Reading Corked: A Memoir, you may find that you don’t much like author Kathryn Borel. And it will probably have nothing to do with her being a Canadian (sorry, Canada… just poking fun at you because you won all of those Olympic hockey gold medals…).
She is, by her own fearless admission, not the best of traveling companions. Neither is her father, with whom she travels to some of France’s most famous wine regions in an attempt to connect more deeply with him while they still have time together on this planet. Even a healthy proportion of the storied French wine producers that the Borel clan visit in Corked are portrayed as, to put it mildly, difficult.
Corked isn’t about wine appreciation, but it touches on the topic frequently and views it obliquely, as if through a funky, tilted lens; it circles the topic as if both wine and Kathryn were old cats in some new territory – familiar, but with a sense of fight-or-flight caution. Let’s put it this way: Kathryn describes her new book (also her first) as being about “wine, France, my father, existential dread, and death.” So you know the viewpoint on wine is going to be different.
As it turns out, wine plays a minor, but important, role in Kathryn’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes quirky, sometimes painful recounting of her journey through French wine country – at turns a vehicle for connectivity, and an insurmountable and intimidating barrier.
And it’s exactly because of that unique viewpoint that I was so stoked to read Corked and to interview its author (if you need further convincing of Kathryn’s unique view on life, just check out how she introduces Corked on video, or visit her craftily quirky – or is that quirkily crafty? – blog).
If Corked reveals a truth about the human condition, it’s that coming to a shared understanding as adults – to a place where we can truly appreciate one another – isn’t always as simple as sharing a glass of excellent vino; sometimes it takes a gut-wrenching rite of passage. That probably mirrors the relationship some of us have with wine at one point or another in our lives.
Read on for the interview, which is mostly full of wine-related topics but, thanks to Kathryn, is totally full of awesome – just prepare to be entertained, a little moved, and a lot impressed by his woman…
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This week, Alder Yarrow posted video coverage of the Wine Writing & Social Media panel discussion that he moderated at the most recent Wine Writers Symposium held in Napa.
I was fortunate to have attended the Symposium and to have sat in on the panel that Alder moderated. It’s great to have the video captured for posterity, and in hindsight I’m not sure whether to laugh or to cry at the state of wine writing and its monetization possibilities.
In summary, there have probably never been so many challenges combined with so many potential opportunities when it comes to writing about wine and making any money while doing it.
The challenge is that, as we said in the panel discussion, “the genie is out of the bag” when it comes to free content and wine: people expect to be able to get high quality content about wine on the Internet, and pay nothing for it. This is putting severe downward pressure on wine writing payment in general.
The opportunity is that the market for consuming information about wine has never been larger, and the price of entry is free, for now. Personally, I fully expect that market to become saturated, after which it will become expensive to enter, and it won’t expand again for probably ten years. If you want the details on that, well, you’re gonna have to watch my not-so-pretty face on the video! Actually, fellow panelists Doug Cook, Steve Heimoff, and Patrick Comiskey make the video well worthwhile despite my inappropriately timed humor.
Would love to know your thoughts on this – please check out the video, and shout out in the comments; where is the future of wine writing and its monetization going? To hell in a hand basket? Or soaring to new heights?
Last week, I had the pleasure of being the guest on WineBizRadio, the great Sonoma-based wine business radio program with which most of you savvy readers will already be familiar.
I always enjoy riffing with show hosts Kaz and Randy, and I had a fantastic time discussing the recent Wine Writers Symposium (Facebook fan page), Premiere Napa Valley, and “the-wine-life-in-general” (by which I mean wine writing and, more specifically, the inability to make a decent living wage while writing about wine). Except for that “my voice always sounds more nasally and higher pitched when I hear it on the radio” thing.
Anyway, I thought it would be a fun way to wrap up the coverage on the Wine Writers Symposium and the craziness of PNV (although I’m sure it’s not actually getting wrapped up totally… I’ve got tons I could talk about from those events…).
As an added bonus, in this episode of WBR Kaz-The-Wise explains how any wine blogger can quickly make money, provided they’re not too concerned about ethics. :-)
Enjoy (embedded below)…
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