can read it! What you’ll learn, in a nutshell, is that the Summertime is a hell of a lot more chill-axing for you than it is for winemakers and ripening grape clusters…
I was recently (ok, more like a month ago) Quick-Sipped (Supped?) by Jessica Yadegaran, in a profile/interview that ran online and in bay Area papers such as The San Jose Mercury News. It (very) briefly tells my wine backstory, and gave me an opportunity to implore people to drink more Vermentino (with fish tacos). So I didn’t squander the opportunity, Vermentines!
Interestingly, Mercury’s parent company, Media News Group, is expanding its food and wine scene coverage, at a time when most others are contracting theirs. MNG seems to be making a play for what will almost certainly be a media gap in the San Francisco region: trendsetting the wine and food scene, now that the #1 seed, the SF Chronicle, is planning to radially change its food and beverage coverage.
I’m not sure how else to take the comments from SF Chron managing editor Audrey Cooper, in her response to the NY Times breaking the news late last year on the SF Chron’s planned Wine/Food section shakeup:
“We are undergoing a newspaperwide section-by-section review with the idea that we need to reimagine sections to more intuitive cultural topics that are more aligned with how Northern Californians think and live.”
My translation: we’re not going to spend the money and effort to set regional dining and wine trends anymore, because it’s not working out; we’re going to react to the trends already being set by others, instead.
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Today, I was planning on giving you a recap of the January 2014 articles penned for my Wine.Answers.com gig, which I’m still planning on doing in a minute or so, but being cooped up in the house for days because of the second Deep Ass Freeze of the Winter season, coupled with drinking more than I should have been, topped off with dealing with the 4 billionth snow storm of the year here in the Philly area… well, it’s all got me a nit contemplative.
And so I’ve been thinking about things 1WD-ish, spurred by a conversation I had recently with Joshua Greene, the editor/publisher of Wine & Spirits magazine. I was a guest at the unveiling of the 2014 list of the 50 Great Wines of Portugal, which Joshua had been asked to select (much more on that to appear here in a week or two). After we’d gone through some sound bite interview stuff, Joshua and I got to shooting the shizz, and he asked me what everyone always asks me: “so what do you do, besides writing about wine, I mean?” The “…because, sh*t, there’s no way in hell anyone makes a real living writing about wine!” part is unspoken, because it’s implied.
I had to explain to him that this was, in fact, my gig, and that wine media / writing / freelancing / speaking / etc. was what I actually do for a living now. To the point that, between my status as a stay-home father and my hustling to make a buck while also making a dent in the wine world, I felt as though I’d been taking slack (not unjustifiably) from the online wine community for not being as involved as I should be. “For one thing,” I told him, “my daughter is more adorable than anyone in the world, online or not; for another, I really feel as though I need to prioritize the (very cool) paying gigs that I’ve been fortunate enough to have fall into my lap.”
“Damn right!” was Joshua’s response.
And in a way, that sums up what you an expect from 1WD in 2014…
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“All your wine media are belong to us!” And you thought you were safe from me in the wine print world, didn’t you? Not so fast, jerky!
One of the wine biz print publications that is isn’t going totally broke (and in fact appears to be going strong as both an on- and off-line force in wine media) is Wine Business Monthly. I’m happy to report that I’ve got an article in this month’s issue, sexily titled “Concrete Vat Innovation in Argentina: New troncoconic concrete vat design said to give wine more character and rounder mouthfeel.”
I can just feel your nipples hardening at the mere mention of trococonic vats!
Okay, not really.
But for a lot of people making wine, this kind of tech innovation is a fun (though very geeky-technical) read. Anyway, I’m happy to have had an opportunity to contribute to WBM, and it was fun trying to surreptitiously inject my gonzo style ever so slightly into a piece of technical writing.
The idea for the article had a circuitous route to my conscious brain. After judging in the 2013 Argentina Wine Awards, I had the pleasure of re-visiting Zuccardi‘s estate, and catching up with the affable Sebastián Zuccardi (a fellow judge at the Awards, and one of the winemaking sons of Director José Alberto Zuccardi).
During our tour, after marveling at the nigh-endless stream of trucks delivering grapes to fuel their massive operation, I asked Sebastián if we could get an update on their experimental winery-within-a-winery that I’d first seen back in 2011. Sebastián was pretty eager – and all smiles – in showing me what they’d been up to there over the two years since I first visited (but then, Sebastián is pretty eager and all smiles about most things).
Turns out that Zuccardi had been pretty busy little innovators in that interim, during which they’d been perfecting the design on new concrete vats that Sebastián is convinced greatly improve the mouthfeel of some of their wines. I’m inclined to agree, having tasted the promising results. I took some notes, snapped a few pictures, and asked the WBM editors if they were interested, which they were.
To find out more about the Zuccardi’s long-standing love affair with concrete, and to get your winemaking geek on, go read the WBM article!