A Visual History Of Champagne (Minus The Death And Dismemberment)

Vinted on December 29, 2011 binned in wine appreciation

Quite a few of you noticed earlier this week that I not-so-subtly indicated via twitter and Facebook that I was toasting my career transition into the wine world with a certain Brut Rosé sparkler – the genuine article, as it were, from Champagne.

Not too surprising then that I was contacted shortly thereafter (a matter of a few hours, actually) by Charlie Holbert, Digital Marketing Director of Killer Infographics – these are the folks who turn stats into visually arresting web graphic, and their work includes topics such as the history of the iPad, as well those that are a lot less touchy-feely, such as Football Related Deaths and the always popular How To Tell If Your Rock Is A Conflict Diamond (yes, really).

The reason that Charlie Holbert’s contacting me wasn’t surprising is that Killer Infographics has just finished up a project for for wine.com, the topic of which is the history of (and interesting facts about) Champagne. Fortunately, they left out stats on sabering-related deaths and dismemberments (in this version, anyway).

I was invited to share the Champagne Infographic below, which I have because a) it’s a great run-down of how tightly-woven Champagne is the culture of our modern world, b) I find it amazing that a graphic this lengthy (nearly 7000 pixels) can retain one’s focus and interest for as long as it does (maybe I need to “go graphic” on all my long-ass posts from now on instead of my usual droning sentences…), and c) most of you have Champagne on the brain because of New Year’s Eve (or you *will* have it in your brain, pounding away at you on January 1st…). Killer Infographics left out the part about the evidence suggesting that the Brits actually invented sparkling wine (see Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia for more on that), in terms of deliberately introducing secondary fermentation in bottle specifically to engender bubbles – something which good ol’ Dom Perignon almost certainly tried to arrest (they did leave that last part in, bless their bubbly hearts), and something that I’m sure doesn’t sit well with most of the French (they still make the world’s best sparklers… though to be fair the Brits – yes, the Brits – are starting to come into their own with world-class bubblies), but something that probably sits better with everybody than reading about Football related deaths.

For the bloodthirsty few who are clamoring for bubbly facts as well as the death and dismemberment, the infographic does make several references to world wars, the Great Depression, and deathbed quotes. Just sayin’.

Anyway… you can see the full graphic below after the jump. Enjoy…

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Going Pro: Wrapping Up 14+ Years

Vinted on December 28, 2011 binned in commentary, going pro

As of the end of this week, I’m unemployed!

Well, unemployed in the traditional sense, anyway.

Those of you who’ve been following along with my (now well-protracted) endeavor to Go Pro in the wine biz are probably (and not without good reason) rolling your eyes and muttering “finally… it’s about time…” It only took me a year longer than originally planned to cut the cord (hey, it was their idea to keep extending me).

Nearly 15 years (that’s 14++* years in Wine Advocate math, I think) behind me at the same company… holy crap, that was a long time of not really fitting in (the pay made up for it, as did the people and great opportunities).

It’s become a bit of a tradition at my soon-to-be-former day job to send farewell email messages, and so I decided (after consultation with a few people at the DJ that I trust deeply) to author one of my own. I’m sharing an excerpt of that letter with you below, with the only modification being removal of some contact details and the company name.

On the surface, this has nothing whatsoever to do with wine, of course. So why am I sharing it? I’m not sure, actually.

Probably because so many of you out there feel like friends and family to me, even though many of us have never met face-to-face; and so I don’t mind telling you that the note was cathartic and helped to slow down the near-constant swing of my current emotional pendulum (which happens to be oscillating with vomit-inducing speed between he extremes of pure elation at chasing my dream, and sheer terror at facing the road-much-less-traveled) – and that the lessons-learned I described in that DJ farewell note have everything to do with how I approach the wine world.

That, and it feels more original than giving you a list of sparkling wine recommendations for New Year’s Eve (here’s some quick advice – go with the real-deal and pop open some Champagne… you know, the stuff actually from Champagne… in France)…

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Worlds Collide In New Wine-Related Music Vid (And YOU Can Win Some Free Tunes!)

Vinted on December 26, 2011 binned in commentary, giveaways, wine tasting

The first thing most people over the age of twenty-five think of when you ask them to name a song about wine is probably UB40’s Red Red Wine, which is ironic because they’re all totally drinking beer in the vid for that tune.

In a similarly ironic case of music-meets-wine creative worlds colliding, the band I’ve been playing in for… well… for a long time (some of you will remember us as the dudes who recorded a rock version of the Snow Miser/Heat Miser song, and a reggae/dub take on the Oompa Loompa Theme – we’re kinda into the holidays), has just released a video (available for your viewing pleasure below, after the jump) for a tune titled Wine Kissing Days.

The ironic part: the song is about the social pleasures of sharing wine (a near-constant theme among these virtual pages), was filmed in part at local PA producer Chaddsford Winery (which has been profiled here) BUT… apart from playing bass on the tune I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. More on that in a minute or two. Also, since we know that the music played during wine tasting impacts the qualities that people recall about the wine, if I were a tasting room manager I’d buy a few copies (you know, like, 10,000 or so) of this song. Just sayin’.

Anyway, you can hit up iTunes to grab the tune (and the album from which it comes, “Tricky, Seabass & the Hun – and damn, it sure makes me feel old to even talk about the conceit of an album at this point), but I’m giving away a copy of the new Steve Liberace Band CD (another near-ancient conceit!) to three lucky randomly-selected commenters!

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