By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be on the Greek island of Santorini (press junket via Wines of Santorini and the Brand Action Team) to get a first-hand view of Greek wines, Greek wine history and winemaking, and seeing if I can vigorously outrun anyone offering me a glass of Retsina.
The Greeks have, of course, been making wine since ancient times, not that you’d know it from any recent marketing pushes (or lack thereof) made by Greek winemakers and/or the region in general. In fact, at first blush I’d say that Greek wine generally (and wines from Santorini in particular) has a very rough and very long marketing road ahead of it if it wants to wine over the American market. Look at it this way:
- There has been little-to-no effort to exploit the amazing history, breathtaking winegrowing landscapes, and food-friendliness of Greek wines.
- Most wine stores in the U.S. treat Greek wine as an afterthought, giving it little shelf-space likely due to the fact that it doesn’t sell like hotcakes because…
- …consumers are scared to death when they see grape names like Assyrtiko, Mavrotragano and Nykteri that a) they can’t pronounce, b) most wine pros can’t pronounce, either, and c) they have no idea how they taste because so few restaurants offer them.
- Adding insult to injury, regions like Santorini sell the majority of production and therefore have little incentive overall to compete on price, which is usually $5-$10 more than comparable wines on the shelf made from grapes that consumers in the U.S. can pronounce and are familiar with.
Yeah – not quite as rosy a picture as those photos of the Santorini sunsets, is it?
We’ll see soon enough, I suppose – more reporting to come! In the meantime, we’ve got Walla Walla coverage and an amazing interview coming up this week here on 1WineDude.com. Enjoy!
Welcome to the 4th of July weekend, people! Time to win some sweet shiz!
To celebrate Independence Day, PersonalWine.com (owned by the same folks who pay me to contribute to the Wine Crush Blog) have teamed up with me to give away a bottle of red, and a bottle of white – each personalized with the winner’s own design, and delivered in a classy sheer blue bag!
Specifically, the red is a 2006 Wattle Creek Syrah Winemaker’s Barrel Selection ($24), and the white is the 2008 Wattle Creek Sauvignon Blanc Barrel Selection ($26). Both will come in the sweet blue bag pictured on the right, after you design your own super-cool label for your winnings.
Red, white & blue.
Get it? C’mon, work with me here!
Anyway, winning is easy – here’s how it works:
- Leave a comment on this post, describing what design you would go for if you had your own wine brand/label.
- In one week, I will randomly choose a winner from the commenters, who will work with PersonalWine.com to design their prize!
To get us started, I used PersonalWine.com’s handy on-line label designer to upload a preview of one of the new 1WineDude.com review badges that will be coming to the website in the future (more on that in a future post), and create my own kick-ass wine label (literally kick-ass – see below). Sneak peak after the jump.
Ok – get commentin’!…
Read the rest of this stuff »
I could tell that I wasn’t quite myself based on the number of business cards in my backpack.
There were dozens of those little cards left, staring back at me when I opened my pack. Cards that I should have given away to friends old and new at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla. The “normal” Joe would have been handing out those cards left and right. Instead, they were practically shouting their futility – after all, what good are they to me? I already know who I am.
It wasn’t the fact that I had been in a new place for the first time, seeing new faces (I’m well used to that scenario); it also wasn’t the fact that back home one of our 100+ year-old trees came down on our neighbors garage in a fierce storm, cleaving it nearly into two (no one was hurt, apart from the trees). The reason I wasn’t myself was that my teacher was dying.
My teacher was my dog, Sam. He passed away while I was at the conference (if you were in attendance and I appeared out of it or seemed dismissive, please understand that it wasn’t you, it was most definitely me).
Sam was pretty sprightly for a guy in his 80s (people years, of course), still weighing in at 85 lbs. of mostly muscle. Still fairly strong, too (he had once accidentally broken my left hand when we were out for a run). Stubborn, too – in fact, I used to joke that I could sum up Sam’s thoughts in one sentence (“Hey guys – this is what I want to do now”).
Our experience with Sam was more Marley and Me than Lassie – he had a penchant for stealing bread, licking the icing off of cakes on the kitchen counter, eating through metal cans of dog food, and practically destroying the house during thunderstorms. BUT… he was one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever known.
Sam taught me a lot about how to really appreciate wine (yes, I’m serious – read the post). But his greatest lessons were in teaching me compassion and patience – the latter being something that I’ve often cited as the ‘secret sauce’ of wine blogging (and life in general, really; yes, I’m serious – watch the vid).
My only real regret is not that I wasn’t there to say goodbye when Sammy passed – it’s that I wasn’t the quickest study when it came to fully grasping all of those lessons in compassion and patience that Sammy tried to teach me.
Here’s to a friend, a sweet soul, an old teacher – long may his lessons be remembered.